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.
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.
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.
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.