I think the bottom line is that its not what Paper Mario fans are used to / were expecting.
I hated it at first but stuck with it and have now grown to like it.
I think it deserves a 7/10 at best which is not a terrible score.
Not having to level up seems weird at first but building up an arsenal of stickers in a way is the alternative to needing to grind. In some ways its refreshing as it means you can choose how much you want to fight.
I do feel however that it feels like the game has been 'streamlined' from what we're used to from the series and feels a lot less 'epic' than say TTYD.
I've not played the first two Paper Mario games and enjoyed SPM. This game fell short. Battles served no purpose because the only way to actually get stronger was to find HP ups in the stages.
Battles also weren't very fun because they were turn-based and you couldn't choose which enemy to attack. I'm not saying turn based battles are bad, but when you don't need to do them in the first place, they just waste time.
Most Thing puzzles were easy enough to figure out, but some were so oddly specific and nonsensical that they were just frustrating. Similar reason for boss battles. I also didn't appreciate Kersti saying I did poorly when I didn't use the "right" Things for the first 2 bosses (I did world 1 and then world 3 first).
That and I'm a little upset with what the music gallery turned out to be. So there's no way for me to hear the Gooper Blooper boss battle music on that file ever again?
I can't believe some people are comparing this with TTYD and PM. Those two games are in a completely different tier to SPM and this game. Paper Mario has always been an RPG. Those two games were amazing and why they choose to get rid of all aspects of a formula that worked was beyond me. Instead they went along with the horrible Super Mario theme - horrible. And then to make things even worse in this game they've eliminated party members and the RPG elements. Can't believe anyone can defend this load of tosh.
Lang Zi says 'Furio Tigre can only be half the beastly hot man my descendant can be...' You go Shifu!! *Fangirl Roar*