Paper Mario: Sticker Star Review
We have seen various changes to the Paper Mario franchise over the past decade. Having started with turn based battles for the first few installments, then switching over to more dynamic combat in Super Paper Mario Wii, I’m happy to say that with Paper Mario: Sticker Star for the 3DS, the series has gone back to its roots and makes for an immensely adorable and memorable adventure.
As always, Bowser is up to his usual tricks again, this time meaning to harness the power of the Sticker Comet – a comet which is said to fulfill wishes. Having filled all the regions of the Mushroom Kingdom with chaos, Mario will have to solve various puzzles and overcome the mischievous, misguided enemies that have been imbued with powerful sticker magic. Spanning six worlds across Mario’s beloved home – The Mushroom Kingdom – there are countless challenges and enemies waiting to be… Stomped!
The story of Paper Mario: Sticker Star is actually very well done and is presented excellently. It doesn’t deliver a very deep story – like other titles have tried to – but instead keeps everything very light-hearted which makes for a more memorable experience. The game does feature its fair share of emotional moments though – as emotional as a Mario title can be – and has a great ending that wraps up the whole story.
In contrast to Super Paper Mario Wii, Paper Mario: Sticker Star returns to its roots with turn-based combat. This an extremely welcome return as it allows for more strategic combat, not to mention the increased longevity of the whole game. Mario utilizes the power of stickers which are found in the overworld. It’s as simple as walking (or jumping) up to a sticker, pressing the “B” button and peeling it off the ground or wall. These stickers will then be added to the sticker book which is constantly displayed on the touch screen.
Stickers range from boots (Normal jumping ability) to attacks that use fire flowers, POW bars and of course a good old fashioned green shell or two. Six types of stickers exist, ranging from worn-out stickers (weakest) to megaflash stickers (Strongest). There are 96 different battle stickers to collect, which should make the exploration all that more enjoyable.
The other types of stickers Mario will need to use are called “Thing” stickers. These are various ‘real world’ things such as fans or bowling balls that are hidden in the overworld. Mario will soon learn how to make them into stickers (for a small fee of course) and they will be required to solve various puzzles and defeat various bosses. An annoying aspect of the game is the fact that it never hints or implies that you have to use a specific ‘Thing’ sticker in order to defeat a boss, making a few boss battles feel impossible… and extremely aggravating.
Furthermore, there are tons of collectibles scattered around every nook and cranny of the Mushroom Kingdom such as ‘+5 HP’ hearts and rare stickers. There are also cleverly hidden Easter Eggs – such as a hidden Luigi in every world. All these clever additions make the exploration and search for items most enjoyable.
Graphics & Audio
The graphics keep to that extremely cheerful and full-of-life look that’s become traditional to Paper Mario games. You’ll often find yourself stopping at the lush green forests or the beautiful sparkling deserts and taking in the exceptionally designed scenery.
Mario game’s audio has often been the epitome of happiness and joy. Paper Mario: Sticker Star does not disappoint and I can guarantee that you’ll be bobbing your head along to the happy and relaxing tunes that every casual gamer enjoys. Featuring one of the most solid soundtracks of all Mario games, I found the music to be incredibly good-spirited and truly satisfying.
The 3D Effect
The 3D effect is implemented surprisingly well, ironically giving depth to the flat world of Paper Mario. I found myself opting out of the 3D option for the most part as my eyes did get quite tired. Though, don’t let my eyesight discourage you from experiencing the beautiful world that Paper Mario: Sticker Star has to offer.
Overall, I consider the newest installment to the Paper Mario franchise one of the best in the series. With a beautiful world to explore, very clever puzzles to solve and a healthy amount of collectibles to find, your stay in the Mushroom Kingdom will surprisingly challenge you and will have you playing with a constant smile on your face. Featuring an extremely adorable cast of characters and a brilliant overall theme, Mario fans and more general gamers alike should check out one of the best entries on Nintendo’s newest portable.