For the first time ever, Nintendo elected to release a direct sequel to one of the Mario RPG games, and Intelligent Systems knocked it out of the park for this sophomore Paper Mario effort. More than any other Mario game, this one makes me smile. Little has changed about the timing-centric turn-based combat, but there are some fantastic, quirky traversal mechanics. More importantly, each of the game’s companions is incredibly likable. Even Peach and Bowser have genuine moments to shine. It’s clear a lot of care was put into the characterization and subplots in this game, from top to bottom.