Paper Mario: Sticker Star review
Good, but some of the charm is missing

The good:

+Good use of the paper theme with cardboard backgrounds
+Great visuals for special stickers

The bad:

- Can't select a target during battle
- Too reliant on stickers, especially battles
- Some RPG elements missing


Paper Mario: Sticker Star

The following review uses the following weighted system:
Graphics: 20%
3D Effect: 5%
Gameplay: 40%
Plot: 15%
Music/Sound: 10%
Replay Value: 10%

Graphics: This game has some better detail than its predecessors. The building look like cardboard, and the whole paper and cardboard theme is nicely implemented through the game. Good colors are present with decent saturation. However, there are some jagged lines. It is not as smooth as the Wii game, but it comes very close. (8.5/10)

3D Effect:
the past couple of Mario games on the 3DS have been disappointing in utilizing the 3D effect. This game does a better job of displaying the 3D effect. I especially like how enemies go flying toward the screen. I try to keep it on as long as my eyes will tolerate it. (7/10)

Although this is a Paper Mario game in name, it retains very little elements of its RPG roots. After going real time for the Wii, this game bring back the turn based battle system of the N64 and GC games. However, what is missing are the experience levels, the flower points, and special skills. In fact, the only stat that increases is Mario's health and that increases by finding +5 heart pieces (Legend of Zelda anyone?). I miss these elements. There are still the puzzle solving elements which can be a bit frustrating But, what about the main feature, the stickers?

This game is all about the stickers. There are a wide variety of stickers stuck all over the environments and available to buy in shops. Mario can even take ordinary object and turn them into stickers. The stickers are kept in an album. Mario is given three pages to start, and the stickers take a variety of space depending on the sticker. Stickers have two uses: battle and paperize.

In battle, Mario uses stickers to attack and heal himself. Attacks are your typically Mario fare: jump, hammer, fire flower, etc. There are twists with special stickers. These are the ordinary objects turned into stickers, and these stickers have greater attack strength than the regular stickers. They also have better visual effects. I'm not entirely sold on the complete reliance on stickers to fight. I understand the need to do something different, but I don't want to hunt for stickers just to attack. This makes sticker management vital to success.

For Paperize, the scene transforms into a sticker book where stickers can be placed in certain spots. The effect vary to what stickers are used and in what spots and what situation. This mode is often used to solve puzzles and progress in the game. This can lead to a trial and error method to see what happens mentality.

Additional notes on battles, I really don't like that you can't target a certain enemy with a single attack. The target is always the first enemy in line. How do you get into battles? The games has an overview map with different worlds like Super Mario World. After you select a world, the game plays like previous Paper Mario games with enemies wandering around in real time. Run into enemies to begin battles. At the start of each round, players have the option to activate the battle spinner. By spending coins, three slots will appear. Player will try to match the slots to gain up to three attacks. Should three items be matched, something special will happen. For example, three mushrooms will grant Mario full health. Players can spend extra money to put the odds more in favor to match the slots. However, the cost do this will increase with each use. Overall, the battle system gets a refresh with stickers even if it is too reliant on them. However, the inability to target enemies of your choosing dampens the experience. The controls are fine. They are easy to learn and use. There are no issues here. (7.0/10)

Plot: The mushroom kingdom gathers together to celebrate the sticker festival which happens when the sticker star appears. Bowser, as usual, arrives uninvited to cause trouble. The sticker star ends up breaking apart with the royal stickers being scattered. It falls to Mario to rescue the royal stickers with the help of Kersti, who has sticker power of her own. (7.0/10)

Music/Sound: The music is decent enough for listening. I won't be downloading the soundtrack, but I won't be playing with the volume down either. Sound is used at a minimal amount, but there is nothing annoying. (7.0/10)

Replay Value: There are a few side quests but little else. (3.0/10)

8.5 * .2 = 1.7
7 * .05 = .35
7 * .4 = 2.8
7 * .15 = 1.05
7 * .1 = .7
3 * .1 = .3

Final Score = 6.9 round up 7.0/10

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