Paper Mario: Sticker Star Hands-On: I’m Glad I Didn’t Run Out Of Stickers

By Spencer . October 18, 2012 . 7:15pm


A trio of goombas ran up and attacked Mario when I started playing Paper Mario: Sticker Star. Instead of selecting fight or magic, Mario selects stickers on the touch screen to do different attacks. Pick a shoe sticker to make Mario stomp on a goomba or select a hammer to make Mario clonk a goomba on the head.


Paper Mario: Sticker Star has action commands that alter attacks if you hit the A button at the right time. For example, the hammer attack usually strikes one enemy, but if you press A while Mario winds up you cause a shockwave that damages enemies behind too. Mario can also reduce damage if you press A before an enemy strikes.


3DS_PaperSticker_Screens_04 3DS_PaperSticker_Screens_06


I’m the kind of player that likes to experiment during a hands-on session so I frivolously used stickers to see if there are any different effects. Ah, so mushrooms still refill HP and iron hammers deal more damage. Got it. After you use a sticker it’s gone and a Nintendo rep explained Mario cannot attack if you run out of stickers. I had a two page sticker book, which gave Mario, at most, 30 battle commands.


Fortunately, levels have stickers scattered in them for Mario to find. You can peel them off things and find stickers in ? mark blocks. The most powerful sticker I came across was a scissor sticker I found by walking up a royal Toadstool staircase. This sticker took four spaces instead of the usual one so I rearranged my inventory using the touch screen. Remember Resident Evil 4 or Diablo’s inventory systems? Paper Mario: Sticker Star is like that.


3DS_PaperSticker_Screens_02 3DS_PaperSticker_Screens_03


I saved it for Bowser Jr. who showed up flying around in a Koopa Clown Car. The pair of scissors works kind of like a summon since it makes a 3D object appear in a 2D world (Flatland anyone?). The scissors cut through the screen and defeated Bowser Jr. in one hit.


3DS_PaperSticker_Screens_13 3DS_PaperSticker_Screens_12


Another interesting tidbit about Paper Mario: Sticker Star is the game doesn’t award experience points. Mario gets more powerful when you collect more sticker pages and HP-up hearts by completing side quests or beating bosses.


Paper Mario: Sticker Star comes out on November 11 in North America.

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  • I really don’t know if I should buy it through the eshop or in a shop… The boxart is beatiful but it’s cheaper on the eshop;

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      All depend on you there.^_^ If you wanted cheaper and easier to carry media, take that one. However if you wanted to be able to hold the game and of course ability to resale them.(Which i never do lol.^_^)

      You must bear the price for being more a bit there.^_^

      • Michael Synodis

        Cheaper on the E-shop? I thought it was 40 bucks either way. Of course the digital way has no resale value and bows to the immoral license agreement Nintendo forces upon you (including the right to remotely brick your system along with any content you purchased).

        • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

          It can be cheaper there if the buyers is not from U.S lol. As some gamer like me is staying in Asia means that the game will be considerable more expensive compared to Eshop prices. For example, Zelda game in my place is 50+ Sing dollar. After counting the currency rate with 40 U.S dollar there, the E-Shop version is cheaper there by 8-9 dollar.

          “bows to the immoral license agreement Nintendo forces upon you” This will only happen if you do illegal think like hacking your 3DS there. 360 also had this agreements especially on the online section. So there are nothing immoral there as you are also doing illegal things there.

          • That’s exactly what I’ll do! Buying the game through US Eshop is cheaper than buying it on my country!

      • You see… my mom will give me that game for christmas, so I should choose the cheapest option for her sake (I’m brazilian and the games here are way more expensive…). Ahh, and I don’t plan resaling it XD

        • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

          Hope you will enjoy the game there^_^ And of course, it will always be a good idea to help your family there.

          When you yourself are able to obtain money then you can spam that money as much as possible.^_^

          • Well, I am already able to obtain my own money XD I buy all my games, but this one was a gift =]

            I’m loving the game! (wasted 3 pages of stickers with a boss –‘)

  • Even though I love all the earlier Paper Mario RPGs, this one still worries me. Although its great they are trying new things, I still really don’t like the idea of having to collect stickers to fight, being defenseless without them, and lack of experience based leveling.

    I’m extremely bad for hoarding items in games, and having a system that relies completely on them would probably drive me insane, not to mention the thought of constantly stopping to peel stickers off the wall sounds like it would get tedious very quickly.

    • Watahashi

      Same here. From what we’ve seen so far, it seems almost like New Super Paper Mario, which has me more than a little apprehensive. Thematically, the environments seems very similar to that of the NSMB games, along with the map (which I assume is meant to sort of compartmentalize the experience, being a portable title).

      The streamlined combat also has me worried. A single character in a turn-based RPG seems lacking. There’s less overall strategy involved, since you can only take a single action per turn, using one everyman character. Story-wise, that also means less party interaction, compared to the previous Paper Mario game. Unless Nintendo has been keeping some major game mechanics under wraps, this may be the first Paper Mario I pass on.

      •  I love how you think having stripes on the hills = NSMB. Did you even play those games?

        “A single character in a turn-based RPG seems lacking.”

        How many RPGs did you play?

        ” From what we’ve seen so far, it seems almost like New Super Paper Mario”

        Except that this goddamn game plays nothing like Super Paper Mario. Oh wait, no partners, therefore, Super Paper Mario! A derp!

        • Watahashi

          I meant environment-wise, it seems to play it safe like the NSMB games. The locations in TTYD were so unique and interesting, like Twilight Town or the Glitz Pit. We haven’t seen anything like that here.

          I’ve played a great many RPGs, and one of the most common mechanics is a party system. I’d honestly be hard pressed to name one that doesn’t have parties.

          And by New Super Paper Mario, I was equating it with the NSMB games, not SPM, which did actually have party mechanics. A derp.

          • SantiagodelosSantos

            Did spm have a party system? I don’t think so. Unless you count the spirit things which is more like items than actual partners. From what we have seen it looks more like thousand year door than super paper mario.

          • Watahashi

            You could use Mario, Luigi, Bowser, and Peach at any time, along with the spirits. From an action game perspective, that’s essentially like a party.


    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      Hmm, while i kinda agree with you there but I kinda like this new gameplay as well.

      Not having experience means in a way we will be able to avoid tedious grinding time there.

      And this time by using stickers and limiting our amount of attack times will actually makes us need to micro manage more rather than just charge to the dungeon and kill all the enemies.

      Considering, the gameplay there mention having 2 books for 30 times of attack in the beginning, i can see that they will also increase into like 5 books further in the game? With that large amount off attack, i don’t think there will be any problem.^_^

      About hoarding, i believe they will also sell shops for some of the stickers there. Just like mushroom is potion, the shops will also sells mushroom and maybe many attack stickers there.^_^

    • “being defenseless without them”

      Despite the fact that they give you one free sticker if you run out.

      And yes, peeling off a Megashine Hammer sticker is much more annoying than repeatingly fighting the same enemies over and over to get through the game!

      • XiaomuArisu

         Paper Mario was never Final Fantasy.
        There was no hour-long level grinding.If yu didnt avoided every battle yu were good for the boss.
        And about that free sticker…which one?Is it random?Is it always the same?If I would fight a spike enemy and got a jump sticker,I would be screwed.
        The other problem is NO PARTNERS!

    • PersonaSpace

      I’m mostly worried because this seems like another step away from the original Paper Mario formula. I feel Thousand Year Door was Paper Mario at it’s best, and it’s unnerving to see Nintendo get so far away from that formula.

      • Arrei

        On the one hand it’s moving away from the formula.

        Yet on the other hand, when Nintendo tries to stick with the formula, what do they get? People raging up a storm about how the New Super Mario Bros. series is the same thing with some adjustments each time.

  • Reluctant_Hero

    Hello, I’m having an issue with Siliconera’s mobile/ipad site. I keep getting defaulted to with Safari for iPad. The button at the bottom of the page to turn off the mobile site does not work and neither do the “home”, “blog, “menu” and search buttons. I’ve cleared cookies and I’m still defaulted to the mobile. Often times the mobile site does not display content correctly and and text is cut off the left side of the screen. This is why I’m trying to stop using the mobile version of the site.I really enjoy Siliconera, but I won’t be able to visit your site in the future if the mobile version is not fixed.

    • Masengan

      On my iPhone it never ‘loads more entries’ doesn’t matter if its on Safari or Chrome. I’m running iOS 6 on the iPhone 5 just in case.

  • I’m. . . not liking the sound of this. . .

    Just seems really gimmicky. I mean, Mario can’t jump on his own. Think about that. . . Jump Man cannot Jump.

    Joking aside; people may make the argument that they tried to simplify the Paper Mario mechanics for handhelds. . . when in most cases, handhelds can, and have been host to a slew of deep and interesting RPGs. Hell, even Fire Emblem managed to stay mostly true to it’s core mechanics.

    Really, it just seems like they are still in love with the Super Paper Mario route. Simplify it and “add” new mechanics that change the experience! . . When in reality 3D motion happened all the time in Paper Mario and TTYD, and Jumping didn’t ever need to be a finite resource (what is this, FFVIII?)

  • Ethan_Twain

    At first I didn’t like the sound of losing the experience system, but upon reflection I reckon it’ll pan out to be the same sort of experience.  Gaining levels in old Paper Mario gave you either more HP, more FP (which lets you bust out more special moves), or more BP for miscellaneous stat boosts and choosing your special moves.  You gain XP by going through the regular levels, you get big boosts for beating bosses, and sidequests reward you with XP and special badges (new moves).

    So what have we got here?  Getting new sticker pages is like getting more FP.  It lets you deepen your offensive arsenal and use more special attacks.  Getting HP boosts is the same as always.  Though the badge concept seems to be gone as far as badges giving passive stat boosts, the BP management for choosing which attacks you’re gonna have lives on in the sticker page limited inventory.  Increasing BP and HP happens at pre-defined intervals now (whenever you beat a boss or finish the right side quest) but the actions you’re going through to get those rewards are the same.

    So you’re doing the same things, and you’re managing similar variables.  The main difference is how everything is dependent on not running out of stickers.  That’s a new dynamic, a new resource to manage.  Depending on the choices the player has to make this could make the game much more strategic than past installments, or much easier.

  • Crevox

    So this is truly an RPG or what?

    • Ethan_Twain

      That’s a silly question.  What defines an RPG?  If you need experience points, then no.  All your level ups come in the form of items you find that enhance your combat potential.  But Monster Hunter fits that description too doesn’t it?  Do you need turn based combat?  This game has that, following the ancient JRPG tradition.  Do you need to have player initiative?  This game doesn’t really have that, but neither do other games within the JRPG genre.  Following a linear sequence of events hardly disqualifies a game from the RPG genre.

      I mean, I don’t even know what you want here.

      • Crevox

        Oooookay, NOT the answer I was looking for…

        Is this game like Paper Mario 64 and/or Thousand Year Door?

        • SantiagodelosSantos

          Yes, it’s more like thousand year door than the wii one

  • Hau To

    Actually, Nintendo rep is quite mistaken there. From the video I saw that is private now, you will get one sticker every turn if you’re out of stickers. Now, I’m unsure if they will give you one as well coming into battle with no stickers, but you do get one every turn.

    • Anthony Black

      Oh whew! I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do simple Jump and Hammer commands for free!

  • Masengan

    I’m a freaking hoarder when it comes to items on my RPGs, so I will definitely have a hard time letting go of the powerful rare stickers.

  • KingGunblader

     I know some people are wary of this game… but come on guys it’s PAPER MARIO how can you not be stoked?!

    • Armane

      That’s reason enough to not be stoked. TTYD was for better or worse a retread of PM64, SPM wasn’t even a good game let alone a worthy sequel, and this one seems to be “PM For Dummies”.

      • KingGunblader

        I’ll admit that I’m disappointed at the lack of RPG elements. TTYD is one my favourite games, but I’m still gonna play the crap out of this.

      • Arrei

        TTYD improved on everything the original did, especially in the humor department which was greatly dampened by the translation of the original, and Super Paper Mario was a perfectly good platformer in its own right, infused with Paper Mario charm and mechanics.

        I find it odd you would find fault with TTYD doing things similar to the original, and then go on to criticize Super and Sticker Star for doing things differently in the same sentence.

        • Armane

          Games evolve, when they do not they grow stale. Compare SMB1 to SMB2 (aka Lost Levels). What did SMB2 add? Some better graphics, poison mushrooms, and probably a few things I’m forgetting. See how little changed? That’s what PM64 -> TTYD is like, the only thing that was added was the audience.

          PM was known for it’s battle system, that’s what everyone liked (alongside the humour). So SPM completely discards that, and in my opinion makes for a substandard platformer in a franchise known for it’s platformers. That is not merely doing things differently.
          So I don’t really see why I can’t criticize both. As for SS, obviously it’s not out, I’m just sceptical after being disappointed by SPM and, to a lesser extent, TTYD.

          • Arrei

            That’s what I’m talking about. In comparing TTYD to SMB2, you’ve already ignored the new locales and improved writing, like with the Bowser mini-levels, the tournament-style chapter, the train mystery chapter, and the Pit of 100 Trials, and completely discarded the tweaks made to the combat like having more action commands than the original and superguards.  

            EDIT: AND the paper transformation curses! A huge change to how the overworld is dealt with, and a huge contributor to the growing “paper” theme, and TTYD was just a “retread”?

            You claim the original -> TTYD didn’t change enough, when the only thing they could change and really make a noticeable impact based on those standards is the battle system. Then you say the battle system was what everyone liked about Paper Mario in the first place. So Super comes along and spins off into a platformer game, and you hate that for taking away the combat. Now Sticker Star comes along, with the familiar combat AND radical changes to the formula, and you’re STILL wary.

            Do you even know what it is that you want? A game that changes a lot, yet retains every arbitrary thing you think shouldn’t change?

  • Göran Isacson

    I can’t say that I’m super-hyped about this sticker system. Maybe it’s just the unfamiliarity of having to essentially farm for expendable… EVERYTHINGS, from items to attack commands, but I’m just not seeing how this will be a fun system to play with in the long run.  Game itself might have a fun story, but that game system… I am skeptic.

    • Ferofax

      It’s a better reason than farming coins. Unless, of course, there’s a shop in-game that sells basic stickers, in which case farming coins would be viable.

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