Paper Mario Sticker Star Review
Paper Mario Sticker Star Review
Paper Mario is one of Nintendo’s quirky gems that used to live on the home consoles. Paper Mario Sticker Star attempts to jump over to the handheld 3DS. Unfortunately, more than a few things are lost along the way.
Our story begins the night of the Sticker Fest, where the Sticker Comet is passing by. It holds the Royal Stickers that will grant the wish of anyone who wishes on the comet. Unfortunately, Bowser comes and breaks the Sticker Comet and uses the power of the Royal Stickers to steal Princess Peach and knocks Mario unconscious. When he wakes, Mario is accosted by a Sticker Fairy named Kersti who blames Mario for the attack. After a bit of arguing, Kersti and Mario set off on their quest to find the Royal Stickers and save Princess Peach.
The first problem I have with this game is how boring the story is. It is essentially a rehash of the first Paper Mario, but without the interesting new characters and locations. Kersti is the only character new to the Mario franchise, and she isn’t that interesting and tends to be annoying. Additionally, all of the locations feel ripped off from the original Paper Mario as well. We got a fortress you have to scale, haunted woods that will take you back to the beginning if you take a wrong turn, an ice mountain, and even a tropical area with tribal shy guys. Nothing about the aesthetic of this game feels original.
What does feel original is the combat system. Rather than having action commands, you use stickers to fight. I was a bit wary of this mechanic at first, but it grew on me as the game progressed. Early on you have very limited space for stickers so managing your inventory becomes a game. Figuring out which stickers to buy, or if it is worth deleting a sticker to make room for a new one. However, it eventually becomes moot. Every time you gain a royal sticker, you get more room for combat stickers. Towards the end of the game, space won’t be an issue. And you can’t target specific enemies, even with a jump attack, so when the game’s only way of challenging you means fighting multiple enemies at once, you need to stock up on stickers that hit all of them.
The biggest problem with the combat is the boss fights. Every boss has a sticker that will trivialize the fight. The problem is that you have to begin the battle with the boss to see what attacks you might be able to counter with a sticker, and even then it might not be obvious. And these stickers aren’t normal stickers. In the world are three-dimensional items known as Things that can be collected and turned into powerful stickers at certain locations.
These Things are not always easily found and are used for puzzle solving in various levels. So once you figure out what Thing you need, you have to figure out if you already collected it, and if you haven’t you then need to figure out which level it is in. This means that there is a tremendous amount of backtracking. Thankfully certain Things can be bought once found, but not all of them, and since stickers go away every time you use one, I found myself never turning Things into stickers unless I knew for sure I needed a specific one.
While I had many problems with Paper Mario Sticker Star, I wouldn’t say that it’s bad. While annoying, none of the problems make the game unplayable, and the game itself is pretty short. The worst thing this game has going for it is having the name Paper Mario. While the previous games had memorable locations and characters, Paper Mario Sticker Star fails to make an impression. While I commend Nintendo for trying something new with item based combat, the amount of backtracking needed in order to progress is a huge hassle. Overall, I would skip this entry into the series.
All images taken from official website found here