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Game Info:

Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Developed by: Intelligent Systems
Published by: Nintendo
Release Date: November 11, 2012
Available on: 3DS
Genre: RPG
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: E
Price: $15.00 on LeapTrade

In the toad town of Decalburg, they are preparing for the Stickerfest event where a comet comes down and grants their wishes.  In typical fashion, Bowser ruins everything by kidnapping Princess Peach, breaking the comet into pieces, and scattering them throughout the kingdom.  The comet’s aide, Kersti, blames Mario for touching the comet, not realizing that he was only trying to stop Bowser.  Being the gentleman he is, Mario takes her belittling politely and even offers to help gather all of the comet pieces and royal stickers to undo this mess.  In return, Kersti joins Mario and offers tips, training, and unique sticker abilities.

Those who are familiar with the Paper Mario series will recognize the flat graphic style.  While there is 3D support which adds depth to the scenery, I turned it off on my 3DS while playing this title.  Perhaps it’s just me but I found that it got in the way.  Another reason is that my kids were often behind me and watching me play.  The bright colors and epic battles are entertaining to say the least.

The battle system is unique in Sticker Star.  As the title implies, you use stickers to do various battle moves.  If you run out of stickers, you’ll have to run from battle.  While you can buy stickers in stores, I was a cheapskate and collected most of my stickers in town and throughout the levels.  You’ll find various hammers, boots, pow blocks, fire and ice flowers, poisonous and healing mushrooms, and more.  Some enemies drop stickers that they use if you defeat them in battle.  Generally speaking, stickers are pretty easy to come by.  The tough part is using them effectively and storing them in your limited inventory.  Fortunately, for each royal sticker you reclaim, you’ll get a new page added to your sticker album, which give you room for more stickers.

Highlights:

Strong Points: A fun and unique twist on the Paper Mario franchise by requiring stickers to do battle.
Weak Points: Not the same formula as the previous Paper Mario games, but it’s still fun and fits in with the rest.
Moral Warnings: Typical Mario style cartoon violence.  Haunted house level.

Besides battle stickers, there are thing stickers.  Thing stickers include various objects that you will find in levels and are required for particular bosses or puzzles.  For example, in one level you’ll find a light bulb which you will need to replace the broken light in a dark room to reveal the contents inside.  Using stickers in the world introduces a new mode called “Paperizing”.  When you press the Y button on the 3DS, the world will totally flatten, and interactive areas will appear if there are places where you can pull or place stickers.  There are many occasions where you will have to paperize and flip ramps, windows, or doors in your favor.

The last sticker worth mentioning is the secret door.  Each level has a door outline somewhere in it.  If you paperize and place a secret door sticker over it, you can go inside and collect treasure within.  Most of the time it will be a thing sticker, but you may discover rare stickers or an HP +5 boost.  Since this is an RPG game, Mario and his foes have health bars and when they deplete, it’s game over.  Fortunately, the game auto saves when you enter a level, and most have heart blocks to replenish your health, and save blocks to save your progress mid-level.    

There are six worlds and they all have a boss at the end.  Thing stickers can do a boat load of damage if you use them effectively.  Most foes have weaknesses and vulnerabilities.  For example, if an enemy is floating, ground attacks won’t work.  Also, if they have spikes, don’t jump on them unless you’re wearing iron boots.  Kersti gives you an ability to do a slot machine battle spinner, and if you match up two or three icons, you’ll get multiple moves in one turn.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 88%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 90%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Sticker Star does not stray from the Mario series formula of catering to obsessive-compulsive gamers.  There are flags in Decalburg that will unfold and praise you for achieving various goals like getting fifty perfect battle spins, spending 10,000 gold at the sticker store, collecting every HP boost, every sticker, and so on.  I spent a little over twenty nine hours playing this game, and it could have gone into the thirties if I was serious about collecting everything.  You can go back and collect the missing items after you beat the game, so that’s nice. 

Overall I enjoyed Paper Mario: Sticker Star.  While it does stray from the original Paper Mario series, I like the uniqueness that it adds.  The graphics and sound are similar enough in style where it fits into the franchise nicely.  The characters and dialogue are entertaining as well.  While many RPG’s out there are not family friendly, this is one that the whole family can enjoy.    

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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