Hands On: Paper Mario: Sticker Star

This weekend I attended the Play Expo in Manchester where I was lucky enough to get my keen impressionable mitts on Paper Mario: Sticker Star for the very first time!

Now, I should say I’m a massive Paper Mario fan, and this game is my most anticipated game of the year, including all the Wii U’s launch window titles! A pretty big statement you might say, but over the weekend I had my anticipation vindicated as I finally got to play through a bit of the game!

I played it on the 3DS XL, as is customary at all Nintendo’s events these days, and I have to say it looks absolutely fantastic on the big screen! It’s everything you expect from a Paper Mario game: lush environments, simple yet vibrant colours, interactive props scattered around and a load of zany characters knocking about. The 3D effect is also magnificent! I’m not a massive fan of the 3D element of the 3DS but even I had it turned all the way up on this one! There’s just so much depth to the game, so many layers, so much to see; the 3D really brings out the very best of the visuals.

The opening begins with you attending the Sticker Fest which celebrates the passing over of the Sticker Comet in the sky. Bowser, being the devious devil he his, decides he wants it all to himself and attempts to jump at it. Unfortunately this results in the comet exploding and scattering stickers all around the Mushroom Kingdom! A powerful crown conveniently lands on Bowser’s head and he uses this to, you’ve guessed it, kidnap Princess Peach. The Mushroom Kingdom is left a mess and once you uncrumple yourself you can get your adventure underway. You find a sticker fairy crown by the name of Kersti , who will now be your main companion, and you proceed to wander through this seemingly deserted town with her looking for things to interact with – and there are plenty of those!

Stickers, as you may have guessed, are a big part of the game and they are everywhere! On walls, behind trees, underneath boxes; you really have to search high and low to find them all! Once you find one, you simply hold A next to it and Mario will peel it from its surface and put it in his sticker album, found on the bottom screen.

These stickers get used in and out of battle but this demo only showed off how they are used in battle. The battle system is very much the same as it was on Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. You get into a fight and an RPG style backdrop emerges with you on the left and your foes on the right. To attack you may use those stickers you’ve been collecting. Select the one you want to use, say a jumping sticker or a hammer sticker, and put it to good use against your enemy! You can of course time your button pressing to hurt more when you’re attacking and block when you’re defending. The enemies I fought weren’t too difficult (just a few Goombas really) and there wasn’t much scope for tactics, but you can see even from this how such tactics with the stickers will be quite complex and rewarding!

The aim of the first part of the playthrough was to find every Toad in the area to roll out the rest of the town which has unfortunately been rolled up like a burrito! Finding them all is not easy and it took me a very long time to accomplish it! They hide behind objects, inside boxes, underneath seemingly unusual spots on the floor, in cupboards, everywhere! Naturally this is a bit of a tutorial level for you to make use of items and abilities to reveal the frightened little blighters and there are many intuitive ways for you to find them. Once the town is rolled out you have new options available to you before you progress onwards with your quest! You can visit some shops and speak to townsfolk before heading off onto the world map to continue your adventure!

Paper Mario: Sticker Star has the makings of a genuine classic. It’s the game the 3DS sorely needs to take it to the next level. It’s a game that will have the hardcore fans chomping at the bit while also saying to those undecided about the 3DS: “jump aboard.”

For me, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, released on the Gamecube in 2004, is the best of the series and I think after playing Paper Mario: Sticker Star that it could well have a rival for top spot! It has it all, the best elements of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door as well as new features that enhance the gameplay even further. The visuals are amazing and the typical Paper Mario humour we all know and love is still in there!

The only thing I’m not sure about is the partner system. It’s done differently in this one whereby each partner helps you progress on a one-off basis. I’m not yet sure if this is a good thing or not, I couldn’t get a good enough impression on this small playthrough.

When all’s said and done though, I really cannot recommend Paper Mario: Sticker Star to you more! This is going to be the game of 2012! If you’re a fan of Paper Mario, and even if you’re not, this is a must buy title! This could be the reason you buy a 3DS if you haven’t already got one!

A big thank you should be given to the organisers of the Play Expo, it really was a fantastic event! Paper Mario: Sticker Star is released on 7th December. Get it on your Christmas list! Santa is going to be busy this year!

2 Responses to “Hands On: Paper Mario: Sticker Star”
  1. jpxdude says:

    Very excited for this 🙂


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