Tucked away on the roof of the ZombiU building in the Nintendo booth at the EB Expo were a few hidden 3DS gems. Among them was Paper Mario: Sticker Star, and as you can imagine we eagerly wrestled the closest copy from the display unit and dove right in. The version available to us appeared to be very close to the final build, as we were able to select a new file and start from the beginning of the game.
After a rather amusing opening sequence, we find Mario in the middle of Toad Village, where all of his friends have been stickered against numerous walls with yellow and black tape. Upon discovering your partner for the game, Kersti (also a sticker), Mario quickly finds the town square rolled up like a toilet roll, and thus begins the first mission. We had to hammer floor mats, tip over waste paper baskets, and look behind photo frames but to name a few in order to find all the toads in town so they can help unroll the town square.
While playing through opening section of the game, we kept it in 3D for the majority of the time, and it was one of the best showcases of the handheld’s 3D effects yet seen. With the whole world made of paper and cardboard, the 3D made the game look even more like an interactive diorama, and makes us wish they would release the first three games on the handheld just so we can enjoy them even more.
The Paper Mario series is renowned for being quite humorous, and Paper Mario: Sticker Star is no exception. Many paper-related puns were made in the half hour we got to play the game for, and even when wordplay wasn't the order of the day, the game still retained its humorous charm.
The battle system has had a bit of an overhaul too. Your trusty hammer and jump commands have been replaced with sticker commands. Using stickers can have all kinds of effects on battle, from using a hammer that shoots sheep everywhere when you hit your opponent to the traditional hammer and jump stickers, to a worn-out hammer that does next to nothing when you use it. Making a return from previous Paper Mario titles are timed actions, such as pressing A at the right time when you’re swinging a hammer or jumping on a Goomba’s face.
If anyone was worried that their stickers would be bound to run out if they kept using them, they shouldn’t. In the first half hour of the game, we managed to find more than 30 stickers about town, and our sticker friend was also kind enough to let us have another few to ensure that we would never run out.
Though we wish we could have more hands on time with the game, we had to share nicely, as it was a public event. If you're still on the fence about this game then we can tell you that it looks and plays amazing, and could be one of the best Paper Mario adventures yet.