Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Paper Mario: Sticker Star (known as Paper Mario: Super Seal in Japan) is a RPG for the Nintendo 3DS developed by Intelligent Systems. As the fourth installment in the Paper Mario series, it is the first Paper Mario title to be released for a handheld console.
The story starts during the night of the annual holiday, the Sticker Fest, where the citizens come to witness the Sticker Comet fly by in the sky. It is said that the Sticker Comet will make everyone's wishes come true. Princess Peach, on stage, shows the audience (which consists of Mario and a myriad of Toads) the comet as it floats down to the scene. Suddenly, Bowser and his troops appear and crash the festivities. Out of want for the comet, Bowser decides to take it as his own. Three Toads attempt to pull Bowser away but inadvertently have him crash into the Sticker Comet, breaking it into six pieces and sprawling them across the Mushroom Kingdom. One of them happens to fall on Bowser’s head making him more powerful, and unleashing a tornado which scares away the Toads. A furious Mario tries to attack him, but is overpowered and later wakes up with the Sticker Fest in a disaster: Toads have been stuck everywhere by Bowser, and the Princess missing. After regaining conciousness, Mario meets Kersti, a sticker fairy and the caretaker of the Royal Stickers. After a conversation with her, Mario then suggests that he will help her get the Royal Stickers back, and Kersti finally agrees with him and gives him a Sticker Album.
Mario starts by freeing the Toads affixed in tape placed by Bowser in the damaged festival, gaining a hammer in the process. Mario heads to the main town, Decalburg. After liberating the Toads, Mario heads towards the plaza east of town and discovers the area rolled up. The Toads, led by one Green Toad, together push to unroll the Plaza and bring it back to normal, accidentally trapping the Green Toad under the fountain in the process. As Mario leaves the town, he gets ambushed by a trio of Goombas. Kersti uses the opportunity to explain how battling foes with stickers work and Mario manages to defeat them, causing the trio of Goombas to flee.
Mario then starts his travels through the grasslands and across mountains, fighting many foes. In the Warm Fuzzy Plains, Mario and Kersti meet a group of Toads hunting for stickers. They stumbled onto one Toad who dropped a rare Scissors sticker and quickly flees before warning them about Bowser Jr. As true to his word, Bowser Jr. arrives in his Clown Car and demands that they give up the sticker. Mario manages to defeat him using the Scissors sticker but infuriated that he is not get the sticker, Bowser Jr. tears up the bridge and throws the bridge up onto a high ledge Mario cannot jump onto.
Mario and Kersti get help from the group of Toads, who form stairs for them to walk onto the ledge. When Mario obtains the broken bridge, Kersti teaches Mario the ability to paperize. After passing through the plains, they reach the Bouquet Gardens, where they find a flower garden's contents to be ruined by a strong wind. The source of the wind turns out to be a fan and Mario turns it off and obtains it. They are now able to pass through the garden, helping a Toad with his ruined flowers and a Toad traveler attacked by Goombas if they choose to do so, but get attacked by five Goombas, who make a dramatic entrance in the form of a Goomba Tower and a wheel. Seeing the higher amount of enemies than usual, Kersti explains the Battle Spinner for Mario and afterwards, the five Goombas concede.
In Water's Edge Way, Mario and Kersti bump into the same Toad who found the Scissors sticker and drops an Album Page for the Sticker Album. After the Toad flees, Mario and Kersti meet Kamek, who proceeds to be defeated in battle. In anger of his loss, Kamek uses paperization to toss away the Sticker Comet, making it impossible to proceed. Eventually, Mario and Kersti find the Sticker Comet and via a passageway through a windmill or Whammino Mountain, they eventually arrive at Goomba's Fortress, where the first Royal Sticker is being held. Mario travels through the fortress, but his presence is alerted by a Goomba who uses a trumpet to wake up nearby Bob-ombs. Passing through the Para Bob-ombs and Goombas, Mario reaches the top where he and Kersti confront a corrupted Goomba and his Goomba minions. During the battle, the corrupted Goomba and his minions form into Megasparkle Goomba, a giant Goomba. Eventually, Mario defeats them and obtains the first Royal Sticker.
Continuing into the desert, Mario discovers at Drybake Stadium that the three tablet pieces must be obtained in order to advance. At the location of the piece hidden at Yoshi Sphinx, before Mario could get it, he faces Kamek again; this time, however, Kamek converts all of Mario's stickers into Flip-Flop Stickers. The other tablet pieces are uncovered at Damp Oasis, where a Vacuum is used to remove the sandstorm, and Drybake Desert. After restoring Drybake Stadium, Mario faces Tower Power Pokey, the guardian of the second Royal Sticker, at the top. By defeating him, Mario and Kersti recover the second of the Royal Stickers.
The next location is a forest. Here, however, a massive Wiggler is encountered, blocking the entrance. After he is awakened by Mario, Wiggler says that he was looking for food, due to the entire forest being polluted by poison. Outraged, Kersti decides to help Wiggler. However, as they advance deeper into the forest, Wiggler is snatched by a flashy-looking tentacle. When Mario and Kersti arrive at Wiggler's Tree House, they find that Wiggler has been reduced to a head; Wiggler reveals that he was broken into five segments by Kamek's magic, so it is up to Mario and Kersti to track down the other four segments. After Mario and Kersti reattach him, Wiggler decides to help them by transporting them to a nearby island where the pollution is being created. At this island, it is shown that Gooper Blooper is the cause of the poison in the forest. After defeating the Blooper, the forest is reverted to its normal state and the poison is removed.
Mario and Kersti cannot continue on, however, because to reach the other continent requires a boat. At Surfshine Harbor they find a boat, but it is broken. Inside the warehouse, they find the ship's wheel, and must use the Scissors to cut the rope connecting it to the dock. However, even after this, they still cannot set sail, as a massive Cheep-Cheep attacks the ship. After defeating this creature, Mario is able to use the boat to sail to the next area.
The world they arrive at next is a snow-covered area. In this world, they come across The Enigmansion, where Mario must seal all 100 escaped Boos inside the Book of Sealing. Kamek reveals that he had originally unsealed the book, he frees the Boos once again, this time merging into a single Big Boo. After defeating it, all the Boos are finally laid to rest in the book. Later, Mario and Kersti reach the attraction-like Bowser's Snow Fort. Here, Mario faces the Bowser Snow Statue, allowing him to obtain the fourth Royal Sticker. Yet, by leaving the area, Mario is intercepted by Bowser Jr., who notices that he once again has rare stickers and wishes to face him again. By defeating him again, Bowser Jr. retreats once more, returning to his father's castle.
At the next world, Mario and Kersti travel through a forested area, challenging forest enemies, going on a raft, seeing the Travelling Toad again, and getting chased by a massive cardboard Cheep Chomp. This is followed by Chomp Ruins, where Mario has to battle a massive Chain Chomp, afterwards is a more volcanic area. At Rumble Volcano, it is discovered that the guardian of the next Royal Sticker is Petey Piranha, who eats Kersti. After reaching and defeating Petey, Mario is able to both free Kersti and retrieve the fifth Royal Sticker.
Arriving at the Gate Cliff, the five Royal Stickers that Mario and Kersti have collected begin to react. As Mario places them on the wall, the prophecy stated in the book at the Enigmansion comes true, as Mario is able to paperize the wall and flip it, allowing access Bowser's castle. The castle immediately flies into the air, out of Mario's reach. With no way to fly, Mario and Kersti are forced to return to the mainland. But upon hearing mention of a creature flying over the forest and by heading to Wiggler's house, they find out Wiggler has grown up into Flutter. Wanting to repay Mario and Kersti for restoring the forest, Wiggler flies the pair up to Bowser Jr.'s Flotilla. Here, Mario defeats Bowser Jr. for the final time, and is able to reach Bowser's Sky Castle.
At the castle, Mario again faces and defeats Kamek. With him out of the way, Mario is able to continue on to Bowser. At the final area of the castle, Mario and Kersti find Princess Peach, taped to a chain, though Bowser appears before they are able to free her. During their final showdown, Bowser is defeated, and he falls down into a pit with the Royal Sticker. However, he emerges seconds later as a massive cardboard version of himself. With any attack dealing little damage to him, Kersti powers-up Mario to face him by sacrificing herself, apologizing for all the hassle she has caused him. With this power boost, Mario defeats Bowser, thus releasing him from the Royal Sticker's control and incapacitating him. Mario frees Peach, who says that the stickers are meant to be used for good and not evil. Mario uses the Royal Stickers to return everything to normal. After Peach congratulates Mario and the rest of the kingdom for their success, Bowser attempts to steal the Royal Stickers again, only for a revived Kersti to intervene. She jokes that she wants to change her career, and Mario, Peach, and Bowser laugh.
After forgoing the classic battle system in favor of a sidescrolling platformer-style system in Super Paper Mario, Paper Mario: Sticker Star returns to the turn-based system from the first two installments. However, players have to gather stickers, which are necessary both for solving puzzles and gaining battle commands. Stickers are a major part of the gameplay and storyline. Some real-world objects (called Things) appear in the form of stickers, and they also have the ability to be used to attack and overcome obstacles. Instead of levelling up from experience points as in the previous installments, Mario must find HP-Up Hearts, which each increase his current HP by 5. Stickers replace Badges from the first two installments of the series. A new feature is the "Battle Spinner" slot machine which allows Mario to attack with multiple stickers in one turn, gain coins, or cause a different event to occur, depending on the combination received..
In addition, the gameplay places a lot more emphasis on the "paper" aspect than the previous games, containing status elements directly related to paper materials such as "soggy," "clipped," or "tacked;" additionally, the enemies sometimes transform themselves to better reflect the papery nature of their designs (eg, a Goomba occasionally becoming a cone Goomba), transform as part of an attack (eg, the Koopa Troopas), or simply resemble paper to begin with (eg, the Big Boo fought in World 4-3). Many characters actively refer to themselves as existing within a paper world, most notably Kersti. The world's environments also resemble craft materials like cardboard.
Although the player grows stronger as the game progresses, there isn't an explicit level up gameplay mechanic, unlike the other RPG games or even Super Paper Mario. In addition, beyond a certain point, the player can also effectively skip battles by jumping on or hammering enemies of a certain HP range (like Goombas by World 3), instantly defeating them.
Stickers are the only items to appear in Sticker Star. They serve as the only method of attack, items to solve puzzles, and the like. Stickers can be found anywhere in levels, being stuck across the environment and inside blocks, and can also be purchased in shops. Any stickers collected are stored in the album.
Types of stickers
There are many types of stickers, but the two main types are Jump stickers and Hammer stickers. Jump stickers include Jump, Hopslipper, Line Jump, and Iron Jump. Most Jump stickers can attack all enemies that are not spiked or have some other hazard on top of them. Hammer stickers include Hammer, Eekhammer, Slaphammer, and Hurlhammer. Most of them can hit all enemies except ones that wield wings, Spear Guys when holding their spear horizontally, or some other type of flying device, such as Kamek's broom.
There are also stickers that support Mario in battle, such as Spike Helmets that give Mario a helmet that damages all enemies that attack him from above. Also in this category are Mushrooms that heal Mario and Leaf stickers that execute all action commands perfectly for one turn.
Other types of attack stickers include Fire Flower and Ice Flower stickers that burn and freeze enemies, respectively. Certain enemies also occasionally drop stickers that represent their weapons - for example, Sombrero Guys occasionally drop Sombrero stickers, and Bob-ombs drop Bomb stickers.
There are 2 special stickers that only appear in battle and then disappear when the battle is finished. Kamek turns all of Mario's stickers into Flip-flop stickers during the Kamek battles in World 2-2 and 6-3. Flip-flop stickers are similar to Eekhammers because they strike multiple times in a hammer-like fashion. Flip-flop stickers also retain their power status, i.e. a Shiny Jump sticker is a Shiny Flip-flop, a Megaflash Slaphammer is a Megaflash Flip-flop, etc. Flip-flops of the same size will appear the same, even if it is Shiny or Flashy. Once Flip-flops are used, they are gone from the sticker book, meaning that the player cannot get that sticker back once the battle is completed and their inventory is returned to normal.
The second sticker of this kind is none other than Kersti, who will enter Mario's sticker book during the final stage of the Bowser battle. She will activate the Battle Spinner and will automatically give Mario a whopping five slots for stickers per turn. Even though Kersti will disappear from the sticker book once used, Mario wishes her to be alive again, so he can still Paperize and talk to Kersti after the battle.
Although neither sticker can be tossed or sold in shops, selling Kersti is mentioned twice in the game: entering Decalburg's shop for the first time, and right before Kersti enters Mario's sticker book when battling Bowser. Also, if Mario is able to overpower Bowser without using the Kersti sticker, he is able to toss Kersti away. However, this action does not alter the storyline.
Finally, there are Secret Door stickers that Mario is able to paste onto the environment via the Paperize ability. These doors reveal secret underground rooms containing rare stickers and/or Things that are usually not used for storyline purposes, such as a Thumbtack and a Squirt Gun.
Every single sticker except Thing stickers sometimes have special traits applied to them, such as "Shiny", "Flashy", and "Big". These stickers usually sparkle in Mario's Sticker Album and do more damage than usual to enemies. Stickers that have traits like "Big" and "Megaflash" take up more space in the album, not unlike Secret Door and certain Thing stickers. Typically, stickers wielding special traits are rarer than normal stickers. Battle Stickers and Thing Stickers come in three sizes: Small (4 Spaces), Medium (9 Spaces), and Large (16 Spaces).
These allies temporarily join Mario's party and follow him around until they are taken to a certain location, where they perform an action or advance the storyline. In the Wiggler Segment's case, they must tire out before they join Mario and go back to Wiggler's Tree House.
Bosses (in order)
Highlights signify world bosses.
Unlike previous installments, the game has a level progression system. Each level course is unlocked after collecting a Comet Piece in the preceding area. The map is reminiscent of the one used in Super Mario RPG, though it is more open-ended and not linear. Many levels contain alternate exits that lead to other levels, and the goal of entering a level is not always to "finish" it by touching the Comet Stickers.
Nintendo eShop description
When an accident scatters stickers across the land, Mario sets off on an adventure to repair a torn world. Searching Forests, Deserts and Mountains, Mario collects stickers to solve puzzles and battle monsters. In a first for the series, there are no experience points, so finding power-ups to improve Mario's abilities is more important than ever. Mixing sticker-based gameplay elements with the traditional action-battle system of the Paper Mario series delivers a new twist on a classic franchise. Flatten-out characters, roll out towns, and walk through living, breathing dioramas in a brand-new Paper Mario adventure on the Nintendo 3DS system!
Similarities to other Paper Mario games
Differences from other Paper Mario games
Paper Mario: Sticker Star started development at the end of 2009 . The development team thought Paper Mario was a good fit for the 3DS and initially developed it as a RPG making use of the 3DS's stereoscopic display. After E3 2010, a demo of this build was previewed to Shigeru Miyamoto, who was reportedly unimpressed, dismissing it as "just a port of the GC version".
Miyamoto requested the development team to "make a big change". Said development team was mostly composed of developers new to Paper Mario (planning and design staff being "about 90%" new, according to Kenji Nakajima"), with a few veterans brought in to help with the usage of old assets . Naohiko Aoyama, who conceived the original Paper Mario's visual direction but had little involvement with its sequels, was brought in as the director.
Following Miyamoto's impression, the development team brainstormed ideas to make the game stand out. It was eventually decided to expand the Sticker mechanic, which had initially being designed for use in puzzles, and expand it to the rest of the game . As the sticker system expanded, the development team decided to abandon the partner system and traditional RPG elements such as an experience point system, with progression instead being outlined by the player getting progressively stronger stickers.
Early in development, Miyamoto also encouraged the developers to keep the story to a minimum and only use pre-established Mario characters. The decision to not focus on the storyline was also influenced by Super Paper Mario's Club Nintendo survey, which had less than 1% of the respondents citing its plotline as a strong point . Producer Kensuke Tanabe also asked the team to focus on the "paper" aspect of the visuals.
Cam Shea of IGN gave the game an 8.3, praising the fresh take on the Paper Mario series, the charming design, and the sense of humor, but criticized the sticker system for not working and some frustrating design elements. He wrote, "In spite of all my criticisms, Sticker Star is still compelling to play and a great deal of fun. The game’s infectious spirit and sense of humour is irresistible, and it’s big, too – you’re not beating this one in a weekend. It’s just a shame that putting stickers at the heart of the game didn’t turn out to be the master-stroke it so readily could have been. Paper Mario fans will enjoy Sticker Star, but ultimately it’s just as notable for its failures as its successes." Edge Magazine UK gave the game an 8, praising Intelligent Systems's effort to shape its RPG for portable play. Destructoid gave the game an 8/10 praised the game for the impressive effort but warned that the game will disappoint previous Paper Mario fans. Mike Wehner of The Escapist gave the game 4.5 stars out of 5, praising the game for its artistic style and its perfect gameplay while criticizing the frustrating puzzles. He wrote as the bottom line, "There's just no getting around it: Paper Mario: Sticker Star is yet another high-quality entry into Nintendo's cherished library of first party titles. The experience is high on satisfaction and low on frustration, making it an undeniably perfect fit for the company's mobile console. It's not entirely flawless, but as Mario games go, it's one of the best."
JC Fletcher of Joystick gave the game 3.5 out of 5 stars. He praised the easygoing funny nature of the game but criticized the frustrating game design, saying that the existence of FAQs will improve the game and sacrificing turn-based battles with awkward platforming. Carolyn Petit of Gamespot gave the game a 7.5 out of 10. She praised the smart and witty writing, the good puzzles, and the overall charm of the game, but criticized the frustration of getting stuck and the seemingly pointless combat system. She ended with, "Sticker Star falls into a rut at times and may even drive you crazy, but in the end, Paper Mario's unwaveringly cheerful attitude, and fond memories of the game's many great moments, will be what stays with you."
However, GameXplain were more critical on the game, giving it a score of two stars out of five. They criticised the story as "one of the biggest and most unfortunate changes" and the puzzles, by saying that "the things you need [to solve them] could be found anywhere" and "the game provides no clues on where to find them". They also said that the battle system is "fresh and fun at first" but then started criticising it, saying that there is "no sense of accomplishment after winning a battle", and ultimately referring to the combat as a "chore". However, they did praise the game for "trying some new things" and for its "flashes of typical Paper Mario brilliance".
References to other games
References in later games
In Yoshi Sphinx, if the player hits a Koopa Paratroopa and a wall at the same time after the fight with the Koopa Paratroopa with wall will push Mario through the floor and give the player a game over.
Originally, Bowser's Sky Castle was meant to have minigames, but due to development time restraints it was cut. Pre-release screenshots also showed a Chain Chomp partner as well as a Monty Mole boss, though both were removed from the final game.
The game was directed by Naohiko Aoyama and produced by Kensuke Tanabe and Toshiyuki Nakamura, with Satoru Iwata serving as the executive producer.
Names in other languages