Super Paper Mario is filled to the brim with various sidequests to sink your teeth into. Some of these are clearly defined quests, while others can take place throughout the entirety of the game. I chose each of these because I believed them to be the most relevant optional quests to explore.
#10 - Piccolo Sidequest
While she may have one of the coolest designs in the game, Piccolo isn't all that great when it comes to battle. If you want to learn more about Piccolo, check out this article. But here, we will be talking about the sidequest attached to her. The problem with this sidequest, while not that bad, is just a massive fetch quest that forces you into going through levels in the first chapter over and over again. Here's a synopsis of the story behind this quest: Merlee needs a new crystal ball, and sends Mario to Merluvee to find one. She will give him one, but with a catch. Shee needs you to get a Training Machine (aka DS Lite) from Bestovius. After Mario talks to him, he once again has a catch. Bestovius sends Mario off to Watchitt from Yold Town to get a "you-know-what" (aka CD). Watchitt gives Mario ANOTHER task to take on. He wants an autograph from Merlumina, the Ancient from Yold Ruins. After playing through the entire level again, she will sign the paper. Take the paper back to Watchitt, then the You-know-what to Bestovius, then the Training Machine back to Merluvee, and the Crystal Ball can finally be given to Merlee. And what does she give you? A key to a random house. This house turns out to be an abandoned house holding a locked chest with the Pixl, Piccolo. While the sidequest is a huge fetch quest and the Pixl recieved is mediocre, I mean, come on. It's a Pixl. You can't just not get it.
#9 - Tippi.exe
Tippi has traveled alongside Mario through ruins, haunted basements, pixelated trees, outer space, cavemen hideouts, the destruction of a samurai warrior gauntlet, and even heck. But after revealing that she is in fact Bleck's long lost love, Timpani, she leaves to be with him forever. Losing such a trusted ally is painful, but the butterfly-obsessed nerd frog (that isn't really a frog) that stole her back in Chapter 3 wanted her back so much that he made his own replica, Tiptron, and copied Tippi's memories into it. If Francis can transfer data from a complicated being such as a Pixl to a computer, who knows what he could do? Enough of that. After returning to Fort Francis with the Void closed, Francis will sell his "hi-technicaaaaal" robotic butterfly for 999 coins. Obviously, it is well worth it for a new Pixl, but I much prefer the look of Tippi over Tiptron. Because it can only be found after the game is completed, there are few uses for Tiptron. I had to use its ability to obtain the Cooking Disks on the third floors of Flipside and Flopside, but Tippi could do that too if I didn't forget. While getting Tiptron isn't annoying or anything, I just don't like it nearly as much as I liked Tippi.
#8 - Arcade Gaming
While I wasn't able to play these minigames on my most recent playthrough (I played the game with Dolphin with weird motion control simulation, and I didn't feel like whipping out my old Wii U), I remember mostly how they go. In the bar called "The Underwhere" in Flipside B1, there lies a pipe accessible only in 3D that leads to a secret arcade. Here, there are four minigames to play: Forget-Me-Not, Tilt Island, Mansion Patrol, and Hammer Whacker (accessible after retrieving the Golden Card from The Overthere in Flopside). Each of these utilizes the Wii remote's motion sensors, and with the tokens received from doing well in these minigames, you can buy various special items such as Whacka Bumps, Amazy Dayzee cards, and even Power/HP Pluses. If you're bored of platforming and enemy fighting but still have some downtime on a Saturday (or any other day for that matter), check out the Flipside Arcade for a bit of good ol' arcade gaming.
#7 - Cooking
Visit the kind Saffron or the strict Dyllis to channel your inner chef and cook one of ninety-six different recipes. These recipes can be revealed by finding each of the seven Cooking Disks available in Flipside, Flopside, Downtown of Crag, and the Overthere. Some of the best recipes to cook up are the Dayzee Syrup, one of the Dyllis meals, a Block Meal, and the very helpful and easy to make Emergency Rations for the Pit of 100 Trials'. While I didn't really find a need to use this mechanic during my playthrough, if you love crafting in video games, cooking in this game will be perfect for you. The best places to find ingredients are at the Itty Bits shops accessible via Dottie. While some recipes are kind of useless, giving your items over to the chef and hoping for a good dish is fun.
#6 - Interdimensional Exploration
Flipside and Flopside are a couple of the most expansive and unique hub towns I've seen in a video game. There's just so much to do in each of them. Whether it's heading out to the outskirts for some loot and puzzles, or going underground for some gaming or shopping, both towns have so much to explore. There are puzzles to solve with Piccolo for a couple cards, Cooking Disks to find with Tippi, and more cards hiding in pits underground. Oftentimes you'll find yourself spending many minutes between chapters either stocking up on items, exploring newly-unlocked areas, or just running around for fun. Both Flipside and Flopside have a lot to offer, and exploring them almost always makes for a good time.
#5 - Hunting Treasure Maps
Under the streets of Flopside, a map-selling man, Flamm, has set up his shop. With 48 treasure maps available for purchase, most of them having unique rewards, hunting down every treasure will give you something fun to do to occupy your time. The treasures are hidden all throughout the game's worlds, which opens up an opportunity to revisit most of the levels in the game and reflect on how far you've come on your journey (that was intentionally cringy). I personally believe that saving the treasure hunting for after you complete the Flipside Pit of 100 Trials so you can use Dashell to find the treasures much more quickly and efficiently. Most of the cards representing the game's bosses are found via these maps, and having those cards are some of the coolest to have as they are more of major characters than your average Tech Cursya or Soopa Striker. Even though it can take a long time, seeking out the treasures from Flamm's map is definitely a worthwhile activity for anyone that really enjoyed the main game.
#4 - Flipside Pit of 100 Trials
For over six years I thought that the Pit of 100 Trials was only accessible with Luigi, but that's not the case (either throw Boomer with Thoreau or use the way you're supposed to by jumping across the blocks in Flipside Outskirts B2 and then flipping). I don't know why, but I just love the Pit of 100 Trials. Having to fight a bunch of enemies to find a key and open a door 90 times without being able to leave shouldn't be fun, but it is. Every floor that's a multiple of ten holds a card for a Pixl. Each time one of these floors is reached, it feels rewarding and gives motivation to keep going through the trials. After all those floors of Cursyas, Magiblots, and Squoinkers, Floor 100 will await Mario. As soon as the door is opened, Mario is transported to a desert reminiscent of the one he fought Fracktail in. That can only mean one thing: a stronger version of Fracktail. And that's what it is. Despite being way too easy, the adrenaline of the gauntlet of 100 trials that I just spent over an hour completing made the fight against Wracktail just so epic (especially with the amazing boss theme). After defeating the boss, Dashell, the (presumably) final Pixl, will join the party. A difficult challenge with a great boss and a great reward? Count me in!
#3 - Card Collecting
There are 256 cards to collect in Super Paper Mario, ranging from antagonists to enemies to minor characters and even partners from the previous games. While finding all of these will probably be a long and repetitive experience, being able to collect cards representing your favorite characters is just a fun activity. I personally didn't get every card in the game, instead I hunted for every boss and NPC card but not all the enemies. Also, getting some of the cards require doing other sidequests, such as the Count Bleck card coming from a Treasure Map, the Pixl cards from the Pit of 100 Trials in Flipside, the partners from the original Paper Mario from the Flopside counterpart, and the TTYD partners' cards from completing the Duel of 100. Obtaining an enemy's card doubles the damage that one is able to deal against that enemy, and obtaining a character's card after defeating Shadoo doubles all damage that character deals. With enough cards of a certain enemy, a Bowser card, and Thudley, things can get pretty fun. Each and every card has its own description of the represented character, which is always fun to read. While collecting can be tedious, if you aren't going for every single card in the game, collecting Catch Cards always adds to the experience.
#2 - Duel of 100
I mean, come on. Who doesn't want to battle against a hundred samurai warriors in an epic gauntlet? This challenge is only available after the void is closed, since the Sammer's Kingdom was devoured in Chapter 6. The battles here are more difficult than any before, even above the Flopside Pit of 100 Trials. If there wasn't a save point after every 25 duels, I would have never been able to beat this place. Every single Sammer Guy has its own unique name, usually referencing something from a past game. Some of the silliest are "Mustard of Doom," referencing Fawful, and "Quizmo Question That Has No Answer," referencing Chuck Quizmo from the original Paper Mario. End Boss, the finally battle in the gauntlet, is kind of a cakewalk, but the final five Sammer Guys can give you heck if you don't strategize well enough. Without an inventory full of high-level restoration items, this challenge may not be surpassable. My favorite combination to use was Peach and Barry, as Barry was able to damage spiked Sammer Guys and deal extra damage alongside a regular jump. Most people choose Bowser, but I find him too slow for my liking. The atmosphere and music of this tournament is also amazing, and everything comes together to form one of the best sidequests in the game.
#1 - Flopside Pit of 100 Trials
This may be the hardest challenge in the game (the Duel of 100 is harder, but the save points make it not as bad). This challenge is kind of like a carbon copy of the Flipside version, but with much harder, dark, versions of the game's enemies. Shadoo, being the troll that he is, forces Mario to go through the entire Pit all over again after he reaches the final floor. But that doesn't matter, since going through this place both times is fun. While I liked the Wracktail fight in the Flipside Pit of 100 Trials more than the Shadoo fight, since I absolutely love the music and the Fracktail fight was one of my favorite in the game, the difficulty of the second Pit of 100 Trials makes it more fun as Super Paper Mario is usually considered a relatively easy game. The Dark Magikoopas are probably the hardest normal enemies in the entire game, and, if I didn't get lucky, I would have died here. I even had to use items such as the Block Block and Dayzee Syrup in order to barely get the key from a Dark Dayzee. The boss fight at the end, Shadoo, after going through twice is also epic. The music is great, the concept, which is similar to Doopliss from TTYD, is always great, and it's not too easy (it's cheeseable with Bowser though). After defeating the boss(es), eight treasure chests containing every character and their dark versions appear. Having the character cards actually double the damage that character deals, which kind of makes you very overpowered. In the end, the Flopside Pit of 100 Trials, as the hardest challenge in the game, does it's job well, as it is difficult, fun, and unique.
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