Review by Mad_Moon
PAPER MARIO: STICKER STAR
When I heard about Paper Mario coming to the 3DS, I was quite excited. I waited patiently for its release and picked it up on the first day. Paper Mario has always excelled in storytelling. Each game would bring a unique story filled with colorful, memorable characters, great music, and a personality that few other games can match.
Sadly, I would soon be disappointed. Sticker Star has almost none of the charm and flair that Paper Mario has been known for.
Each Paper Mario game starts with a simple plot and Sticker Star is no different in that regard. Bowser, or whoever has decided to be evil that particular day, kidnaps Peach, and Mario has to stomp some heads in and collect some powerful objects to save her. While this may sound simplistic, each game would bring the story to life with some of the best writing you could find in an RPG.
Previous Paper Mario games would be filled with amazing characters, each one with a personality that few could forget. Bowser with his witty comments, Rawk Hawk with his trash-talking, Count Bleck with his maniacal ranting, and even Luigi with hilarious stories of his own adventures: these are just the beginning of the wonderful characters you get to know and love in Paper Mario games.
And then there is sticker star. In this game there is very little dialogue, none of which I can actually remember, even though I was just playing the game ten minutes ago. There are so few characters, let alone story-telling in general, that I really didn't care enough to finish the game. I was not entertained or intrigued in the least throughout most of the game.
The graphics are, astonishingly, the best part of the game. Everything looks sharp and vibrant. There is honestly nothing to complain about here.
The sound effects are as solid as ever, but with such an uninspired soundtrack to back them up, things fall flat. The soundtrack always sounds the same in almost every situation. Every previous Paper Mario game would bring much variety and feeling into the soundtrack to match each location and event that occurred in the game. Sticker star has far less variety, and most of the music is nearly interchangeable.
Sticker Star, like the previous title, decides to change things up in the gameplay. In battle, all attacks are made through the use of stickers. You can only use one sticker each turn unless you pay a gradually increasing coin fee to roll a slot machine that will allow you to use more on that turn. You must collect stickers as you can only use each sticker once.
You get no reward for defeating enemies except for a handful of coins, which you will use to get more stickers or use the slot machine in battle so that you can get more coins, and the process repeats. Because there is no benefit from fighting enemies, you will eventually decide to avoid battles to save time and so you don't end up wasting your better stickers.
When collecting stickers, you will often obtain rare "thing" stickers. These stickers are vital for progress in certain parts of the game. Sadly, you will often not know when you need them, or even which ones will actually do something helpful. You will often go lugging many of these stickers around for long periods of time because you have no idea if you will need them.
Outside of battle, you will frequently encounter puzzles that will rarely have a clear course of action for you to take. All you can do when you encounter these puzzles is flail your hammer around and hope it does something, or use a VERY SPECIFIC sticker to solve the problem. Hopefully you don't end up using the sticker you needed beforehand, because you will have to exit the level you are in to go get it again. You will never feel like you have achieved something because the puzzles almost never actually challenge you, they only waste your time.
Last of all, there are bosses. Each boss is uninspired, and will have a huge amount of HP. Each one has a weakness to a VERY SPECIFIC sticker that you MUST have if you want to have any hope of beating them. Some bosses are flat out impossible without certain stickers that you won't have because you will never know when to look for them, or even where to look for them.
If you want a satisfying RPG with a compelling plot and solid gameplay, Sticker Star is NOT what you are looking for. Sticker Star has only the bare bones of an RPG, it is far too mediocre for such a great series. If you want a good Paper Mario, there are three other games that will satisfy you far better.
Final Score: 4/10
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 12/03/12
Game Release: Paper Mario: Sticker Star (US, 11/11/12)
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