Pa­per Mario: Sticker Star

3DS, 2012

Hyper - - FEATURE -

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, di‡cult 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’.

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