Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Paper Mario: Sticker Star is an action-adventure, role-playing game developed by Intelligent Systems and released for the Nintendo 3DS as the fourth installment in the Paper Mario series, as well as the first installment released for a handheld console. It succeeded Super Paper Mario from 2007, and was itself succeeded by Paper Mario: Color Splash and Paper Mario: The Origami King in 2016 and 2020 respectively. This game follows Mario on his adventure to defeat Bowser and rescue Princess Peach after Bowser accidentally breaks the Sticker Comet and comes under the influence of the strongest Royal Sticker. Along the way, Mario and his partner Kersti must collect the Comet Pieces, fragments of the Sticker Comet, and all six Royal Stickers spread across six worlds.
The game returns to the general gameplay style of the first two Paper Mario games. Mario traverses through an overworld and battles enemies through turn-based combat. However, the game is segmented into levels and worlds rather than chapters and the game completely overhauls the battle system. Flower Points, Star Points, badges, permanent upgrades to Mario's boots and hammer, and party member abilities are removed in favor for single-use items in the form of stickers.
The visual presentation places a greater emphasis on the "paper" aspect than the previous games. 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 and appear similar to dioramas. Game mechanics like status effects complement the paper aesthetic. Along with the change in the art style, returning elements such as Goombas and Hammer Brothers have their designs changed to better resemble contemporary depictions. The game also scales back unique locations, instead using the general themes of locations seen in previous Mario games. The diversity of friendly characters and enemies has also been reduced, with most characters being standard Toads. A few enemies from Super Mario Bros. 2 appear, such as Shy Guys, Ninjis, and, making their Paper Mario series debut, Snifits. These changes to the gameplay, appearance, and characters would be the template for subsequent installments in the series.
The story begins on the night of the Sticker Fest, where the citizens of Decalburg have gathered to witness the Sticker Comet, which is said to make everyone's wishes come true. While Princess Peach, Mario and the Toads celebrate the event, Bowser and his minions show up suddenly, planning to steal the Sticker Comet. Bowser touches the comet, causing it to break into six Royal Stickers, which are scattered throughout Decalburg and other worlds. One of them falls on Bowser's head, making him much more powerful. Mario tries to stop him, but is overpowered, and later wakes up to discover that the Sticker Fest is in ruins, and the princess is missing as well as several Toads. Shortly after, Mario meets Kersti, who accuses Mario of touching the Sticker Comet. Mario explains that it was Bowser who touched the comet and agrees to help her find the Royal Stickers. Kersti introduces herself as caretaker of the Royal Stickers, and becomes Mario's companion for his adventure.
Mario starts by finding and freeing the Toads hidden or taped down by Bowser, getting both a hammer and album in the process. After rescuing the Toads, Mario heads toward the plaza and discovers the area rolled up. The Toads push hard enough to unroll the town and return it to normal. As Mario leaves the town, he gets ambushed by a trio of Goombas. Kersti uses the opportunity to explain how to use stickers in battle, and Mario defeats the Goombas, allowing him to exit the plaza and explore nearby worlds.
Mario starts his travels in World 1, a land filled with grasslands and mountains. In W 1-1, Warm Fuzzy Plains, Mario and Kersti meet a group of Toads hunting for stickers, one of whom who runs into them and drops a special Scissors sticker. Bowser Jr. appears and demands they give him the sticker, but is defeated. Infuriated, he crumples up the bridge and throws the scrap up onto a high ledge Mario cannot reach. Mario and Kersti get help from the group of Toads, who form stairs for them, allowing them to reach the ledge. Kersti then teaches Mario how to paperize, allowing them to fix the bridge and progress. Before they can reach their first Comet Piece, they battle the trio of Goombas previously fought in Decalburg. After they are defeated a second time, they collect the Comet Piece.
In W 1-3, Water's Edge Way, the Toad from before runs into Mario a second time, having been chased again. He gives Mario an album page and flees, letting him deal with Kamek. After Kamek is defeated, he attempts to slow them down by using paperization to pull the Comet Piece out of place, then tossing it away. Mario and Kersti then search for the Comet Piece, then use their paperization skills to put the comet piece back in place, allowing them to collect it and complete the level.
Later on, in W 1-4, Hither Thither Hill, Mario leads a Green Toad back to Decalburg, who in return gives him a hint for the combination of four number blocks inside the windmill. This leads him underground, where he battles a Big Buzzy Beetle to get one of his first HP-Up Hearts. In W 1-5, Whammino Mountain, Mario can scale a mountain infested with Spinys where a Blue Toad must be rescued.
Finally, Mario and Kersti arrive at W 1-6, Goomba Fortress, where the first Royal Sticker is held. Mario travels through the fortress, dealing with puzzles and Bob-omb attacks along the way. Finally, he and Kersti reach the top of the fortress, where they confront a Goomba corrupted by the Royal Sticker and his minions, who battle them as Megasparkle Goomba. Near the end of the battle, the Megasparkle Goomba splits up and the other Goombas abandon their leader, claiming that the Royal Sticker is destroying who they are. The angered Goomba attempts to battle on his own, but Mario is able to defeat him and collect the first Royal Sticker.
Mario and Kersti then use stickers to unlock a doorway leading to World 2, which has a desert theme. They first travel through W 2-1, Drybake Desert, where they scale a large pyramid and find a hidden treasure chest containing a mysterious tablet piece. Next, they explore the outside and inside of the Yoshi Sphinx, where they battle Kamek a second time. After he is defeated, he flees, allowing Mario to collect the second tablet piece.
Afterward, Mario and Kersti traverse through W 2-3, Sandshifter Ruins, an underground labyrinth with two Comet Pieces. A secret ending takes them to W 2-4, Damp Oasis, which is being destroyed due to a sandstorm. After stopping the sandstorm and filling up the oasis with water, they find their third and final tablet piece.
They use the recovered tablet pieces at W 2-5 to uncover Drybake Stadium, which Kamek had used his magic to fold up. After solving many puzzles and traveling to the top floor, Mario faces Tower Power Pokey, the guardian of the second Royal Sticker. By defeating him, Mario and Kersti recover the second Royal Sticker.
The next world is World 3, which is forest-themed. At the entrance of Leaflitter Path is a sleeping Wiggler, who gets awakened by Mario. He tells Mario that he was looking for food, due to the entire forest being polluted by poison. Mario and Kersti decide to help Wiggler and agree to follow him to his house. However, after venturing deeper in the forest, Wiggler is snatched by Poison Bloopers.
After going through a maze known as The Bafflewood in W 3-2, Mario and Kersti arrive at W 3-3, Wiggler's Tree House, where they discover that Wiggler has been broken into five segments by Kamek's magic, four of which run away to different parts of the forest. Mario and Kersti agree to find the segments and bring them back to Wiggler.
Mario and Kersti travel throughout the entire forest, where each Wiggler Segment are found, battled, and brought back to Wiggler. Various events happen along the way, such as Mario losing his entire inventory (including his Hammer and Kersti) in W 3-7, Rustle Burrow, and retrieving a Wiggler segment from a game show known as Snifit or Whiffit in W 3-10, Stump Glade.
In W 3-12, Whitecap Beach, the poison is discovered to be coming from a nearby island. Here, the last Wiggler Segment, after freeing it from Poison Bloopers, is enraged by this and runs to Surfshine Harbor to get a boat and reach the island. The Toad that owns the boat refuses because a fishing boat was recently lost at the island. After this, the Wiggler Segment decides to finally return home.
After Mario and Kersti reassemble Wiggler using their paperization ability, he decides that he has had enough and helps them by taking them to the island where the poison comes from. There, it is shown that Gooper Blooper, corrupted by the third Royal Sticker, is the cause of the poison in the forest. After defeating the Blooper, the poison disappears from the ocean and the forest, allowing Mario to obtain the third Royal Sticker. Afterward, the forest returns to its regular state, and Wiggler is able to eat leaves from the forest as a result.
To reach the other worlds, Mario and Kersti require the boat from Surfshine Harbor. However, they first help the sailor Toad by cutting a rope attaching the boat to the dock, finding the ship's wheel in a dark storage room, and battling a Big Cheep Cheep. After it is defeated, the Toad retires from sailing, enabling Mario to use the boat as he wishes and cross the Decal Channel.
World 4 has a snow theme. As Mario and Kersti travel through it, they come across The Enigmansion, where its steward sits outside due to the mansion being haunted by Boos which have been freed from the Book of Sealing. He gives Mario the task of finding all 100 of them, sealing them back in the book, and placing it on the pedestal in the basement. After the task is completed, Kamek reveals himself, claiming that he released the Boos by accident when he was looking for a novel about stickers. He tears out the pages of the book, and crumples them together to form a Big Boo, and leaves, leaving Mario to fight him. After the Big Boo is defeated and sealed again in the book, the steward thanks Mario by inviting him to enjoy tea, as well as letting Mario have the Forebear's Portrait, a portrait of the Enigmansion's previous steward.
Mario and Kersti then head to W 4-5, Whiteout Valley, where they use the portrait to fill a hole. The forebear thanks Mario by starting up the ski lift, which Mario rides to reach W 4-5, Bowser's Snow Fort, a minecart roller coaster which Mario rides to reach the Bowser Snow Statue, which he battles to collect the fourth Royal Sticker. After breaking it down, it is revealed to be Mizzter Blizzard, a snowman who reveals that he only wanted a body that would not melt, and although the Royal Sticker gave him that, it also corrupted his mind. When Mizzter Blizzard is defeated and the fourth Royal Sticker can be obtained, his final request is for Mario to rebuild him next winter, so they can meet on more peaceful terms.
If the player returns to the Enigmansion, the forebear has returned, and the former steward is now a servant. Leaving the world also causes Bowser Jr. to intercept and fight Mario. By defeating him again, Bowser Jr. retreats once more, this time to his father's castle.
At World 5, which has a jungle theme, Mario and Kersti travel through a forested area where they restore a bridges whose pieces are taken by Spear Guys, ride a raft while avoiding dangerous obstacles, and get chased by a massive Cheep Chomp. This is followed by W 5-4, Chomp Ruins, where Mario battles a massive Chain Chomp after waking him up. Afterward, Mario and Kersti start their trek to the volcano itself, starting with W 5-5, Rugged Road.
At W 5-6, Rumble Volcano, Mario and Kersti fall into a pit, trapping them inside the volcano. Petey Piranha who is in possession of the fifth Royal Sticker, eats Kersti, rendering Mario unable to get advice or paperize. Mario uses Chain Chomps to balance out a platform, taking him to the level with Petey Piranha, where they begin to battle. During the battle, Kersti is spat up, and helps Mario for the rest of the battle by enabling him to use the Battle Spinner again. After his defeat, Petey Piranha disappears, leaving behind the fifth Royal Sticker.
As they arrive at Gate Cliff at World 6, the five Royal Stickers begin to react. As Mario places them on the wall, he paperizes and flips it, revealing Bowser's castle, which flies to the sky, out of Mario's reach. Upon hearing mention of a creature flying over the forest and by heading to Wiggler's house, they find out Wiggler has matured into Flutter. Wanting to repay Mario and Kersti for restoring the forest to its current condition, Wiggler flies the pair up to W 6-2, 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 faces and defeats Kamek for the last time. With him out of the way, Mario continues on to Bowser at the final area of the castle, where Princess Peach is taped to a chain. During the final showdown, which is separated into five stages, Bowser performs events intending to slow Mario down, including summoning allies to fight alongside him, summoning a Whomp, and summoning a small Chain Chomp, retreating each time.
After the Chain Chomp is deflected back at Bowser, he falls down into a pit with the last Royal Sticker, and emerges seconds later as a much larger, stronger version of himself. With any attack dealing little damage to him, Kersti comes to the realization that something must be done. She sacrifices herself by turning into a sticker, which Mario uses to significantly boost his attacks. Before she disappears, Kersti apologizes for all the hassle she caused to him and says goodbye. With his increased power, Mario defeats Bowser, releasing him from the Royal Sticker's control. Mario then frees Peach and uses the Royal Stickers to wish for everything to return to normal. After Peach congratulates Mario and the rest of the kingdom for their success, Bowser attempts to steal the Sticker Comet once again, only for the revived Kersti to intervene. She jokes that she wants to change her career, and Mario, Peach, and Bowser laugh, ending the game.
Like Super Paper Mario, worlds are segmented into levels. However, navigation between levels is done so using a world map and levels have three-dimensional depth by default. They are completed by collecting a Comet Piece. By defeating enemies, additional bonus coins drop during the goal sequence. Some levels feature more than one Comet Piece. Collecting the alternative Comet Piece opens up a different path on the world map.
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 which must be converted into stickers using a Sling-a-Thing location. Doing so allows them to be used in puzzles or battles. Instead of leveling up from experience points as in the previous installments, Mario must find HP-Up Hearts in levels, which each increase his current HP by 5 and increase attack power from First Strikes by one for every two HP-Up Hearts collected. Stickers replace Badges from the first two installments of the series.
In levels, Mario can use his hammer to interact with the environment and uncover collectables like coins and hearts. Mario's partner Kersti grants him the ability to paperize. While using this ability, Mario can paste stickers or scraps onto the environment. This allows him to solve puzzles and uncover secrets. Kersti can also give Mario her thoughts and hints by pressing .
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, instead of the typical battle commands, stickers are used in their place. Stickers are consumed when selected for a command. If the battle ends before a sticker gets used, it still disappears from Mario's album. Kersti supplies Mario with stickers if he runs out of them in the album. Another new feature is the "Battle Spinner" slot machine. To activate it, the player must spend three coins. By matching symbols, the Battle Spinner can allow Mario to attack with multiple stickers in one turn, gain coins, or cause a different event to occur, depending on the combination received.
When Mario battles an enemy, the screen flashes a certain color and the word "Fight" appears when the battle starts. It is a blue screen when Mario touches an enemy outside battle. If Mario hammers or jumps on an enemy, word "Nice" appears with the blue screen along with a small fanfare jingle. This allows Mario to strike all of the enemies in a battle before it properly begins. However, if Mario jumps on a spiky enemy such as a Spiny or a Piranha Plant or if Mario gets hit by the First Strike outside battle, the screen turns red and orange while a negative jingle plays. This causes an enemy to hurt Mario before the battle begins.
Enemies that assist other enemies before entering the battle do a unique animation:
In order to win the battle, Mario must reduce the enemy's HP to zero. His available options come from the stickers inside his album. If the player has the ability to use multiple stickers during a turn, they can begin their turn without filling in the additional slots by pressing . If Mario's HP is reduced to zero, the battle is lost and the player gets a Game Over. Mario's HP and the enemies' collective HP are on the left and right sides of the screen respectively.
Only the first enemy can be directly targeted in battle. As such, Mario's jump and hammer attacks have been altered from the first two Paper Mario games. Mario can stomp on an enemy more than twice using typical jump attacks and hammer attacks have a shockwave that damages adjacent enemies. In the case for Fire Flowers and Ice Flowers, Mario throws a projectile for each enemy in the battle. If Mario uses more than one sticker in a turn and there are multiple enemies present, the next enemy in line becomes the target. By attacking an enemy while their HP is already zero, Mario earns a coin for each additional hit. In addition, defeating all of the enemies on the first turn of the battle without taking any damage causes "Perfect Bonus" to appear on the screen, which earns Mario bonus coins.
Most Action Commands do not have on-screen prompts. Instead, most commands are executed by timing Mario's actions with presses or alternatively taps of the touch screen. Hammer attacks still have a visual indicator. A sparkle appears near Mario which gets bigger the closer Mario gets to performing an "Excellent". When it is the enemies' turn, Mario can either block or use a sticker's ability by pressing . Blocking allows Mario to decrease an enemy's attack by half to a minimum of one attack point. If an enemy's attack can inflict a status effect, blocking the attack also nullifies the effect. Successfully blocking an attack can also cause a sticker to drop from above and go into the album if Mario is low on stickers. If Mario is using a sticker such as the Frog Suit or Spike Helmet, he can avoid or counterattack enemies.
The player can increase their chances of successfully running away from battle by rapidly pressing . Mario is guaranteed to run away if the battlefield darkens significantly. Once Mario returns to the overworld after running from a battle, the enemy Mario encountered disappears. If the player attempts to run away from too many battles in a row, the chance of running away successfully decreases, even with button presses.
In line with the increased emphasis on the paper aspect of the game's aesthetic, some of the status effects directly relate to paper materials.
Stickers are the primary items in Paper Mario: Sticker Star. They serve as the only method of attack within battles, 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 have wings, Spear Guys when holding their spear horizontally, or have some type of flying device, such as Kamek's broom.
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 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.
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 the Thumbtack and the Squirt Gun. In addition, using one in battle allows Mario to always run away from the fight.
There are two special stickers that appear exclusively in battle. Kamek turns all of Mario's stickers into sandal stickers during the Kamek battles in World 2-2 and 6-3. Sandal stickers are similar to Eekhammers as they strike multiple times in a hammer-like fashion. Sandal stickers also retain their power status, i.e. a Shiny Jump sticker turns into a Shiny Sandal and a Megaflash Slaphammer turns into a Megaflash Sandal.
The second sticker of this kind is Kersti, who enters Mario's sticker book during the final phase of Bowser's battle. She activates the Battle Spinner and automatically gives Mario five slots for stickers per turn. Even though Kersti disappears 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 defeat Bowser without using the Kersti sticker, he is able to toss Kersti away. However, this action does not alter the storyline.
Sometimes, stickers have special traits applied to them, such as "Shiny", "Flashy", and "Big". These stickers usually sparkle in Mario's album and do more damage 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 (1x1), medium (1.5x1.5), and large (2x2).
Throughout the world are real-life objects called Things which Mario can collect. He can bring them to a Sling-a-Thing location and convert them into a usable sticker. Things are required to make progress or to make a boss fight significantly easier. Most Things share its ability with two other Things, each with a different level of strength and size in the album. These Things are interchangeable in puzzles which require a certain ability. Mario can only care one of each Thing in his inventory, either in its normal form or as a sticker.
Scraps are key items that function similarly to stickers. They are usually needed to progress through levels. Unlike stickers, scraps come from the environment directly and leave a purple void when they are peeled away using the paperization ability. Scraps that need to be peeled off the environment first are usually orientated incorrectly. Some scraps must be found in levels before they can be put back into position. While the space a scrap fills in is still empty, Mario cannot interact with that space.
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.
These are the bosses, sorted in order. Highlighted rows signify world bosses and italic names signify optional bosses.
These enemies appear only during Bowser's boss fight and assist him during different phases.
Alongside regular enemies, there are enemies who act as obstacles. They cannot be directly battled, but can usually be defeated with the hammer or a stomp.
Unlike previous installments, the game's locations function much like 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: Legend of the Seven Stars, though it is more open-ended and not linear. Players are not required to finish the levels and worlds in numerical order. 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 Pieces.
(*) = Level with an alternate exit.
Throughout the world are shops run by blue Toads that sell stickers. Some shops have exclusive stickers that cannot be found elsewhere like the Secret Door at Outlook Point. Unlike previous games, stickers have the same buying and selling prices at all of the shops. As Mario collects the Royal Stickers, new and stronger stickers become stocked at previously visited shops.
At Sling-a-Thing, Mario can convert Things into stickers for free. It first becomes available after obtaining the Cat-o-Luck at Bouquet Gardens. In order to convert a Thing, he must have space in the album. There are two Sling-a-Thing locations. One is found to the left of Decalburg's plaza and the other is at Outlook Point behind the shop.
Located to the left of the Sling-a-Thing in Decalburg is a Toad who sells Mario Things he has already collected but does not currently have in his inventory.
Within the blue-roofed house on the east side of Decalburg is a newspaper which Mario can read. It details Luigi's hiding spots throughout the world. After the player finds him, the newspaper updates.
If Mario frees the Sticker Museum curator from under the Decalburg fountain, he is allowed to enter the Sticker Museum. Initially, it is empty, but Mario can fill it with both regular stickers and Thing stickers. If Mario has a sticker in his album which is not in the museum, a door lights up that indicates its location. Once a sticker is placed into the museum, additional information about the sticker is added. By placing all of the regular stickers in the museum, the enemy gallery is unlocked. Doing so with the Thing stickers unlocks the music gallery.
Within five levels, the player can spot Luigi in the background. By paperizing, the player can pull Luigi out, causing him to look around and jump offscreen. Finding him all fives times make him lead the parade during the credits. He is found in the following levels:
There are a total of eight achievements that the player can earn in this game, all of which can be achieved at any time by completing the corresponding task. After completing Goomba Fortress and getting the first Royal Sticker, eight Super Flags are placed in the Sticker Fest area of Decalburg. These can be examined to view the player's progress in unlocking the achievements. A completed achievement displays its corresponding flag, and any completed Super Flags appear unrolled in the game's credits.
In Wiggler's Tree House, there is a diary on the third floor. Initially, the diary is completely blank. Once Kamek separates Wiggler into segments, Mario can bring the Wiggler Segments to certain locations to create entries in the diary. There are five entries in total, with four of them being optional. After Wiggler is reassembled, any remaining blank pages cannot be filled in.
Nintendo eShop description
Similarities to other Paper Mario games
Differences from other Paper Mario games
The game was developed by Intelligent Systems, Nintendo SPD Group No.3, and Vanpool, Inc. This game is the first time Vanpool worked on a Paper Mario game and the second Mario role-playing game the company developed following its work on Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga's minigames. It was directed by Naohiko Aoyama and produced by Kensuke Tanabe and Toshiyuki Nakamura. Taro Kudo of Vanpool, Inc. was in charge of the direction and script. His first involvement on a Mario game was Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars as a staff member of Square. Shingo Igata served as the lead map designer and Shiho Iwabuchi designed the user interface. Satoru Iwata served as executive producer.
In a 2007 interview with Nintendo Power magazine, when asked about the future of the Paper Mario series, Super Paper Mario director Ryota Kawade stated that he was uncertain whether the next game would follow Super Paper Mario's gameplay style, return to the style of the previous games, or be based around a new concept. However, he also stated that the team "always feel that we want a challenge and to take on new things." Producer Kensuke Tanabe also stated, "I don't think we'll ever go back to the exact same game style as before," and that, "I also would like to look for another new and different style."
Paper Mario: Sticker Star started development at the end of 2009. The development team thought Paper Mario was a good fit for the Nintendo 3DS and initially developed it as a RPG making use of the system's stereoscopic 3D display capabilities. After showcasing a build of the game at E3 2010, a demo of this build was previewed by Shigeru Miyamoto, who was reportedly unimpressed, dismissing it as "just a port of the GC version", and requested that the team "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 been 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 results gathered from 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.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star received generally positive reviews from critics, gaining an average of 75.97% based on forty-nine reviews on GameRankings and 75 based on sixty-nine reviews on Metacritic. Compared to previous iterations of the Paper Mario series, its aggregate score is weaker, due to critics mainly complaining about what has been seen as frustrating game design and toned down story, gameplay, and characters. On Metacritic, there is a large discrepancy between the average user score and the critic score, scoring an average of 5.5 on the user score, with many users criticizing the overall new direction of the Paper Mario series.
Cam Shea of IGN gave the game an 8.3, praising what he opined as a fresh take on the Paper Mario series with charming design and a sense of humor, but he criticized the sticker system, as well as some design elements he found frustrating. He wrote, "In spite of all my criticisms, [Paper Mario:] 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 [Paper Mario:] 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 and praised the game for what was opined as an impressive effort, but warned that the game may 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 gameplay, while criticizing puzzles seen as frustrating. 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 an opined easygoing and funny nature of the game, but criticized the game design (seen as frustrating), saying that the existence of FAQs will improve the game, due to sacrificing turn-based battles with what has been opined as awkward platforming. Carolyn Petit of GameSpot gave the game a 7.5 out of 10. She believed the game to have smart and witty writing, good puzzles, and overall charm, but criticized the frustration of getting stuck and the combat system. She ended with, "[Paper Mario:] 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, André Segers of GameXplain was more critical of the game, giving it a score of two stars out of five. He criticized 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". He also said that the battle system is "fresh and fun at first" but then started criticizing it, saying that there is "no sense of accomplishment after winning a battle", and ultimately referring to the combat as a "chore". However, Segers did praise the game for "trying some new things" and for its "flashes of typical Paper Mario brilliance".
David Jenkins of Metro UK held a similar view on the game, giving it a score of 4 out of 10. He criticized the game's selection of characters, labeling Kersti as an "unlikeable nag", and contrasted the game's progression unfavorably with the immersion and character selection of previous Paper Mario games. Other points of criticism included an opined lack of meaningful rewards from battles and the amount of backtracking. While Jenkins praised the game's visuals and fine-tuning for a portable system, he ultimately labeled the game as "a horrible disappointment that not only fails to capture the magic of its predecessors but seems oblivious to what made them popular in the first place", recommending Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story in its place.
Ray Carsillo of EGM gave a mixed review of the game, giving it a score of 6.5 out of 10. He asserted that the game "maintains all the charm and personality of those that came before it" and praised the aesthetics, 3D effects, and alternate routes. However, he criticized the battle system due to a perceived over-reliance on sticker collection, along with the amount of backtracking involved.
The four Famitsu critics gave a very positive reception, giving it 36/40 points, calling it a "well-made RPG" and praised the sticker system as "unique".
At New York Comic Con in 2012, a wall consisting of 493 segments was present. Throughout the event, attendees were given stickers corresponding to a number on the wall. After 43 hours, the mosaic was completed and revealed an advertisement for Paper Mario: Sticker Star. In addition, large stickers of Mario, a Toad stuck to Bowser Tape, Megasparkle Goomba, Bowser Jr., and a sticker that read "I WAS STICKER BOMBED!" were attached to the backs and bags of New York Comic Con attendees. To promote the game's release, a contest was held challenging entrants to create a Paper Mario-themed diorama. It ran from October 29, 2012 through November 7, 2012. In the contest announcement video, production company Iam8bit created a sample diorama. Winners of the contest received a Nintendo 3DS XL, a copy of Paper Mario: Sticker Star, a 100 USD gift card for the Nintendo eShop, a paper-craft trophy created by Iam8bit, and a chance for the winner's diorama to be displayed at Nintendo World. On November 14, 2012, 18 contestant-submitted videos were uploaded to Nintendo's official YouTube channel. From its release for download onto the Nintendo eShop until January 6, 2013, Club Nintendo members in North America who downloaded Paper Mario: Sticker Star and registered it on Club Nintendo also received Donkey Kong: Original Edition for free.
Falling Through the Stage
No Album Sounds
By collecting a sticker and opening the album immediately after, the sound effects for the album cannot be heard, except for the ones that play when a page is flipped and after organizing stickers. This can be ended by returning to normal gameplay.
Pre-release and unused content
Originally, Bowser's Sky Castle was meant to have minigames, but due to development time restraints they were cut. In the E3 2010 demo, Goombas, Koopas, and Pokeys used their designs established in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. It also showed a Chain Chomp partner as well as a Monty Mole boss, though both were removed from the final game.
Within the game are graphics for unused enemies like a spiked variant of the Green Pokey and Ptooie and hurt graphics for Fish Bone and Lakitu who only serve as obstacles in the final game. Several scraps go unused that were supposed to be used in World 1 as they match the world's visual theming. In addition, there are unused rooms which includes early versions of the Sticker Fest celebration grounds, the residential area of Decalburg, the main area of the Sticker Museum, and the warehouse section of Surfshine Harbor. The early versions of the celebration grounds include an additional exit on the left side.
The British English script modifies some of the names of Things and the Sticky Wiki Entries in the Sticker Museum, such as the Paper Fan and Cell Phone, known as the Mobile Phone in British English. In addition, the European release of the game adds descriptions for Things while they are a sticker in the album. In the Japanese, Korean, and Chinese versions of Paper Mario: Sticker Star, the symbols used for the true-or-false challenges in Snifit or Whiffit are different. The "correct answer" block is blue with a circle symbol, rather than green with a check mark.
References to other games
References in later games
Names in other languages