Nintendo, obviously neck deep in peer studies to discover just what teens and young adults wanted in their next Mario RPG, found exactly what they were looking for -- stickers. Paper Mario: Sticker Star discards the 3D gimmick of Super Paper Mario, as well as the gimmickless gimmick of the original two Paper Mario RPGs and adopts a gimmick of sticker-based collectibles and power-ups. It's such an important gimmick, they seriously couldn't come up with a better title than Paper Mario: Sticker Star.
To start Paper Mario: Stick Star off right, Mario attend the Sticker Fest in Decalburg to witness the passing of the Sticker Star. Groan. Of course, Bowser interrupts the events and something mysterious happens with the Sticker Star, empowering Bowser with a Royal Sticker. Mario then sets out on adventure to acquire the other Royal Stickers and return the Mushroom Kingdom to the status quo. Oh, and rescue Princess Peach from Bowser's sticky hands. Sticker-y hands?
Adventuring in Sticker Star is much like previous Paper Mario titles. Screens appear 2D, but are actually on a 3D plane -- kind of like classic beat 'em ups. Mario can search through every screen hunting for secrets, rewards, or hunting down enemies who are mindlessly roaming different areas. Some environments will require Mario to use one of his special stickers to open up a new area, stickers which aren't necessarily acquired through the normal story-line. In this way, Sticker Star can be one of the most challenging adventure RPGs in the series.
Combat in Paper Mario: Sticker Star is both similar and different than previous games in the series. It's similar in that the player and enemies take turns attacking, where Mario's RPG attacks have the possibility of doing extra damage or other effects by successfully completing timing-based quick-time events. If you jump attack, pressing a button as you land on your target does extra damage. The difference is that each attack in Sticker Star requires a consumable sticker. Using a boot sticker does the jump attack, a green shell for a green shell and so on. Common attacks are insanely easy to find on the world map, but several rare stickers are one-use so use them wisely.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star ultimately finds an odd sense of balance in-between the weird, but not necessarily uncomfortable addition of stickers as a feature and the new-found difficulty in place to unlock new areas of the game. Otherwise, the RPG mechanics are just as fun as ever and Sticker Star serves as another solid addition to the series and to the Mario franchise as a whole.
This game is also known as Paper Mario: Super Seal in Japan.