Players recently discovered what appears to be a game-breaking glitch toward the end of Paper Mario: The Origami King that can make it impossible to finish the game on an existing save file.
The bug is located in the Shangri-Spa area, arrived at after defeating the first four streamers in the game. Players get a Stamp Card that they have to take to four of the local springs. After reaching all of them and getting their locations stamped on the card, players get a Spring of Rainbows VIP pass which lets them into the hidden Spring of Rainbows area.
The problem is, a bouncer at the entrance to the spring takes the VIP pass the first time you enter, removing it from your inventory permanently. Players currently don’t know of a way to get a new one, so if you leave the Spring of Rainbows by accident, you’ll never be able to get back in. And if you happen to save after leaving, you’re doomed permanently. The Nintendo Unity channel, via Nintendo Life, breaks it all down in this video:
While it’s not a bug that everyone will run into, there are already a number of complaints over on the official Nintendo support site. “Once I had realised the pipe was blocked, I looked around the whole area to find where I was supposed to go,” wrote one player explaining what had made them decide to backtrack out of the Spring of Rainbows. “I kept wandering around until I walked across the bridge to the front desk area, in which my characters started talking to me as if I hadn’t turned in the stamp sheet.”
As Gaming Invented points out, game breaking bugs like this are rare but still pop up every once in a while. Last year’s Mario & Luigi Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr’s Journey, a remaster of the original Game 2009 DS game, also had a game breaking bug that caused Luigi to keep running into walls if you backtracked at a certain point. After about a month, Nintendo was eventually able to patch that bug out, so maybe don’t go deleting that bugged Paper Mario: The Origami King save just yet. And for anyone else playing the game right now: don’t leave the Spring of Rainbows.