Paper Mario: Sticker Star

Players: 1 offline
Publisher: Nintendo
Genres: Platformer, RPG
Release Date: November 11, 2012
Developer: Intelligent Systems
MSRP: $39.99
Platforms:
On the day of the annual Sticker Fest, Bowser decides to pull a prank and scatters six Royal Stickers across the land. To retrieve these mysterious, magical stickers, which are now stuck onto Bowser and his underlings, Mario sets off on an adventure with Kersti, a sticker fairy, visiting prairies, deserts, forests, snowy mountains and volcanoes around the world. Stickers are blended into every aspect of game play in the RPG adventure Paper Mario: Sticker Star. They become your arsenal of items and attacks in traditional Paper Mario action-battles and can even unfold the environment to reveal new areas and ways to progress through the game.

Don’t blame Tanabe. He didn’t fill out the surveys.

You may be familiar with “Iwata Asks,” the official feature in which Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, cuts out the middleman and interviews his own employees. In this week’s edition he spoke to the team behind Paper Mario: Sticker Star to discuss their new take on the sub-series, but what he discovered may surprise/upset you.

Software planner Kensuke Tanabe revealed that the father of Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto, actually asked the team to limit the game’s focus on story. However, Miyamoto-san’s guidance was based on much more than personal preference. In fact, the decision to tone down narrative of Sticker Star is supported by Nintendo fans themselves. “With regard to the story, we did a survey over the Super Paper Mario game in Club Nintendo, and not even 1% said the story was interesting,” Tanabe revealed.

While this may seem like a ludicrously low percentage at first, take some time to think about the most popular gaming experiences on the market at the moment. League of Legends, Minecraft, Call of Duty‘s multiplayer–it seems that the largest crowds tend to gather around gameplay, rather than plot. As Miyamoto-san reportedly put it, “It’s fine without a story, so do we really need one?”

How will this effect the future of first-party Nintendo games? What does this say about the majority of gamers? Why does anyone take Club Nintendo surveys seriously?

Check out our Paper Mario: Sticker Star review right here.

Source: Iwata Asks

Paper Mario: Sticker Star Review

Paper Mario comes to a handheld for the first time and produces another solid entry in a great franchise, despite significant differences.
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Austin Yorski

Austin Yorski is a jack-of-all-trades around BT. He goes by Austin or Yorski (but not both) and has a degree in literature/religion from Florida State University. Also, he can collect all 120 stars in Super Mario 64 whilst blindfolded.

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  1. December 07, 2012 at 01:09pm
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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)

    This has been relevant in their titles since New Super Mario Bros Wii. The complexity of the story has never matterd in their games and never will. But the way of telling that story always has. Super Paper Mario did not have the most interesting story line, but man oh man was it wonderfully told. The gameplay actually was effected by it and it was inspirational. Socket star is like playing a video game and nothing else.

    Anyone who played Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 can tell you about this. Map Galaxy 1 felt like a brand new experiance. It was mysterious and made you really feel like you were in the depths of space. Map Galaxy 2 cut down heavily on all that in exchange for mario related shit. Way less of the gravity mechanic was used and more levels were set in the generic blue sky seting. “Kids don’t like space! They like Yoshi!”

    Luigis mansion 2 falls here too because anyone who’s seen it can tell you it’s like a parody of the first game. The first game really could capture fear and humor in the same game. This one drops it’s atmosphere and despite trying to be funny, instead of being truly funny ends up feeling like “aha! Jokes! Look at Luigi get scared!”

    The fact that they tried doing this to a paper Mario game at least means more people are gonna start noticing this horrible trend.

  2. December 06, 2012 at 06:10am
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    To me, story is only important for non competitive games. Most of my gaming time is spent on DOTA 2. I rarely play other games, but when i do its single player games with a story (most recently Hitman: Absolution). Can’t imagine sitting down to play a single player game with no story. The story is what motivates me to continue, where on the other hand in multiplayer its the competitive aspect that drives me.

  3. December 05, 2012 at 07:05am
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    I’d actually agree with the survey, contigent on the type of game that’s being played. I’m sure most would agree that a story for a game such as ‘Geometry Wars’ would be superfluous, and honestly I feel the same way about Mario games, Zelda games.. Metroid games. There hasn’t been a major focus of really interesting stories for these games, so in the end I play them purely for the gameplay, much like I would play ‘N’, Super Meat Boy, Spelunky or others of that ilk.

    I mean, if you were going to write stories about these games, why start now? In the end if I’m going for something in a franchise along those lines, I’m returning because the gameplay is good, not because there’s a gripping well written story with developed characters.

    Is story important in other games? Absolutely. It’s almost the entire reason to play the Baldur’s Gate Saga, it was why people were upset to the finale of Shepard’s Mass Effect games, and there are games that I’ll buy because I’m entrenched in an on-going story that I want to see more of or get a conclusion to.

    In summary, do I need extra motivation to drive my choices in a moral wasteland & determine for myself and my character on with whom to side, fight, love & hate – definitely. Do I need so-so written characters and a ‘epic’ tale to convince me to jump on a goomba’s head or kill a champion in a MOBA style game? No.

  4. December 04, 2012 at 10:09pm
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    Since everyone here, including myself, is very against this notion, I have an idea. We need to start up a petition to Nintendo to not only make sure story remains an part of the Paper Mario series (and in turn other Mario RPG’s) but also to IMPROVE the story depth of Paper Mario titles!

    I would start it myself, however I have no idea how these things work. So just putting forth the idea.

  5. December 04, 2012 at 06:02pm
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    well I guess im part of that 1% then…..
    I ONLY play a game for its story hence why I mainly play JRPGS like the SMT series.
    Games that dont have a story are not real games to me.
    To me there just a lazy idea someone had to make some money and NOTHING else

  6. December 04, 2012 at 05:34pm
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    I realize that when he says that most don’t seem to care, he’s probably not treating Nintendo club as a reflection of the entire gaming community. But I want to know: when he says “story,” is he referring solely to plot and character development, or all writing in general?

    The plot is of varying importance to individual games – some revolve more around their storytelling experience, others their gameplay experience. Mario, and most Nintendo games, tend to do the latter. All the same, storytelling games still pay attention to their gameplay. Some level of writing, be it enough to animate the world or give it a sense of humor, is necessary for a complete game-play experience as well, in my opinion.

    That said, Miyamoto only indicated that the game would not focus on story. Again, depending on how broadly one defines that, it wouldn’t be a drastic change for anything in the mario series. Even their RPGs tend to follow the Dragon Quest train of thought – simple and straight-forward. All we can do is wait to see how far this advise takes them, and how well it works for the next entries.

  7. December 04, 2012 at 02:39pm
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    Let’s have a little survey of our own then and see how many people on this site alone care about story in games. Just a shot in the dark here, but I think the number who care are going to be a bit higher than 1%.

  8. December 04, 2012 at 02:25pm
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    WRONG WRONG WRONG WROOOONG
    WRONG WRONG WRONG WROOOONG
    YOU’RE WROOOONG
    YOU’RE WROOOONG

    Well, almost. Games like Minecraft etc… do not need a story because they ride on gameplay. If there is a story, it doesnt need to be perfect if the gameplay is solid. If the gameplay is flawed, gaming experience falls apart and you wont play it for long.

    RPGs however work completely opposite. Story, plot and characters are what the drives the game forward. If gameplay has glaring flaws, people can forgive them quite a bit if the story and characters are so good and they get so into it. (Mass Effect 1 is a famous example). Paper Mario games that I have played fit into the RPG category.

    I admit though that in Paper Mario games epic, deep storytelling was not first concern, bizarre sense of humor and witty dialog was, but it was still good and fun and it definetly doesnt excuse the decision to half ass it, especially considering the whole serie is kind of spiritual successor (or actually, replacement due to copyright issue) to Super Mario RPG.

  9. December 04, 2012 at 03:44am
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    “With regard to the story, we did a survey over the Super Paper Mario game in Club Nintendo, and not even 1% said the story was interesting,” Tanabe revealed.

    Out of how many people? When the Mario game only has Bowser Kidnaps Peach and Mario must save Her, HOW DULL DOES THAT GET? After like 10 games how dull does that get? Of COURSE we are gonna ignore the story when you never give us one.

    I’m sorry but I’m sick of the Mario games for that reason. Less than 1%? Do you know I’m not a Nintendo Power Club member? Do you know that I didn’t know of this poll? Even if you put it on the Wii you might not get all the answers you want.

    It’s like a trap. Mario games always have the basic plot. What was a plot? Well original Paper Mario had Bowser Kidnap Peach. I don’t want to hear about this star rod stuff its the SAME DAMN THING. Thousand door? That was good. Different guy and plot. Good….new….FRESH. Super Paper Mario? Oh my god was that different. AN other game where you control Bowser? Sign me up. Is it an RPG? NO. IT was a platformer and again those hardly have a story at all. IT’s sicking.

    It’s like when the game is a good platformer I get it it’s hard to make a story for that kind of thing. Overall though I think its important.

  10. December 04, 2012 at 02:43am
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    I basically only care about story in games but if you asked me if I enjoyed the story in Super Paper Mario I would say no simply because I did not enjoy the narrative they told. To be fair that’s basically true for most Nintendo games for me as the stories seem very bland but there whole polling is biased, and this interview as well as my pre existing fears of this new Paper Mario have informed me to not bother.

  11. December 04, 2012 at 12:06am
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    So he committed three obvious mistakes at once. The first is that he based that purely on a single survey of a small group of people. The second is that, from the implication anyway, he interpreted not finding the story to be interesting to mean that story-telling in general is unimportant. The third is that he based that purely around people who were playing a MARIO game.

    Tell me, does that mean that people who play Mass Effect or Hitman or Assassin’s Creed or Legend of Zelda or Max Payne would agree? I suspect that they wouldn’t.

  12. December 03, 2012 at 11:48pm
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    So basically you looked at 100 people who registered Paper Mario Sticker Star on Club Nintendo and only 1 of those people while hastily clicking through the survey just to get it done and get their coins checked about the story?

    Ya know, I don’t get Pokemon games for the story, but if you cut it out of those games, I’d be a hell of a lot less interested and get far less enjoyment out of it. Just because the story isn’t the focus or the main selling point, doesn’t mean it isn’t important to have and to do well.

  13. December 03, 2012 at 11:33pm
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    WRONG.

    WRONGWRONGWRONGWRONGWRONGWRONG.

    AAAAAAAAAAAH!

  14. December 03, 2012 at 08:53pm
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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)

    This is exactly what Nintendo does NOT need. They tend to put minimal focus on story as it is; now they’re cutting it back in their RPG series, the games that are largely defined by their stories?

    I love stories. That’s WHY I love video games; they tell stories in ways that nothing else can. They let me experience things that no book or movie can provide. And the narratives in Thousand-Year Door and Super Paper Mario really pushed the boundaries of what Mario’s world encompasses, and the emotional range and epic scale that can exist in a Super Mario game. At the same time, they help flesh out that world, and make it and all its classic charm feel more alive and enthralling than they do in any other games.

    That survey is not an accurate or adequate basis for ANYTHING. There is a great variety in people’s interests; I know for a fact that most people who buy an RPG are interested in the story (surprise surprise), and while Super Paper Mario had A LOT of faults, story was not one of them. Not only was it interesting, it was FANTASTIC. It was BRILLIANT. It was TOUCHING. It was exactly what you would expect from the extraordinary team that makes this series.

    That’s a good word: extraordinary. “It’s fine without a story, so do we really need one?” Well no, you don’t. You don’t even need to make a memorable game. Just release another NSMB and see the money roll in. You don’t need artistic ingenuity, you don’t need to feed the fires of children’s imaginations, so why do it, right? Clearly, no one cares about that stuff. No one that matters, anyway. A survey said so!

    Nintendo is generally conservative with their franchises. We all know that. And I’m fine with the fact that most Nintendo titles don’t blow any minds in the story department. But the Paper Mario series is different. They’re some of the only Nintendo games that have bothered to surprise and excite people with the tales that they can tell. Please, don’t take that away.

  15. December 03, 2012 at 06:28pm
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    Then I guess for once I’m part of the 1%

  16. December 03, 2012 at 06:11pm
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    Guess I’m part of the 1% that wants a good story from a game. Don’t I feel special!

  17. December 03, 2012 at 05:50pm
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    To be fair, I’ve always felt that the main strength of the Mario RPG games is the witty and light-hearted dialogue and interactions, rather than the overall plot.

  18. December 03, 2012 at 04:26pm
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    Goddammit Super Paper Mario, even five years later your glaring faults are causing me consternation.

    Although I have to say I’m still surprised at the results of this poll, even with SPM as the basis of it. I mean, people playing that were in it for the gameplay? Did they only play one or two worlds before moving on? Because as relatively weak as its plot was that was still the stronger suit of the game, a few great moments intermixed with the generic bits.

    And really, by neglecting story in Sticker Star they instead made a game where… that’s all it had. A bunch of generic fluff stringing together levels. Sticker Star is a better game overall, the mechanics are more engaging and in line with what I at least want fromt he series, but ugh.

  19. December 03, 2012 at 04:22pm
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    The problem l have with stories in video games is that most of them are either feel “meh” for being a sole device for boss battles/action set pieces or they are just badly written. Even with how video games are today – it’s pretty damn rare to find one with a mature story that treats you like an adult and doesn’t patronize you…*stares at David Cage*

  20. December 03, 2012 at 04:17pm
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    Let’s not generalize. It’s true many games don’t need a focus on story, but there are games that would be -nothing- without their story. Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy come to mind. Once again, diversity is the name of the game.

  21. December 03, 2012 at 03:32pm
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    So, let me get this straight… According to a survey they took, almost no one found the story of their game interesting.

    So, for this next game, their solution is to say “people don’t like story” and do -less- story, rather than attempting to write a -better- story?

    Am I missing something?

  22. December 03, 2012 at 03:18pm
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    So essentially what they’re saying is “Our rediculously narrow survey says story isn’t important” But actually reading his quote maybe it means that the survey found that people didn’t find the story of Super Paper Mario interesting i.e. meaning they didn’t like the story of THAT particular game. Either way I’m not worried about this being some sort of ‘symptom of what’s wrong with gaming quote from industry insider’ it’s just their preference in making Mario games.

  23. December 03, 2012 at 02:58pm
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    Fun fact: Originally, Paper Mario was going to be called “Mario Story.” It was a story-centric title. The story is all-important. The story of how Mario does what he does. The journey he takes to do it—whether or not the overall reason (Bowser stole something, ancient evil, whathaveyou) is terribly unique. It’s made unique in the way it is presented; this theme is bundled up in the paper the world is made of.

    Don’t follow this path thinking Story is not needed Nintendo. I liked the story of Paper Mario. I liked the story of Thousand Year Door, I liked the story of Super Paper Mario. I found the Story of Sticker Star lacking and I think I know why now.

    If Story is gone, how are you going to be able to identify the differences between each of these games? It’s going to start becoming like New Super Mario Bros games, where all the games start to blur together since you are exploring the same worlds again and again fighting the same enemies again and again and reaching the same goal again and again. Don’t be like that. Keep the story. It’s a very important thing to have, take the time to craft a good story so each game is a memorable, unforgettable one.

  24. December 03, 2012 at 02:35pm
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    Rating: +1 (from 3 votes)

    You might as well nix the story of Zelda, Star Fox and Metroid while your at it then.

    A game without a story is pizza without sauce. Sure, you may think you’d enjoy it better without that messy, tangy pizza sauce..but then you find that the pizza is missing something and it’s just not the same or as you hoped it would be.

    So lets throw Mario RPG without the story..you just play it. No text, no narritive, no indication as to what the hell is going on or why your doing what your doing. Just gameplay that goes forward with nothing to justify or explain the why and where and what. Does that sound enjoyable?

    If you said yes, get the fuck out of gaming please.

    • December 03, 2012 at 03:36pm
      In response to ChazDragoon
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      I think you misunderstanding the point. if I’m correct the developers aren’t going to entirely remove the story but narrow down narration for the story in Paper Mario. Besides saying story is important in gaming is like saying films without CGI effects aren’t films. I get your point about RPG games without story is odd because it says it in Role-Playing Game. But not everyone does play RPG games and not skip the story line.

      • December 04, 2012 at 04:56pm
        In response to Soliduz_Znake
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        Oh no..i get that. There are -some- games that don’t need a whole lot of narrative to get story across (list a bunch of popular Indie games here) and even the original Mario Bros. had -nothing- in the way of in-game story.

        Hopefully Nintendo doesn’t take this “less than 1%” to heart when it comes to their games that are more story focused (Zelda, Paper Mario, etc.) and take it to heart for the less story intense games (New Super Mario Bros., Nintendogs, etc.)

  25. December 03, 2012 at 02:22pm
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    Gee, base all your decisions around ONE game’s survey why don’t you… Most people probably said they enjoyed the flipping mechanic of Super Paper Mario. A better survey would have been something like “here’s a bunch of check boxes. Check what you like”. Even then, I’d argue that Super Paper Mario’s story is just ok. So of course nobody would have told a blank box they liked the story. If I recall, Thousand Year Door had a better narrative. Isn’t that a primary reason why that game seems to be talked about a lot more?

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Mario Dev: Story is Interesting to Less than 1 Percent of Gamers

Posted by [ 1 year, 4 months ]

“It’s fine without a story, so do we really need one?”

Paper Mario: Sticker Star Review

Posted by [ 1 year, 4 months ]

Paper Mario comes to a handheld for the first time and produces another solid entry in a great franchise, despite significant differences.

Take a Gander at Paper Mario: Sticker Star's Gameplay in Action

Posted by [ 1 year, 6 months ]

Mario is going paper again and lo there was much rejoicing.

Mario Dev: Story is Interesting to Less than 1 Percent of Gamers

Posted By about 1 year, 4 months ago

“It’s fine without a story, so do we really need one?”

Take a Gander at Paper Mario: Sticker Star's Gameplay in Action

Posted By about 1 year, 6 months ago

Mario is going paper again and lo there was much rejoicing.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star Review

Paper Mario: Sticker Star Review

Paper Mario: Sticker Star Review

It’s more or less a guarantee that every gamer has some games they like above most others. Maybe it has significant nostalgic charm or perhaps it just struck the perfect chord, but for whatever reason, everyone has a favorite game or two. Naturally, I’m no different from the majority in this regard. While there are a few series I could point to as an example, one of the oldest and dearest to me is the Paper Mario series. Ever since I played through the original title on the N64, I’ve held the series in high regard and I consider the second, Thousand-Year Door, to be one of the best games I’ve ever played. As such, when I heard that a new Paper Mario was coming to the 3DS, I was extremely excited, despite the fairly significant differences the trailers presented. Did it live up to those high expectations? Allow me to tell you.

PROS Hilarious dialog and writing, Crisp graphics, Great music, Unique battle system
CONS Some sections can be rather annoying, Not much extra content
WTF?! Birdo!? What are you doing here and why are you singing?

The story framing is rather standard Mario fare. The Sticker Star has come down from the sky just in time for the Sticker Fest, but Bowser comes by to wreck things as he always does and ends up spreading the ultra-powerful Royal Stickers across the land in addition to taking one for his own. Teaming up with a sticker fairy named Kersti, you have to go find the Royal Stickers and save the Princess. Normally, I like the basic Mario premise in its simplicity. In this instance however, I would put this as a negative. The Paper Mario stories have always tended to have fairly significant depth if investigated fully, but that sadly isn’t the case with this particular entry. There isn’t much more to the main story beyond that brief summary, even if each area has its own personality.

However, personality is probably the area where Sticker Star shines brightest. The game exudes charm from everywhere and the writing is probably the strongest it has ever been. Despite the small number of significant characters present, they all leave very strong impressions and made me laugh more than a couple times over the course of Mario’s journey. Kersti started out a bit annoying, but had quite a few entertaining dialogs over the course of the game. The recurring villains of Bowser Jr. and Kamek also get more than enough characterization to be both welcome sights for interaction and unlikable jerks as their position demands. All the other minor characters encountered get their own great moments as well. It’s a bit hard to describe why it works so well without quoting specific lines, but when the exposition fairy practically calls one of the recurring bad guys a hipster at one point, the writers were doing something right.

A Toad staircase? Finally, they do something useful.

That personality also extends to most other significant aspects of the game as well. All of the real world items, or “things,” found throughout have fairly silly, if devastating, effects when used in battle. There are numerous references to previous Mario games as well, from the return of the Ninji from Super Mario Bros. 2 and Gooper Blooper from Super Mario Sunshine as new enemies to a mansion full of Boos that forms an obvious reference to the ghost houses of past games. The inevitable game show, Sniffit or Whiffit, is also full of entertaining jokes and an enjoyable atmosphere that makes it a ton of fun. Honestly, I could pick out so many little things and talk about how each of them contributes to the overall feeling of the game. It all ties into a very appealing world, to both look at and travel through.

Speaking of which, the graphics in this particular entry are more stylized than ever, but still look very crisp and clear. The locations are all relatively standard, with the expected grassland, ice world, and the like. Still, the design of these areas remains different enough to keep attention and there is often at least one particular standout section in every overall area. Also, a good portion of enemies and items also have a rather appealing sparkling sheen due to the fact that many of the paper materials in the world have turned shiny due to the effect of the Sticker Star. While the regular graphics are impressive though, Sticker Star has seriously taken advantage of its namesake of “Paper” Mario.

This world, perhaps for the first time in the series, really sells the idea that everything is truly made out of paper. Multiple Toads are stuck flat against walls, Goombas will sometime fold up to become paper cones and block jumping attacks, many references to crinkling or other folding terms are made, and some battle conditions are being crumpled or soggy. It all goes a long way to making the game’s obvious aesthetic feel like it really matters. In addition, through the use of the Paperize mechanic, you can press down stickers and pull off incorrectly-attached pieces of the world to press them back on the right way. It’s a neat aspect of the game and a good amount of the “puzzles” are solved by finding the correct sticker to fix the impeding issue.

Nice to see Fire Mario again.

While all these aspects do contribute to the overall experience, the core of the game is built around the new battle system focused around stickers. As opposed to previous entries and, indeed, most RPGs, levels are nowhere to be found and the only significant way to upgrade Mario himself is finding HP-ups to do just what the name would imply. Instead, improving effectiveness in battle comes from finding and using improved stickers throughout the world. Beating bosses grants more room in the sticker album to have a greater supply of battle options on hand at any given time, but the actual stats and damage still depend on the particular stickers used. It’s very different from the norm for games such as this, but those differences make for quite an interesting system.

Despite the disparity, there is still significant strategy needed to continue winning fights based on the simple fact that a sticker is gone once it is used. Stickers literally control every action that can be performed in battle, from complex super attacks to basic commands like jumping or healing. To put it bluntly, Mario is unable to fight if he runs out of stickers. There is a constant supply to be found throughout the stages that completely refreshes upon leaving a level, so he will rarely, if ever, be absolutely helpless. However, careful consideration has to be made for every action to make sure it is worth the cost of losing that action. Is it worth using the shell to knock out everything when a couple, more common jump stickers could suffice if performed correctly? Should the prepared thing sticker be pulled out in this bad spot, or can the battle be won without it? While it is indeed annoying when a really nice sticker is accidentally wasted, I love that it really makes the player put thought into everything they do.

Based on the fact that there aren’t any traditional experience points, it would probably seem as though there is little incentive to actual fight any of the enemies found wandering the different areas. However, the game gives two important reasons for doing just that. For one, enemies will often drop stickers after a fight, including relatively rare item stickers that can only be found by defeating certain enemy types. While these item stickers are often some of the best in the game, the coin rewards from battling are even more important due to the introduction of the Battle Spinner and the constant need to restock good stickers. Naturally, there are other ways to get coins, but the fastest and easiest way is to perform well in battle and get the perfect bonus reward by beating enemies in the most efficient way possible without being hit. Not only does this give a reason to fight in the first place, but giving strong incentive to do well only further adds to the need for strategy in battle.

Normally, Mario gets one action per turn, but by rolling the slots of the Battle Spinner and matching two or three symbols, Mario can have two or three actions, respectively, per turn. By spending even more coins at the spinner screen, the slots can have two stop together to ensure at least one match and slow down to pick a particular symbol and get the associated effect. Certain stickers, when used in combination, can power up stickers used later in a turn and there are many different strategies that can be performed through that fact. However, even taking that fact out of consideration, having three moves compared to one is still obviously beneficial and the fact that multiple enemies have to be attacked in order from front to back means that the order can have a significant impact. The system is integrated into the overall gameplay well and, as with the other battle options, grants even further opportunity for strategic decisions.

Prepare to place many secret doors across the stages

The multitude of choices and strategies available for battle translates over to a Paper Mario game that I found to be much harder than earlier entries. Enemies hit rather hard and it isn’t all that uncommon to lose half of Mario’s health from a flubbed turn or block when multiple enemies are attacking. While the normal battles can show the difficulty fairly well, the shift is most clearly evident in the bosses present at the end of each major area that hold the lost Royal Stickers. While many of them were quite fun, with special attention going to the World 3 boss for having an extremely awesome musical-based fight, they could all be very difficult, even if their hidden weakness is found. To give a frame of reference, the final boss in this game has 500 HP while the enemy with the highest HP in either of the more RPG predecessors was a bonus boss with 200. The game is a significant challenge and while some of those fights could feel grueling at times, they all had very solid design behind them and, thanks to that design, were mostly fun to play through instead of being mostly annoying.

The music is also worth a mention in its own right, as the Paper Mario games have always had some great tracks and the trend continues here. All the tracks fit their respective areas and situations very well, in addition to keeping a consistent jazzy theme between most of the songs. The ones that don’t follow that theme are generally remixes of other Mario songs that both sound great and provide further references to games that have come before. Among many others, I would probably pick out “Kersti’s Power” and “Mini-Boss Battle” as some of my favorites, although there really isn’t a bad song to be found. Granted, I wouldn’t say that the soundtrack is one of the best I’ve ever heard, but it is most definitely a good one.

In the end, Sticker Star is a game I had a lot of fun playing through. The interesting battle system and constant stream of charming moments kept me coming back for more until I beat Bowser and saved the princess yet again. It’s not perfect by any means, as there are a few annoying design decisions and levels and there isn’t really much to do after finishing the game beyond finding everything there is to find. Still, I’m glad to see that one of my favorite series is still going strong and certainly shows no signs of losing its forward momentum. For anyone who loves Paper Mario’s humor and wit as I do, this game will not disappoint. Otherwise, if you have a 3DS and have liked how anything I’ve said here has sounded, be sure to pick up Sticker Star. It’s a great addition to any library. Now, I must get to waiting for Paper Mario 5.

A review copy of this game was provided by the publisher for this review. The reviewer played the game to story completion in around 22 hours.

8/10

Paper Mario: Sticker Star Review

Paper Mario comes to a handheld for the first time and produces another solid entry in a great franchise, despite significant differences.
  1. December 12, 2012 at 07:41pm
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    From what you describe you use the cerebrum more than the medulla to win this game. Thanks, I think I know what gift I’m getting for a friend.

  2. November 22, 2012 at 08:05pm
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    I’m gonna have to pass. I mean this feels like Super Mario Bros Wii was. Taking out most of the RPG specs and replacing them.

    I’ll be honest this was gonna be the game I would have gotten for that free Donkey Kong game but now I just don’t know.

    It’s a Mario game so it’s good but for them to remove more of RPG from Mario just not what I personally want.

    I think Nerf Now said it best. Chess [too hard] to Checkers [still confusing] to Tic-Tac-Toe [wait we got something here...]. Game of the Year.

  3. November 22, 2012 at 04:47pm
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    Certainly seems cute and worth looking in to. I was considering getting it but once I learned thatthe the vast majority of the “traditional” RPG elements had been stripped out, I got kinda turned off to the game. I feared the combat would become a chore without any tangible reward for defeating enemies.

    But, with that said, this among many of the other reviews offering extremely high praise as re-kindled my interest. Far be it from me to condemn something for looking at the genre at a different angle.

  4. November 22, 2012 at 02:36pm
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    I miss the partners too much. Also… Bowser without Dialogue? That threw me off.

  5. November 22, 2012 at 03:29am
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    I’m getting this for christmas. I’ve been waiting for a detailed review. thank you.

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