A guest review by Brandon Weaver
Game – Paper Mario Sticker Star
Developer/Publisher – Intelligent Systems / Nintendo
Version – 3DS
Price – $39.99
Obtained – Self-bought
When I heard Nintendo was developing a new Paper Mario for the 3DS I was pretty excited. Nintendo had announced this title before the system had even launched so needless to say there was plenty of hype behind this game. Especially from Paper Mario fans who felt the last outing to be somewhat lackluster in comparison to the first couple games in what is now the Paper Mario series. Does Sticker Star live up to the lofty standards of previous Paper Mario games or does it completely miss the mark? Let’s find out.
Gameplay and Controls
Once again Bowser has kidnapped the Princess Peach and it is up to Mario to save her aided by Kersti this games one and only partner. Kersti gives Mario the ability to paperize which is important to solving much of the games puzzles and restoring order to the Mushroom Kingdom. Fans of the Paper Mario series might be disappointed to know that the XP system has been abandoned. Instead of relying on Flower Points to attack, Mario is given an album of stickers collected throughout his adventure. These stickers serve as Mario’s attacks and come in all sorts of varieties. For example a hammer sticker will allow Mario to attack with his hammer while a Fire Flower sticker will allow to Mario to throw fireballs at his foes. These stickers wear out after a use so Mario will have to continue to collect stickers during his adventure in order to progress. Stickers can also be bought in shops. While I was initially wary of the sticker based combat I found it works well for this game. There are also Thing stickers which are created by collecting items in the over world. Thing stickers sometimes have to be collected in order to progress so it’s recommended that the player explores every nook and cranny of this game in order to make progression more flawless. In order to upgrade Mario’s health players will have to search for health upgrades scattered throughout the game. Sticker Star also throws the player a bone and has some health upgrades built into the story. After an absence of turn-based-combat in Super Paper Mario fans of the older Paper Mario games will be able to jump back into the familiar combat style of the first two games complete with hitting the ‘A’ button at the proper time in order to strengthen attacks or block oncoming attacks. There is practically no learning curve in Sticker Star. Newcomers will have an easy time figuring out what does what. This game appeals to RPG gamers and non-RPG gamers alike. The game handles rather well and so far I haven’t found any problems with the controls.
Visuals and Sound
I have to say that this game looks brilliant. If you have never played a Paper Mario game before all I have to say is that it looks like the title sounds. Mario and pals are literally paper incarnations of themselves. Add that to a world that looks like it has been entirely constructed from cardboard and you get a charming atmosphere in which to explore. The 3DS provides the game with a great sense of depth that can only be replicated on the 3DS screen. If you are interested in this title and want to see what it looks like in its entire 3D glory head to the 3DS eShop and watch one of the preview videos. The sound is also a fitting addition to this game. From the funky slap bass of Decalburg, the game’s central hub, to the jazzy sounds of Bafflewood the player will receive a charming and sometimes spooky soundtrack. The sound of Mario’s jumps to the bashing of the hammer are all familiar from past Paper Mario Games and are a welcome return. Overall this game delivers in terms of graphics and sound.
Concluding Overall Impressions
While not quite the return to the combat of past Paper Mario games Sticker Star is still a joy to play and a welcome addition to the Paper Mario Series. I find myself sinking hours into this game when I only meant to play a single level. 3DS owners have been blessed with a game that will hold their attention while delivering solid game play and a charming quirky story. My only problems with the game lie in the fact that it’s still not as similar to the first two games as I would have liked it to be. But I guess that’s a personal problem. If you own a 3DS you owe it to yourself to try this game.
Final Score: 8 out of 10