10 Minutes Of The New Paper Mario Is Not Enough

Few video game series are as consistently delightful as Paper Mario, Nintendo's charming set of plumber-themed RPGs. Paper Mario: Sticker Star, out this fall for 3DS, looks to be no exception. It's funny, weird, and quite charming.

Now take my thoughts with a grain of salt, because the demo I played last weekend at PAX was short. Very short. Like, 10 minutes short. It all took place in two small areas.

(There were some others I could see, but Nintendo rep Kit Ellis told me I wasn't allowed to go to them. Thinking back, if I'd snatched the demo unit and ran away, I probably would've been able to find a place to hide before he caught up. Next time, Kit. Next time.)

Here are some of the notes I jotted down as I played (expanded and turned into full sentences for your reading convenience):

  • So the first thing I see is combat. Mario's facing off against a couple of goombas. It's turn-based (unlike the last Paper Mario, which was far more platformy). To attack, I select one of a number of stickers on my bottom screen — fire flowers, hammers, jumps. The usual.
  • I can earn blocking and attacking bonuses based on timed button pushes, just like most of the other Mario RPG games. Press a button at the right time during an attack and I'll jump for more power; press a button at the right time when I'm attacked and I'll defend for less damage.
  • There's a world map! Holy shit there's a world map!
  • Although I only get to see a town (Decalburg, where I can go to buy stickers and turn objects into stickers) and a small field area, I can tell from the map (and the trailer above this post) that there are a hell of a lot cool things to see.
  • No partners this time around. Mario goes solo. That's kind of a bummer: party members like Goombella and Bombette were lovely additions to the older games.
  • Still, everything here feels just like Paper Mario. I reach a windmill-cottage thing whose blades are blocking its door. I need to find some way of moving the blades so I can get inside.
  • Thoughts from our companion sticker Kersti:

    Talk about awful cottage design. "Gee guys, did we forget anything?" OH WAIT, THE FRONT DOOR ACCESS.

  • The dialogue is weird and hilarious, as expected from a Paper Mario game. Those Nintendo of America translators do some tremendous work.
  • To get into that door, by the way, I have to take the big fan in my inventory (obtained before this demo started) and take it to Decalburg, where a snarky young toad will turn it into a sticker. Then I have to peel that sticker and place it on the world, where it will turn into a big fan and blow the windmill blades out of my way.
  • "Stay perky," one toad tells me. Thanks, toad. I will.

Sticker Star hits the US on November 11.


    I'm really gonna have to buy a 3DS soon. I have no desire for the 3D, but without it too many games will pass me by.

      I managed to avoid buying one until the other day. Tipping point was me noticing just how many games there are on it that I wanted to play.

      You know you don't have to use the 3D at all, right? Even Nintendo seem to be avoiding having 3D as the focus of anything - the new model doesn't even have the indicator LED to tell you when there's 3D content available for the top screen.

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