Paper Mario: Sticker Star Review
Paper Mario: Sticker Star Box Art
System: 3DS
Dev: Intelligent Systems
Pub: Nintendo
Release: November 11, 2012
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: N/A Mild Cartoon Violence

In fact, it’s the story you’ll notice before the gameplay starts to gnaw at you. Even for a Mario game, the plot is weak, with a brief introduction of an annual, sticker-themed celebration. Bowser appears and immediately makes a lunge for the titular Sticker Star, the MacGuffin that ends up empowering him and a bunch of other baddies who then wreak havoc off-screen (including kidnapping Peach, of course), and Mario is tasked with defeating them both by tradition and his latest companion. Paper Mario games in the past, though, have developed the story as they’ve gone along, building up the world they take place in as the action gets increasingly intense, Mario collects party members (or at least engages with interesting NPCs), and things draw to a climactic showdown. Here, anything other than Mario’s almost leisurely quest to collect the Royal Stickers is completely off-screen, and it’s kind of lonely, which is exacerbated by the hilarious dialogue one does encounter from time to time being juxtaposed with so much utter silence.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star Screenshot

Eventually, though, you’ll stop hoping for the atmosphere to improve and just accept that it’s the depressing way of things. After that, though, you’ll quickly get fed up with the nearly pointless combat and a puzzle-solving system that punishes you for experimentation and demands excessive backtracking. Any time a sticker is used, even if that means it was placed in the environment in hopes of solving a puzzle, it is consumed. This applies to any sticker, whether a regular combat ability or a rare “thing” based sticker. This can quickly get expensive, which makes the trial-and-error methodology the game seems to demand (puzzles have exactly one solution and often lack context, since it’s not really clear what most special stickers will do).

It’s doubly infuriating since, often, solving a puzzle or defeating a boss means backtracking to town so you can create the special sticker you need (which is quite expensive), especially since most rare stickers take up a lot of inventory space and you almost never know which ones you’ll actually need.


The game’s superfluous combat and unforgiving puzzle-solving mechanics only serve to bog the experience down; I can only assume that, without them, Sticker Star would have been infinitely crisper and more enjoyable, but whether they’re an attempt to cater in some way to the “expectations” one has when playing a Paper Mario game or simply a fairly transparent means of padding the length of the game, they do a lot to tarnish what is otherwise a colorful, joyful experience.

Shelby Reiches
Lead Contributor
Date: November 14, 2012

The visuals are colorful and playful, taking the papercraft of Paper Mario games past to hilarious extremes. Perhaps the best effect is that shiny stickers in the album will actually shimmer as though catching the light when one tilts the system. The 3D is also both forgiving and inoffensive; I generally kept it on.
Pretty much the definition of simplicity. Whether navigating the world or menus, they are responsive and accurate.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Some of the tracks are stellar and, while there’s nothing in the way of spoken dialogue, sound effects are satisfying and appropriate.
Play Value
Sticker Star cannot decide whether it wants to be played in quick spurts or lock you in for long hours of activity. While it leans toward the former, missteps like the battle system and obtuse puzzles increase the time commitment per section arbitrarily.
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Stickers are the key to this imaginative adventure. Battles are turn-based like in the original Paper Mario game, but instead of an attack menu, Mario whomps on his enemies using a sticker to attack. Stickers not only serve as Mario's attacks, but also help solve puzzles throughout the Paper Mario universe when placed in the correct spots. Stickers can be found and collected from all corners of the world, and the flashier the sticker, the more powerful it is.
  • The environments in Paper Mario: Sticker Star come to life in this visually stunning papercraft world on the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. They also contain a wide range of objects such as electric fans, scissors, and radiators that can be converted into more stickers, which can then be used to solve puzzles or win battles as Mario maneuvers through each level.
  • A fresh, crisp take on Paper Mario gameplay unfolds with new ways to travel the world, get stronger, and uncover secrets.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Paper Mario: Sticker Star Screenshot - click to enlarge Paper Mario: Sticker Star Screenshot - click to enlarge Paper Mario: Sticker Star Screenshot - click to enlarge Paper Mario: Sticker Star Screenshot - click to enlarge Paper Mario: Sticker Star Screenshot - click to enlarge Paper Mario: Sticker Star Screenshot - click to enlarge Paper Mario: Sticker Star Screenshot - click to enlarge Paper Mario: Sticker Star Screenshot - click to enlarge Paper Mario: Sticker Star Screenshot - click to enlarge Paper Mario: Sticker Star Screenshot - click to enlarge

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