Paper Mario Sticker Star, why is it bad? (I'm actually curious, I love the Paper Mario games but I've heard this is the weak link in the series)
Strap yourself in, because it’s gonna be a long ride.
Remember the diverse cast of NPCs that the other three games had, ranging from Bob-Ombs to Koopas to Lakitus to species invented specifically for the series? Well, in this game there’s only one species of NPC: Toads. And they don’t even have cute little pun names like in 64 and TTYD. In fact, they don’t have names at all. None of them.
Remember all the unique and memorable locations you visited in the first three games, that stood out from anything else in the Mario series? Sticker Star says “fuck that” and uses locations from New Super Mario Bros.
Remember the wacky partners you had in the first three games? Well, here you only have one partner who can’t attack, barely says anything useful, and is kind of an asshole.
Speaking of your partner, remember all the unique characters native to the series in the first three games? Expecting this game to have some new characters of its own? Guess what: it doesn’t. Every enemy, NPC, boss, and location is taken from New Super Mario Bros, with like one or two enemies from Mario 2, Sunshine, and Galaxy.
Luigi’s always had a big role in the Paper Mario games, be it getting brainwashed by the villains, telling Mario about his own offscreen adventures, or just giving Mario friendly advice in general. In this game, and this is the most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen, he sits in the background with his head turned away from the camera like the preschool teacher just gave him a time out.
Oh well, at the very least we still have Bowser, right? His dialogue in the Paper Mario series was always funny, right? Hahahahahaha BOWSER DOESN’T SAY ANYTHING EVER AT ALL IN THIS GAME EVER.
Remember Peach? Remember how the Paper Mario games expanded her role to be much more than Damsel in Distress™? You think they’re gonna do that in this game? Wrong again!
Remember the Paper Mario games’ stories? Can you guess whether or not this game has a story even remotely on the same level of depth as any of those? (hint: it doesn’t)
And this game isn’t just bad because it took away everything I loved about Paper Mario. This game is bad for much more than that.
In battle, instead of just choosing a command from a list like in every other Mario RPG, you have to use stickers that make Mario perform an action. Once a sticker is used, it disappears. If you run out of stickers for a certain attack, you won’t be able to do it until you find some more. But that’s not much of a problem because fighting enemies is pretty much pointless, because there’s no level-up function in the game, and fleeing from battle is guaranteed to always work.
Boss battles are a complete crapshoot because unless you want to be chipping away at them for hours and hours, you have to have a certain sticker with you. The game won’t tell you which Sticker it is, you just have to somehow know for yourself.
Same goes for puzzles. Half of the puzzle solutions in this game require you to know what sticker you need in advance. Don’t expect the sticker you need to be anywhere near the puzzle you need it for, and don’t expect the game to tell you which sticker it is. Most of the time it’ll be all the way over in a completely unrelated area on the other edge of the fucking map.
And don’t think you’ll be getting any hints from your partner. Unlike Tippi, Goombella, and Goombario, your partner in this game doesn’t have different dialogue depending on the room you’re in. She just tells you what your objective is, sometimes even after you’ve already completed it.
This game does have a few funny moments and a couple interesting bosses, but other than that it’s bland, forgettable, and a major fucking disappointment. And the worst part is that the series isn’t going to go back from this. If Paper Jam and Smash Bros are any indication, Sticker Star is now the “main” game in the Paper Mario series.
I know a lot of people are bummed about Paper Mario: Color Splash looking a lot like Sticker Star, but I found out some great news! Color Splash will be re-introducing partner characters, and I have the full list here, complete with pictures!
Partner 1: Toad
Toad is kind of like the Goombario/Goombella of Color Splash. He’s a huge fan of Mario, and wants to do everything he can to help him restore Prism Island to the way it was. In battle, he can jump on enemies!
Partner 2: Toad
Toad may look weak, but don’t let that fool you! His jump attack packs a wallop, and will be sure to give enemies trouble!
Partner 3: Toad
His high and mighty attitude may seem off putting at first, but deep down, Toad has a heart of gold! When enemies see his fabulous jump attack, they’ll be sure to bow down!
Partner 4: Toad
An everyday toad by day, Toad is secretly a super hero! Villains beware- his mighty jump attack is sure to make them rethink their evil ways!
Partner 5: Toad
Not much is known about Toad, or why he’s decided to help Mario on his quest. But what you can be sure of is that his devastating jump attack will be a huge help!
Plus, there’s a secret sixth partner you can obtain! I’ll put it below a break as to not spoil the surprise, but if you don’t mind spoilers…