Review by Specstech
"Paper Mario Sticker Star: Walkthrough Must-have?"
After years of waiting, Mario returns as the flat, foldable Paper Mario. His mission? Well...saving Princess Peach, of course!
Paper Mario used to be a traditional RPG. Experience points, turn-based battle, the whole enchilada. Not anymore. Mario decides to swap out his old battle strategies with stickers. That's right, stickers! HERESY! Wait a minute...this is actually fun! Intelligent Studios took a gamble when they decided to pull Paper Mario from his roots and send him to save his princess with only an album full of battle stickers and a cheeky, chatty, Royal Sticker named Kirsti. And in my opinion, it paid off.
So...how does the new battle system work? Well, you fight enemies by selecting stickers to grant Mario power-ups and attacks for turn-based combat. The strategy lies in knowing the enemies' weakness/strengths and fighting with the appropriate stickers. You can use up to three different stickers to fight, offering more ways to strategize. And to round out the shiny new combat system, Sticker Star even improves Mario's sticker attacks if the player correctly times presses of the "A" button.
When it comes to combat, Sticker Star's system shines. What about exploration? Well, Sticker Star has plenty. Whether it's jumping into the bushes to retrieve a powerful sticker or creating your own secret room by sticking doors into the wall, this game will have you exploring for hours. Again, Intelligent Studios rounded this one out. The aforementioned companion, "Kersti", can grant Mario the ability to flatten out the 3D diorama environment into a 2D photo. Mario can then peel off scraps of the photo (or stick his own stickers), return to 3D, and the game world will be changed accordingly. That opens up more ways to explore.
Stickers. Ah, wondering when THAT was going to come up! Stickers are EVERYWHERE in this game. As you explore, you can replenish your album with more stickers that you peel off the environment. There are even "Thing" stickers, a collection of 64 real-world items that come in handy for serious game world changes and boss battles. You'll always be discovering a new type of sticker and going "Whoa...cool."
Main elements aside, Paper Mario Sticker Star even rocks in the extras. There're little extra quests and mini-storyplots to complete and follow, and the game hardly gets boring.
So...why the 8/10 review? Well, because Sticker Star made a few small mistakes that make the game very difficult to 100% if you don't check a walkthrough every now and then. First, the game has no by-level progress indicator. That means, if you didn't find something you need in the level, it won't tell you. So you sometimes never know that there was a certain Thing sticker in a level until you saw it in a walkthrough. Secondly, Thing stickers are a must for boss-battling and clearing certain levels of the game. That in itself isn't a problem. The problem is that the game won't hint the exact Thing you need to defeat the boss properly or clear the level. If you get the right sticker, you'll flatten the boss in a jiffy. If you don't, prepare to waste half your album on beating him. Combining those two mistakes, the game becomes well...flat. Pardon the pun.
So to wrap it up, Paper Mario Sticker Star is lots of fun. But there are a couple problems with the game that can force a player into frustration and using a walkthrough.
The Last Word: It's fun.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/06/12
Game Release: Paper Mario: Sticker Star (US, 11/11/12)
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