Granted, this time it’s different. This
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time, Mario is in 3-D!
But Paper Mario: Sticker Star feels like more than a re-hashed platformer. Those familiar with the series know it to be an RPG, something that this generation sorely lacks.
But as with all things Mario lately, the game is a disappointment. Nintendo has taken one step forward and two steps back. Although to be fair, it wasn’t Intelligent Systems fault this time. The original creator of Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto, who, for some apparent reason, felt that Paper Mario didn’t need a story, held the game – which was originally meant to be similar in depth to Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door – back from achieving this.
Why do people play RPGs? Do I even need to answer this question?
As if that weren’t enough, this game doesn’t use a partner system. It’s just Mario.
But to its credit, Sticker Star still manages to do some things right. The combat, as opposed to being a traditional turn-based system, where the player selects commands for the characters to do, instead selects from an album of stickers that are picked up after winning battles or while out in the field.
It’s quirky and an interesting approach to RPGs. Instead of a pre-set list of commands, Mario will only be able to use whatever stickers are in your sticker album. While this technically means you can run out of commands, it should never happen. The game throws stickers at you, so disregard them at your own peril.
Instead of being able to roam an open world like previous Paper Mario games, the player, once leaving Toad Town, appears on an overworld. Each “world” has levels. In other words, Paper Mario meets traditional Mario. This isn’t a bad thing, but it may not be what Paper Mario fans expected.
Players advance in these “worlds” by finding stickers to use in the environment. For example, the player may need to find a fan sticker to blow away an obstacle that is blocking advancement. Use the wrong sticker, though, and you’ll lose it.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star isn’t a bad game. Unfortunately, because it’s part of the series, people have certain expectations. As a Paper Mario game, it’s not at all what fans would have wanted.
There are no humorous Bowser quotes – he doesn’t even have lines – the only friendly NPCs are toads, and there’s nothing interesting to read. It’s Paper Mario without a soul.