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Fixing Paper Mario Sticker Star · 7:43pm Jul 25th, 2018

It's no secret that I am not the biggest fan of the most recent Paper Mario games, and I would go so far as to say that I hate Paper Mario Sticker Star except I recently had the... unique opportunity to play Paper Mario Color Splash. Needless to say I hated it, which is a rant I might save for a later date, but it got me thinking about something: was Sticker Star really that bad or was my first impression getting the better of me? And after replaying the game again, keeping in mind my own criticisms from last time and being fresh off the heels of Color Splash, I can say with honesty that I enjoyed the game a lot more than last time for sure.

However, I simply couldn't ignore some of the glaring issues present throughout the game. So what I'm going to do is this: I will analyze each of my complaints with the game and see what I can do to fix them. I could so easily say to just turn Sticker Star into Thousand Year Door, partners and badges and whatnot, but I want to give Sticker Star a fair chance; it had a lot of great ideas simply implemented poorly. So without further ado, let's begin.

Let's start with simple issues and work our way up to the bigger ones. The first thing you'll notice when playing the game is that there is an abundance of regular, uninteresting Toads all with similar or the exact same color palette. Most of them, if not all of them, don't even have names to identify as, only titles. This isn't Monster Hunter, Nintendo!

So, easy way to fix this? Just have different Toads wearing different costumes to represent their roles. It's fine if you just want to have Toads as the NPCs, but make them fit their areas like Thousand Year Door and even the original Paper Mario. And for God's sake, bring female Toads into the mix! They are canon, Nintendo, please!

Another issue I hear a lot is the Mario Bros 3 type of world map we got in Sticker Star and that every section is a course rather than a coherent and flowing world. One of the greatest parts about the first two games was that every part of the world was connected in some way or another, making the world feel a lot more realistic despite mostly being made out of paper. However I won't say this was the best way of handling a world as fast travel was a fucking stick in my ass half the time. Every time I wanted to go and trade some star pieces for a new badge, it was always a hassle going back to Shooting Star Summit.

Here's a way both SS and TTYD could improve: combine the two ideas. Have a flowing and coherent world that all connects with one-another but have the option of using a world map of sorts to get to places faster. Instead of the goal stars acting as... well... goals, use them like checkpoints that activate when you hit them, and once they've been activated you can revisit that area whenever you want. That way you can still feel like you're on an adventure without the hassle of backtracking.

One of Paper Mario's biggest problems comes from the sticker aspect of the game. Basically instead of conventional attacks, you have stickers that you use to activate your attacks instead. Think of them like regular items you use to attack your enemy. Pretty cool on paper (lol), right? Here's the issue: stickers are of ALL of your attacks. You got your basic items like mushrooms and fire flowers, but then you use stickers to use moves that hit every enemy, use your hammer and fucking JUMP. You know, something Mario knows how to do in literally every single Paper Mario game previously and something he didn't need stickers for? Basically this means you must purchase your ability to jump.

This is for every single attack, BTW. Each of your stickers is stored in an album that gets bigger every time you obtain a royal sticker. A fine idea if not for the fact that every single attack takes up at least one slot in the album, and some attacks can take up to for even nine slots which means you could potentially have less space for your basic jump stickers. And you NEED those slots because some stickers are tied into puzzles, boss weaknesses and secrets. Whoever looked at this and said this was a good idea needs to just stop.

There is such an EASY way of fixing this: have your basic jump and hammer attacks not need stickers to pull off. They're regular options that don't do much damage, but they're still there in case you don't have any stickers to spare. That took me five seconds to think of and I came up with a better idea than a multi-million dollar company. Stickers aren't a terrible idea, really they aren't! It's cool if stickers are used to activate items or more powerful attacks, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't like the item management aspect of the album, but they should NEVER come at the cost of losing a basic means of attacking enemies.

Oh and while we're at it, use better hints for the puzzles. I should never have to resort to a guide to complete a game unless absolutely necessary and this game has me constantly looking over a walkthrough just to even consider beating the game. Fortunately I know most of the things to do in this game, but still in all.

This leads me to arguably the most controversial part of Paper Mario Sticker Star, and that's the battles. While stickers cover the battle system and puzzles, the actual fights are something completely different. Your reward for defeating enemies, and this is every single enemy, are coins to buy more stickers to fight more enemies to get more coins to buy more stickers and so on and so forth. There are no EXP points or levels of any sort to warrant fighting enemies, meaning every single enemy can be ignored and you can go straight to the boss still as powerful as you began the game as. How do you get more HP then? You find HP+ hearts scattered throughout the world, and they're not even all that secret they're actually pretty easy to find.

I have a few ways of fixing this. One, there could be a conventional leveling system where when you level up, your health goes up. This will remove any need for HP+ hearts. However, this is a little boring and I want to try and do something a little creative that doesn't 100% follow the rules of previous Paper Mario games. Instead of a regular level up system, you gain EXP to earn ranks. Each "rank up", if you will, will allow you to use more and stronger stickers in battle, giving you an incentive to actually fight enemies and become stronger. For example, rank 1 lets you use mushroom stickers and different hammer attacks that deal the same damage but inflict different effects, but rank 2 lets you use fire flowers and different jumping moves while keeping the previous rank's benefits. To use better stickers, you must fight enemies and gain experience points.

Or for a third and final option, though I saved this as a bonus because it sound a lot like TTYD, every level up you are given the option of either increasing your HP or increasing your rank. This gives some consideration on what you want to increase or what you want to focus on. Maybe it's a bit too much like TTYD, but it really was that good of a system that I can't deny it.

And that's it for my "fixing" of Paper Mario Sticker Star. I do have some other complaints like boss originality and the lack of new enemies to fight, but they're more like nitpicks than anything else. Besides, this was more of an analysis on the core story and gameplay aspects of the game. Like it's fine if the game doesn't have a particularly great story, I just want the battle system and character designs to be a little better. And if you're curious on how to fix Color Splash, do the same thing here only make the card system less bullshit and more like Sticker Star's album. Color Splash's battle system and Huey's power really were what killed it for me since everything else looks so nice and colorful and the characters are cute and funny and there's an actual attempt at a story this time.

But yeah, that's why you shouldn't buy Color Splash. Okay bye!

Comments ( 6 )

Sticker Star and Color Splash...
You know my opinion on Sticker Star. I actually tried making a review for Color Splash and if I remember right I was rather lenient on it. But the more I think about it, the more I hate it... and I had lots of time to think. If you ever need help ranting about these games, I'll gladly offer it. (Although I never played Sticker Star)
I hope Nintendo's current trend of fixing franchises will extend to Paper Mario

Hey thanks man, though unfortunately I'm not great with collaborating with someone. I would appreciate some help if I need it though!

Sticker Star is pretty much just Color Splash on a handheld, but I feel as if it did some things better than Color Splash and vice-versa. I want someone out there to make a mod that fixes Sticker Star without making it a completely different game, like I did here. And I hope that one day Nintendo realizes their mistakes and gives us another Thousand Year Door, even if the likelihood of that happening is slim. If nothing else, we still have the original two games.

I'll have to take your word on it. And don't forget Super Paper Mario. It was so far ahead of its time, it had only one Toad.

I only played a small bit of Sticker Star. I do remember having to throw away a lot of stickers to get a pair of scissors to fight Bowser JR.

You're not missing much, trust me.

I'll take your word for it. But technically I am. I'm missing thirty dollars since I lost the game T_T

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