Sticker Shock: Combat in the Next Paper Mario

Take a closer look at how to squash Goombas or scorch Koopas with the power of a mere sticker in Paper Mario: Sticker Star.

Forget badges. In Paper Mario: Sticker Star, stickers are the new hotness. This game marks the return of turn-based combat from the first two Paper Mario games, as well as the series' debut on a handheld system. There are plenty of changes that make Sticker Star a very different beast from Thousand Year Door, some of which can be glimpsed in the trailer below. If you need a little more explanation, GameSpot has you covered with some select snippets--including a few not in the teaser!

Bowser Jr. is a jerk. He plucks a bridge from the world, crumples it up, and throws it away. This is called "paperizing" an object, and it's a system used to solve puzzles and explore the environment. It can be activated at any time, but only affects certain objects. If you see something that looks out of place, chances are you can paperize it and find something hidden underneath. Paperizing can also replace objects and open new paths.

Why is Mario collecting stickers? Because stickers are his attacks, but each sticker can be used only once, and he can hold only a finite number. Let that sink in for a moment: there is a big fat limit on all your attacks. This limitation forces you to plan out your assault and not be wasteful. It's similar to building a deck in a trading card game. If there's a boss coming up that's weak to fire, load your album with fire flowers. Always plan ahead.

You might have noticed Mario's Perfect Bonus. This is because he defeated all the enemies with a single attack. Perfect Bonuses make you feel like a winner deep down inside, and also award you with more coins. Coins are especially important in this game, since they can be spent to purchase new stickers. Some of your strongest stickers will actually come from shops, rather than in the field. Coins are also needed for the battle spinner, discussed later.

Here's the deal with the giant fan: it is a 3D object. Mario and friends are all 2D. This fan's bizarre third dimension both confuses and terrifies our heroes, and must be flattened. As shown in the trailer, you will unlock the ability to conform 3D curios to the natural, 2D order. Your reward is a powerful new sticker, be it a giant fan that blows foes away, or some sharp scissors to slice up their paper bodies. However, these stickers occupy additional space in your album.

A note on character advancement: if having a finite number of attacks doesn't already blow your mind, know that Mario doesn't gain experience points or level up. Madness, I know, but there is a method. The plumber's advancement is managed through new sticker album pages and health up items. Both of these items are collected at specific encounters along your journey. For those who still want to grind, Mario always needs more coins.

Let's talk about the battle spinner. Arguably the most potent weapon in Mario's arsenal, this device lets you combo together up to three stickers in a single turn. The spinner can be activated for three coins, and it functions like a slot machine. For each successful match made, you can use another sticker that turn, as well as receive an extra bonus depending on the images matched (example: a health boost for matching mushrooms).

Spending 15 additional coins will automatically match two of the reels together, and adding another 30 coins on top of that causes the third reel to slow down for an easy final match. When planning out which stickers to string together, know that Mario always strikes the enemy in the front first; you cannot choose other targets further down the row. You must plan ahead and know which stickers will knock out which enemies to ensure you don't mismatch your attacks, or (even worse) waste a sticker. If all this sounds too confusing, you can figure it out for yourself when Paper Mario: Sticker Star is released on the Nintendo 3DS later this year.

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Discussion

3 comments
RiKanKiDD
RiKanKiDD

Cant wait to grab this once i get a 3DS. Meanwhile i am playing Paper Mario 64

Redley911
Redley911

Again, Bowser why?

It's so obvious that the stickers will make the battles so easy for us. The lack of challenge in the previous 2 M&L was because of all those powers we had. Super Star Saga was the hardest by far. I don't think this one will bring something new except for those stickers. 

ToTs_00
ToTs_00

It's sounds different but still really fun.

LordWaffleKing
LordWaffleKing

Reading the comments: "Oh this game looks so stupid, it's just the same Mario over and over again. They don't do anything creative." and "Oh this game looks so stupid, they changed it so much from the original Paper Mario. Why can't they just stick with the same play style?" Got it. The new Paper Mario that didn't even come out yet and that no one has played yet is bad because it's the same exact thing that is too different from the original. Seems legit.

Evilnator
Evilnator

Damn, I love Paper Mario... But don't wanna but a 3DS..Seems I'll just have to wait for a port.

Roanark
Roanark

Sort of tired of seeing paper mario games, while they may be good there's nothing creative about it anymore.That's what made the first two so exciting, now there's four and while the games may be good it's not exactly exciting or unique anymore. 

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

what a shocker anther Mario game them announce anther Mario is just has surprising has a new Madden game every year which anther words its not surprising at all

King_Dodongo
King_Dodongo

It's made by intelligent systems, and by itself it's worthy of playing, wether you like the changes or not. 

Fembot_Eulogy
Fembot_Eulogy

I enjoyed playing the first Paper Mario because of this turn based system. It reminded me of Super Mario RPG in a way, and that game was FUN!

franzito
franzito

Paper Mario was "somewhat off" to me

salvucci91
salvucci91

I absolutely agree with a lot of people on here; THIS is the reason, along with SSB, why I bought a 3DS. I'm a little if-y on the whole sticker system, and I don't like that there isn't a leveling system, but I indeed remain optimistic. 

Badfish_
Badfish_

Im pretty disappointed from this trailer, paper mario was awesome, thousand year door was awesome, the wii one was ok but i wanted it back the original and then they do this stupid sticker thing really? why cant we just have a fun and simple paper mario whats with all the complicated bs. There better be sidekicks or i am not buying this game.

Morokoo
Morokoo

Not sure how I feel about the one time use on the stickers.. Still sounds like a fun game though.

Rovelius
Rovelius

I'll have to get a 3DS for that one

FreakAche
FreakAche

I'm sort of torn on this game. Part of me is glad that they're willing to try something different and I really hope they can make it work, but the other part of me would like a more traditional Paper Mario experience. It's been too long since Thousand Year Door.

PyreofKoL
PyreofKoL

I'm psyched for this. The DS series is seriously underrated. The sheer number of quality RPGs across all the platforms is staggering. 

mjumper99
mjumper99

The mere fact that this game was announced for the 3DS a long time ago was a major reason I picked up a 3DS. Can't wait for this to launch! Will bring back so many great memories I had with N64 and Gamecube versions.

TrueProphecy22
TrueProphecy22

This actually sounds unique, interesting, and like it could be a lot of fun.  Wish I had a 3DS.

johnd13
johnd13

If I win a 3DS on that contest I' m taking part in, then this game is a must-buy as I always watched my brother playing previous Paper Mario games on the Wii but never had the chance to play any myself.

LinkLuigi
LinkLuigi

I find myself a tad scared at the way battles are held here. I mean, a finite number of attacks?

 

However, this worry is quickly expunged when I remember games with a similar feature. Take Kingdom Hearts; Chain of Memories. The battle style was widely different from its predecessor, yet I found myself in love with the game utterly.

 

So while I was skeptical at first, a system such as this that is properly planned out will be oodles of fun, and I for one am waiting with baited breath.

Masterx1220
Masterx1220

it's already pre-ordered. now  i play the waiting game

nathangray
nathangray

Sigh...All I want is Super Mario RPG 2....why is that so much to ask for?

barren167
barren167

In a few RPGs, especially early in the game, I often worried that I'll find myself trapped someplace with few items and low health, which means being unable to progress past the inevitable boss of the dungeon. This just sounds like constantly having that worry.

binggeba
binggeba

 @shadowhunter0 Nintendo comes up with fancy new games all the time, they just stick well known IP's on them, so that they'll sell. Paper Mario is not your conventional game of Mario by far...

dudy80
dudy80

 @shadowhunter0 Except they havent made a new paper mario in years lol. Know what your talking about before you speak, yes mario games are flooding the market but they have never not done a outstanding job on paper mario.

chipwithdip
chipwithdip

 @Badfish_ Cause then it'd get bashed on for doing the same thing over and over again. Games have it rough. They should be what they always were, cause that's what made them great. At the same time, people bark for change all the damn time. It's hypocritical, and it can't please everyone. Best people can do is hope that the changes lead to a still solid game-play experience. Seeing how Paper Mario has always gotten high marks (nothing under 85% on gamerankings, and there's A LOT of reviews...especially for the WIi one), I can guarantee this game will still be good regardless. The only thing is how they'll handle combat once someone runs out of stickers. A large scale fight (like a final boss) might not have space to be that big if you have a limited number of moves before automatically losing (if that were the case).

wizardboyus
wizardboyus

 @johnd13 damn your brother is a real douchebag if he didn't let you play his wii at all...

Bangerman15
Bangerman15

 @nathangray it'll probably never happen but man I would love a super mario rpg successor with geno and mallow back in it, that game was so much fun I still play it every now and then

RPG_Fan_I_Am
RPG_Fan_I_Am

 @barren167 Yea I'm a little worried too. I find with card/deck style rpg's I often get a bunch of cards that are no use to me in battle. like a bunch of healing cards when I have max health. or status ailing cards, or the like. Mean while the enemy just bashes on me and kills me...

fallin75
fallin75

 @dudy80  @shadowhunter0 and they are all actually diferent frmo one another, Paper Mario is completely different to Mario 3D or New Super Mario Bros 2, all those games take place in the same universe, but they all play completely different

johnd13
johnd13

 @wizardboyus Well he lives in another city and only brought his Wii along for the holidays at which time I was too distracted with other things... But there is some truth in your saying as in the past he wouldn' t let me play his 360 lol.