Paper Mario: Sticker Star
The Paper Mario franchise’s trajectory has been ba ing, moving from two wonderful text-heavy RPGs with great combat and intelligent levelling systems to a mish-mash of ideas and genres that sometimes work and sometimes don’t. Quick hottake rundown: Color Splash was okay, Super Paper Mario was bad, Paper Jam was fine but I’ve already forgotten most of it. Sticker Star was perhaps the most derided of them all, but it’s the one I’m here to defend. The game works around the strange conceit of needing to find and use stickers during turn-based combat; there’s no levelling system, and your power is defined by which stickers you have. But Sticker Star’s strengths were in its world, not its combat. Exploration is a priority; hit every block, discover every secret pathway, figure out where the best stickers are, because some of them will be essential in later, dicult puzzles. You can ‘flatten’ the world and interact with it directly, peeling up flaps or using stickers to fix broken geography, which is honestly great fun. Sticker Star’s experimentations mostly work, and create a unique, interesting experience that still feels very ‘Mario’.