Paper Mario: Sticker Star
|Paper Mario: Sticker Star|
North American packaging artwork.
|Distribution||Download, ROM cartridge|
Paper Mario: Sticker Star, known in Japan as Paper Mario: Super Seal (ペーパーマリオスーパーシール Pēpā Mario Sūpā Shīru?), is a 2012 role-playing video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 3DS console. It is the fourth installment of the Paper Mario series and is the first game in the series playable on a handheld console. The game was released in North America on November 11, 2012 and in December 2012 in Japan, Europe and Australia.
Like previous Paper Mario games, Paper Mario: Sticker Star uses a papercraft visual style that is heavily incorporated into its gameplay mechanics. Sticker Star introduces the use of stickers, which are littered throughout the game world and are used as items or power-ups, aiding the player in turn-based battles against enemies or in solving puzzles. The plot follows Mario's quest to gather the six Royal Stickers that were scattered by Bowser.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star features a visual style similar to its predecessors, in which the characters appear as paper cutouts in a three-dimensional papercraft Mushroom Kingdom, with landscapes ranging from snowy areas and forests to volcanoes. The story focuses on Mario's efforts to retrieve the six Royal Stickers that have been scattered by Bowser at the annual Sticker Fest. Mario is accompanied by Kersti, a sticker fairy, who bestows upon Mario the power of stickers.
The player controls Mario as he explores the various locales of the Mushroom Kingdom. A major facet of Sticker Star's gameplay is the extensive use of collectible stickers, which are used to gain new abilities and progress through the game. The player collects stickers that are found and peeled off from various areas in the environment. The player can also purchase stickers using coins or receive them from non-playable characters. The player has limited inventory space, and larger stickers take up more room. Stickers are used both in combat and for interacting with the environment. The player can enter a state called "Paperization" that allows him to place stickers anywhere on the visible overworld to activate certain events. The player can also find real-world objects, such as baseball bats and scissors, that can be turned into special types of stickers, called "Thing Stickers", which are often needed to solve puzzles in the overworld. For example, a Fan Thing Sticker can be placed in strategic areas in the environment and when activated, creates wind that moves or destroys obstacles.
The turn-based battles in Sticker Star are similar to those in the original Paper Mario and its first sequel, initiated when Mario comes into contact with enemies in the overworld. The player's available attacks are determined by the stickers currently on hand. For example, possession of the Jump sticker is required for Mario to attack an enemy by jumping on it. Thing Stickers are used to inflict more damage on enemies, and certain types of Thing Stickers are required to make it easier to defeat boss characters. However, each sticker is removed from play after one use; it is necessary for the player to consistently collect new stickers. Unlike the previous three games, the player increases his maximum HP and other stats through collection of stickers instead of gaining experience awarded from winning battles. Bonuses or special events that occur during battles can increase Mario's attack power or allow him to use a single sticker multiple times.
Plot and synopsis
Every year, the Sticker Comet lands in the Mushroom Kingdom, and those who wish on it have a good chance of their wish being granted by the Royal Stickers that reside within the comet. Mario attends the Sticker Fest, a festival held in Decalburg to accommodate the Sticker Comet's arrival; and Princess Peach presents the comet on the festival's stage.
As the Toad attendees begin to make their wishes, Bowser crashes the celebration and attempts to make his own wish by touching the comet. This causes to comet to explode, scattering the Six Royal Stickers across the kingdom. One Royal Sticker lands on Bowser's head, corrupting him with its power. Bowser moves to kidnap Peach, but Mario intervenes. Bowser, strengthened by the power of the Royal Sticker, overcomes Mario, and knocks him out.
After regaining consciousness, Mario encounters Kersti the Sticker Fairy, caretaker of the Royal Stickers. Together, the two embark on a journey to recover the Royal Stickers.
Eventually, the duo reach Bowser's Sky Castle, defeating Kamek and Bowser Jr. along the way. They defeat Bowser as well, and free Princess Peach. With the recovered Royal Stickers in his possession, Mario makes a wish. He restores the Sticker Comet, and the Sticker Fest opens anew.
According to an interview with some of the game's developers, the partner system prevalent in previous Paper Mario titles was removed because it was found to often conflict with the sticker-focused gameplay. The world map and level system seen in Sticker Star was implemented so that players could easily stop and resume play at any time.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star was first announced at E3 2010 under the tentative title Paper Mario, demonstrated in trailer form. Few details about the new Paper Mario title were given outside of additional trailers that were released at Nintendo World 2011 and E3 2011. The game and its full title was announced during Nintendo's E3 2012 press conference, alongside New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, with a release window sometime during the 2012 holiday season. A live gameplay demonstration by Nintendo of America localization manager Nate Bihldorff, one of the writers for Sticker Star's English text, was later shown at the Nintendo 3DS Showcase event, which heavily detailed and elaborated on the sticker-focused gameplay. The game was also announced to be distributed both physically as a Nintendo 3DS cartridge or downloadable via Nintendo eShop.
Ben Lee of Digital Spy gave the game 3 out of 5 stars, praising the visuals but commented on the game's difficulty and backtracking. "Writing is sharp and legitimately funny at times [and] has a lot of charm and personality [but] the game stalls horribly as you backtrack and replay level after level, trying to figure out what you're missing. It's often unclear where Mario needs to go to progress, and these moments end up being frustrating and ruin the flow of the story".
The A.I.A.S. chose Paper Mario: Sticker Star as the "Best Handheld Game of the Year" during their 16th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards ceremony.
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