#1 Paper Mario: The Land of Harmony · 11:01pm
Alright, first up is a crossover-fic by Blade Squall called Paper Mario: The Land of Harmony.
Boy, where to begin with this. I suppose a quick-description would be a.... *clears throat* a literary representation of a hypothetical Paper Mario videogame for the WiiU in which Mario & co. go to Equestria.
yeah, that sounds about right.
The point is it's a story that reads like a videogame. Which is weird, but it works.
For those who aren't mario/game savvy, the Paper Mario series of games are RPG ones in which Mario and all the land are, you guessed it, made of paper. The games are known for being witty, silly, fourth-wall-breaking, and a bit hard for those who don't really get the fighting style of the games.
This story is the authors imagining of how a new game of the series would go if it were ported onto the WiiU and took place in Equestria, and Squall* manages to capture the spirit of the games well. Essentially, the residents of the Mushroom Kingdom and Equestria recently discovered a long-lost warp pipe connecting the two lands, and trade opens up between them. So naturally Peach, Mario, Luigi, Daisy, Yoshi, and a few others head to say hello to their new neighbors.**
Once in Canterlot they meet the princesses and the mane six, and things promptly go wrong, leaving most ponies and people trapped within the city of Canterlot, with only Mario and Spike free outside. They are then tasked with finding the six elements of Harmony which have scattered*** throughout the land to rescue their friends.
The plot, while a bit cliched/standard for a mario game, still fits in that it still works in the new setting. The pony races and creatures of Equestria, and the abilities of them all, have been taken into account and mentioned in how the villians managed to capture all of Canterlot. Even more interesting is how some ponies are able to use items from the Mario franchise. Pegasi with an ice flower? that makes a weather ninja.
As it is a story, our mustachioed hero does talk, but somehow retains his oddly unflappable charm. And while i feel i can't mention too many things without giving more story away. It is truly apparent that the author did his research with reagards to the source material. The evil flowers are a nod to past pony gens, old Paper Mario friends and alies appear, and their roles are in character, and the gameplay **** is written in such a way that the reader feels "hey, why ISN'T this a game?"
A good story does not come without its concernes, however. I feel that Squall may have taken a bit too much on his plate with regards to viewpoints. It's widely known that between each "chapter" of the game, there is a segment where the player has control over Peach, Bowser, or some other small character, to flesh out what's going on with them during Marios adventure. Blade Squall is endeavoring to show Peach, the Princesses, the Mane six, Bowser, AND the koopa-kids***** between each chapter, and i worry that he may be trying a bit too much with regards to, for lack of a better phrase, "background work".
That being said, i'm withholding a full judgement until the story is further in, as "chapter one" just wrapped up not too long ago. Personally, as a fan, i give this story 7 stars out of 10, due mainly to the current uncompleted-ness of the story itself.
* i can call him squall, right?
** .....is..... is that a pun?
***because of reasons
**** Is it gameplay if it's a story of a hypothetical game? eh, i'll roll with it, since that's what it is.
***** Yes, they're in there, with personalities and everything!