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Video Game: Paper Mario: Sticker Star
aka: Paper Mario 3 DS

Time to... PAPERIZE!

A new Paper Mario game for the Nintendo 3DS, released on November 11, 2012 in North America. The game returns to the series' RPG roots, as opposed to Super Paper Mario's platforming-RPG hybrid approach, although it's not what you would expect with the first two Paper Mario games. The game makes use of the system's 3D effects, as expected on the system.

In this game, Bowser attempts to seize the power of the wish-granting Sticker Comet, but the Sticker Comet shatters and scatters across the land. With the help of the sticker fairy Kersti, Mario sets out to search for the pieces and put them back together to rescue Princess Peach, who has been once again kidnapped by a more powerful Bowser. He must also use stickers he finds throughout the environment for battles and puzzle solving, which are stored on the bottom screen. Real-world objects can even be found and turned into stickers as well.

This game provides examples of:

  • Action Commands: Par for the course for Paper Mario, but this game also has action commands when using mushrooms, where success results in restoring more HP. Although it doesn't look like it, the Thing stickers have Action Commands too, ranging from Button Mashing to timed presses. Some of them won't even work unless you perform Action Commands.
  • Affably Evil: Kameknote  is always sure to congratulate Mario and Kersti on their progress before each fight with them. By their final battle, he's developed enough respect for them to suggest skipping their taunting banter and get on to the fight.
  • Anti-Villain: Can we really call Mizzter Blizzard a villain? All he wanted was a body that couldn't melt...
  • Anvil On Head: The Basin, Square Can, and Drum stickers.
  • Art Evolution: A mild case. The environments seem to be even more paper-y than usual. The characters look the same, though, although several enemies have been updated to resemble their designs from New Super Mario Bros. and onwards.
    • The paper-y parts extend to gameplay: one of Mario's special attacks is Scissors.
    • The whole game seems to revert to the original's more story-book like presentation and combines it with Super Paper Mario's graphical fidelity and platforming.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Using an Infinijump Sticker on an enemy with 100 HP or less is a guaranteed kill. But do you really want to press the A Button 100 times?
  • Back from the Dead: The Toad who runs the Whiteout Valley lift is apparently brought back to life from his picture through the power of paperization.
    • Also, Kersti is brought back to life at the end of the game when Mario wishes on the Royal Stickers.
  • Badass Bystander: While the standard procedure Toads go through in most Super Mario Bros. games is to run away from danger and cower in fear, the intro cutscene shows several Toads actually yanking Bowser back from the Royal Stickers by his tail the moment he shows up.
  • Batter Up: Both baseball bat Things (the Toy Bat, and the standard wooden Bat) and the Newspaper Thing.
  • Berserk Button: Wiggler did not take kindly to his home forest being covered in poison, preventing him from eating any food.
  • Bookcase Passage: Paperizing one of the bookshelves in The Enigmansion opens a hidden passageway to the basement.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Fights that play regular enemy music include a Nigh Invulnerable Boo Stack that just begs to be Infinijumped and two Shy Guys that are possibly a nod to Anti Guy of the first Paper Mario game. The Boo Stack is required, the Shy Guys are optional.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Mizzter Blizzard and possibly Tower Power Pokey are not normally evil, but the influence of the Royal Stickers made them crazy.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Literally.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Ninjis from Super Mario Bros. 2 came back after their last appearance being in Mario Party Advance.
  • But Thou Must: If you attempt to use one of the alternate exits to Wiggler's tree house after getting the scrap to place it but before getting the segment, Kersti will say something along the lines of looking through too many parts of the forest would get you lost, and Mario will automatically jump back.
    • Also lampshaded and played for laughs by her when first learning about the Battle Spinner, if Mario says "no" when Kersti asks him if he would like her to teach him about it enough times, this is her answer.
    Kersti: You know what? Forget you! Here—pick one of these answers so we can move on. note 
  • Call Back: When you find all of Luigi's hiding places, he leads the credits parade like in Super Mario RPG.
    • It is also a Call Back to the first Paper Mario, where Luigi also led the parade during the credits.
    • And the sequel, but he was a shadow that time, like everyone else in the credits.
    • In the final battle, one of Bowser's attacks is throwing a Chain Chomp at you by swinging it like a ball-and-chain, just like he did in Super Mario RPG.
  • Cap: Damage maxes out at 99.
    • Also, the coin cap is now higher than previous Paper Marios, 9999.
  • Captain Obvious: "Kersti's not here. You can't talk to someone who's not here."
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Remember how Wiggler dreamed about wanting to grow up? When it's time to go face Bowser in his Sky Castle, he'll have grown into a Flutter and will fly you up there.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: So many characters neglect to make an appearance. Although you can find some research notes left by Parakarry and Goombella among the trash in Shy Guy Jungle.note 
  • Co-Dragons: Bowser Jr. and Kamek.
  • Collection Sidequest: The Sticker Museum. Getting all the battle stickers opens the enemy gallery, and getting all the Thing stickers opens the music gallery.
  • Combat Exclusive Healing: Mushroom stickers can only be used in battle.
  • Continuity Nod: When Mario powers up for the final stage of the boss fight with Bowser, the score switches to an arrangement of the Yoshi's Island invincibility theme, mixed with Kersti's leitmotif.
  • Copy Protection: Parodied. In World 5-1: Shy Guy Jungle, one of the things Mario can find in the pile of trash is a serial key: "XD3R-B8HH-9ZR2-FL16".
  • Cosmetic Award: The eight banners in the Sticker Fest plaza. Each one unfurls upon completing a certain task.note 
  • Cool Crown/Hat of Power: The Royal Stickers.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Averted in the actual battles, but afterwards the enemy flops over and explodes on the field.
  • Demoted to Extra: Luigi, who was a very important character in the previous Paper Mario, is only a background character in this one.
    • Princess Peach.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Try tilting the 3DS up and down while having your shiny stickers showing in the touch screen.
    • Addtionally, when a health bar is visible (say, in a battle), try giving your 3DS a little shake.
  • Disc One Nuke: Paperization Blocks, which are hidden and can only be uncovered by Paperization, can give you some really powerful stickers as early as World 1-1. What you need to do is Paperize when you see a stump or a ring of 6 flowers, then stick a sticker on the red square containing the Paperization Block, then hit the block to give you either a different sticker than the one you paste, or an upgraded version of that sticker. With enough patience, getting flashy stickers to trounce the first few levels isn't too hard.
  • Disney Death: Mizzter Blizzard asks Mario to rebuild him next winter and make this his fate instead of being Killed Off For Real.
  • Drop the Washtub: The Basin Thing.
  • Enemy Mine/My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Some stickers give Mario the ability to summon friendly mooks, like a Koopa to kick into enemies.
    • Even though partners don't exist in this game, an enemy does help you out: the Wiggler/Flutter flies you to Bowser's Castle.
  • Elemental Powers
    • An Ice Person: The Ice Flower and Chillhammer stickers, as well as the Refrigerator, Shaved Ice, and Air Conditioner Things.
    • Blow You Away: The Fan Things.
    • Playing with Fire: The Fire Flower and Burnhammer stickers, as well as the Oven, Lighter and Matchbox Things.
    • Shock and Awe: The Battery Things.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: During the final battle, Kersti has Mario use her as a sticker for a massive powerup, which involves breaking through Bowser's defense and giving him 5 sticker slots if the wheel results in a jackpot...but also involves sacrificing Kersti in the process.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Even Bowser who tried to touch the Sticker Star again!
  • Excuse Plot: Bizarrely, by Paper Mario standards, this game isn't plot-driven, with all of the story delivered in cutscenes at the start and end of the game.
    • Officially justified, as it was done at the request of Shigeru Miyamoto himself, presumably in response to complaints that Super had too much dialogue.
  • Exposition Fairy: Kersti.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: The end result of the Soda Can thing.
  • Fake Longevity: Although, in this case, it's only if you're trying to get all the Super Flags, which are CosmeticAwards that act as de facto "achievements" in this game. On the other hand, they make prominent appearances in both the ending the scene, and the credits during the parade, including the ones you didn't get. While most of them can acquired prior to completing the game (including the "50 Battle Spinner Jackpots" Super Flag), at least three may require both farming (the "Spend 10,000 coins" Super Flag), and grinding (the "1000 Excellent Attacks", and "500 Perfect Bonuses" Super Flags), which would have to be done both before completing the game (hence holding up the progression of the story), or afterwards.
  • First-Person Shooter: The game turns into this with the Squirt Gun thing.
  • First Town: Decalburg.
  • Friendly Enemy: Taken farther than usual with Bowser this time—while he's not a full-on Enemy Mine like he was in Super Paper Mario, after his defeat, Peach still tells Mario after his defeat not to worry about him, and he'll probably be fine after the Royal Sticker is gone.
  • Fun Personified: Wiggler.
  • Get Back Here Boss: The first phase against Bowser involves four segments in which he uses different moves all the while backing away as he takes damage.
  • Giant Mook: Big Buzzy Beetle, Mega Cheep Cheep, Big Scuttlebug, and two of the main bosses (Megasparkle Goomba when joined by his minions, and Tower Power Pokey).
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: Upon discovering the boos hidden in the frame in the Enigmansion, both the boos and Mario start disco dancing for no reason.
  • Guide Dang It: All of the bosses will make you use Things and stickers like crazy in hopes of discovering their weakness. Luckily, Kersti's rambles always have a hint, but sometimes you won't figure out what she wants you to have.
    • First Boss: Either the Scissors or the Fan when he starts to split.
    • Second Boss: Wait for the boss to reach its maximum height, then use the Bat. Hell, the environment is a baseball field if you didn't notice. The beginning of the fight even says PLAY BALL!
    • Third Boss: The sponge, which will absorb the poison and then shoot it back for Massive Damage.
    • Fourth Boss: Fire-related Things or/and fire stickers.
    • Fifth Boss: Wait for the boss to use its spin attack, knock it over, and Attack Its Weak Point with jumps.
    • Final Boss: In order of the phases: stapler or tape, Eekhammer (or two regular hammers) with any scissor Things, freezing Things plus Fan Things, and...a Raccoon Tail.
    • Also, a few of the minibosses are like this. The Big Boo is weak to the Fan, for instance. Then there are the Big Chain Chomps, who cannot be harmed. And when they wake up, it doesn't help. To beat the first one, you need to go around it, hammer the stake before fighting it, then let it wake up in the fight. But this own't work for the second one, who's already awake. For this one, you need to use a Baahammer sticker, run away, hammer the stake, then fight it and wait for it to wake up. Oh, and if you don't have more than 10 HP, you can't win the fights.
    • Wiggler's diary in world 3. The only hint at its existence is that there is a blank book in Wiggler's house and one entry is automatically gotten when you find the last segment. However, the game doesn't tell you that you got the entry. The rest of the sidequest isn't better: you need to go to certain places with a Wiggler segment following you: A dandelion at the end of world 3-2, the poisoned hot springs in world 3-8, the cliff with a view of the ship in world 3-6 and the game show in world 3-10. There is no hint that these places mean anything and to top things off, the sidequest can be Lost Forever if you don't do it soon enough.
  • Heart Container: The HP-Up Hearts. They also increase the power of Mario's first strikes, making it possible to attack an enemy and defeat it without entering battle.
  • Her Code Name Was Mary Sue: The Toad Mario keeps saving during his travels sends some embellished stories back to his house-sitter in Decalburg.
  • Here We Go Again: Subverted. Bowser tries to snatch the Royal Stickers again at the second festival, but Kersti chastises him for trying to pull the same stunt as he did at the beginning.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kersti in the final battle. The wish Mario makes on the Royal Stickers revives her shortly afterwards.
    • Depending on how good you are with Infinijump stickers, this could double as a Senseless Sacrifice.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Gooper Blooper's weakness is having his own poisonous ink sprayed back at his face with a sponge.
  • Improbable Weapon User: There are Shy Guys that will attack you with paper clips, paint buckets, and sombreros. Most of the Thing Stickers would qualify as well: high heels, fans, faucets...
  • Interface Screw: If you fail to repel a Shy Guy carrying a paint bucket, he'll cover the screen with paint.
    • The Gooper Blooper's poison also has this effect, effectively meaning that it damages you, seriously harms your aim and makes it hard to block other attacks.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: The sticker album. New pages and a sorting feature help with organization problems.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: Chain Chomps are impossible to defeat in battle, and must be dealt with through other methods.
  • Invisible Block: Mario can reveal invisible blocks by jumping or hammering them. Mario may use these blocks to reach secrets or new areas. One level is impossible unless the player looks for invisible blocks (or hits them by accident).
  • King Mook: Every World Boss, though technically Mizzter Blizzard doesn't count due to there being no Mr. Blizzards in-game except him.
  • Kill It with Fire: The only way to do any significant damage to Mizzter Blizzard.
  • Ladies and Germs: The "Snifit or Whiffit" host, as part of his introduction.
  • Lead The Target: Out of battle, some enemies are surprisingly good at predicting where the player will be based on the direction you're moving.
    • This also needs to be done with the giant cheep-cheep at the beginning of the 2nd visit to World 5-3 onwards, or Mario will be defeated in one gulp, and even then, there's still the raft...
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to The Thousand Year Door and Super Paper Mario. Heck, compared even to the Mario & Luigi games, and those tend to be pretty wacky.
  • Limit Break: The Thing stickers are very much like this, as they are usually very powerful attacks beyond the majority of the normal battle stickers and are limited by the fact there can only be one of each Thing in Mario's possession, either as a Thing or a sticker, at once.
    • Also, Infinijump and Megaflash stickers are extremely powerful. And, yes, there's a Megaflash Infinijump sticker. The only difference between them and the Thing stickers is that you can have more than one at a time, although they're very rare.
  • The Load: The Wiggler segments tend to be as unhelpful as they possibly can, by virtue of being, well, separate parts of an already simple-minded and careless character. You're supposed to save them by going all over the forest, but every single one of them runs away from you after being rescued from the mess they mindlessly put themselves in, and then attack you when you come all the way to save their ass from some more trouble. And if you try to use the Bowling Ball sticker to open the second exit of one of the levels with a segment following you, it will get in the ball's path and deflect it for no reason.
    • There's also a Toad you have to escort to safety at one point, who runs back to his hiding place if you jump over anything, if he touches an enemy, etc. It doesn't help that he whines about it too.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: Can be either Played Straight or Averted depending on how you handle the final boss. If played normally you'll only get to hear the Phase Two theme for a little under a minute - though it does segue into the best song in the game - but if you do as alluded to in Off the Rails, you'll find it's both a good tune and a good mood-setter for doing it the hard way.
  • Lost Forever: The Wiggler diary pages, other than the last one which you get automatically, can't be obtained after you return the Wiggler segments to the head.
  • Matryoshka Object: The Bowser Snow Statue. As you lower its HP, what's controlling it is ultimately revealed to be Mizzter Blizzard.
  • The Monolith: One gameplay segment shows a giant paper electric fan slowly rise up and blow away a large stack of Goombas as what sounds a lot like Also Sprach Zarathustra plays.
  • Musical Gameplay: Gooper Blooper claps to his boss music. You the player can also use it to anticipate his attacks in time to block.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Many of the Thing stickers are everyday objects that are played up as weapons of mass destruction.
  • Mythology Gag: There are several callbacks to older Mario games:
    • Super Mario Bros. 2: Snifits, Ninjis and even green-colored Pokeys make an appearance. The main title theme is also a remix of the Super Mario Bros 2 credits theme.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3: Several powerups from the game return, like Goomba's Shoe (which takes the form of the Super Boot and Clone Jump stickers) and the Frog Suit.
    • Super Mario Sunshine: Gooper Blooper and Petey Piranha are bosses in the game. Bowser Jr also makes his Paper Mario debut as one of the Co-Dragons, and the whole "Peach is his mother" thing is referenced in Snifit or Whiffit.
    • Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins: The boom box plays a version of the music from Space Zone 2.
    • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga: To get to Bowser's Castle, you must go to a previous ally who can fly you there.
  • Ninja Log: Ninjis can do this to dodge your attacks.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: If you happen to initiate a battle while on quicksand or a pool of poison, taking too much time deciding what to do will result in this. Sinking in quicksand in the overworld will also do this.
    • Not to mention the giant cheep-cheep in World 5-3 eating you.
  • Noodle Incident: According to the Sticker Museum's description of the Pocket Watch: "While this thing can theoretically manipulate time, every effort to use it to go back and avert that unfortunate chowder incident has failed."
  • Noodle Implements: The varied assortment of Thing Stickers you can find may lead to this. Although alternatives are available, commonly used Things in the final battle with Bowser include a fan, a refrigerator, a a roll of sticky tape, a pair of tailor's scissors and a stereo music player.
  • Off the Rails/Screw Destiny: It's actually possible to defeat the final boss without using Kersti. Granted you have to do enough Scratch Damage to wear down that monstrous 500 HP, but it can be done. Sadly it doesn't change anything, although you can check to see that Kersti is indeed in the sticker album before triggering the ending. She even has a (vague) description.
  • One of These Doors Is Not Like the Other: Variant in The Bafflewood, where you have to keep track of the correct/incorrect paths yourself (likely by placing stickers on signs). It's played straight at both ends of the path - one's exit is the only one lacking a ring of flowers, the other exit is the only one which has a ring of flowers.
  • Point-and-Click Map: Instead of being one giant world to trek across, much like the other Paper Mario games, this game uses a world map system that is like a mix of Super Mario World and Super Mario RPG, because of the fact that each level has tons of exploration, secret exits, and some levels could be entered early (although you cannot progress any further if you do not have certain moves/items.
  • Punny Name: Kersti. Sti-cker. Get it?
  • Puzzle Boss: Not discovering what boss's weakness is will result in a very long fight, so many bosses fall into this. There's even one that you have to do "correctly", or Kersti will start questioning your methods.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The endings for each world have a story-like portion that details what happened before the bosses got the crowns in the first place, all the while rhyming.
  • Sandal Slap: Kamek turns all your stickers into sandals in battles with him, resulting in this attack.
  • Save the Princess
  • Scenery Porn: It's Paper Mario in 3D. This is inevitable.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The Megasparkle Goomba's cohorts decide this when they're on the ropes, realizing With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
  • Serial Escalation:
    • The enemies and bosses in this game have considerably more complex paper constructs than its predecessors, and they get more complex as the game goes on until you eventually reach the final boss made of cardboard.
    • The enemies also have more HP compared to previous games, but special mention should go to the bosses, who all have at least 100 HP, with the final boss having 500! For comparison, the second game's Bonus Boss had 200 HP. The damage you do is generally higher as well (the normal jump stickers found from the start of the game can do up to 11 damage). Coins are escalated as well; both the amount you make and the amount you need to buy things.
  • Scratch Damage: Attacks do 1 damage even when the enemy's defense should cover the attack, but if the attack is well below the defense value, then it does no damage. This allows for some impressive feats like one-shotting the Nigh Invulnerable Whomp mini-boss with an Infinijump sticker.
  • Silent Antagonist: Bowser doesn't have any dialogue in this game, only Voice Grunting, possibly to make him more menacing and less of a whimsical Badbutt compared to the other games in the series.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix
  • Star-Shaped Coupon: The eponymous Sticker Star.
  • Surplus Damage Bonus: Every extra point of damage done to an enemy beyond its max HP nets you a coin. This gets added to the automatic coin and sticker reward for winning the battle itself.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss:
    • The boss of World 5, Petey Piranha, would take much longer to fight if he didn't use his spin attack, as using it makes him dizzy, allowing you to knock him over and attack his weak spot.
    • The third time you fight Bowser Jr., he boasts a monstrous 300 HP! How do you beat him? By using Tail stickers to reflect the spike balls he fires right back at him for 50 damage each.
  • Theme Music Power-Up:
    • During Gooper Blooper's boss fight, a jazzy version of the classic Super Mario Bros. theme begins to play if you use the Sponge Thing to absorb his poison blast and shoot it back at him.
    • Also occurs during the final boss battle, after Kersti gives her power to Mario. The music is a remix of the Super Mario 64 hat powerup theme.
  • Third Is 3D: Depending on whether you consider Super Paper Mario part of the main series or a Spin-Off.
  • Third-Person Person: Wiggler/Flutter.
  • This Loser Is You. Possibly unintentional example.note  If you don't beat a boss a certain way, Kersti calls you out on it.
    Kersti: You used a lot of stickers. Wasn't there a more effective item you could have used?
  • Too Awesome to Use: Megaflash Stickers inflict tons of damage but take up 16 spaces on a sticker album page and cannot be bought at stores.
    • The objects that you use to make Thing Stickers are also expensive and can set you back on a lot of coinage for each use. Alternatively, you can go back to the place you originally found them, every time you use one.
    • Infinijump Stickers are very rare and overpowered in the hands of precision players. The two stronger variations are both found at the ends of a level that gets much harder after getting the secret exit, making them more valuable than most Megaflash stickers (which generally don't require that much effort to reach if you're good at avoiding battles).
  • Took a Level in Badass: Goombas and Koopas trash talk Mario and have the skills to back it up, even early on.
  • Unexpected Character: Making their Paper Mario debuts: Bowser Jr., Kamek, Petey Piranha and... Gooper Blooper? And Birdo?
  • Unique Enemy: There's only one Accordion Guy and one Maraca Guy in the game, and both are fought at Yoshi Sphinx. Also, the only time you fight any Broozers is during an encounter with a Boomerang Bro at Bowser Jr.'s Flotilla.
  • Variable Mix: As Mario's health gets lower in battle, the music begins to drown out, and the world map music changes depending on the area.
    • In 4-1 and 4-2, the music changes slightly depending on whether or not Mario is in danger of being run over by Cooligans.
  • Video Game Settings:
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Tower Power Pokey. 300HP, 10 Defense, can deal 5 to 10 damage per turn (sometimes stunning the player and DOUBLING THE DAMAGE THEY TAKE for at least a turn), and can heal. Unless you're well-prepared, he will wreck you. He also introduces the fact that unless you puzzle the bosses to death, you're not going to get far.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Most bosses become pushovers once you figure out their weaknesses. Petey Piranha plays with this, as while his weakness is incredibly common, he isn't rendered powerless by it.
  • Widget Game: Perhaps the strangest of all four Paper Mario games, with notable mention being towards certain attacks like faucets and freaking GOATS.
  • The Wiki Rule: In-Universe example. The museum for the usable stickers is called the "Sticky Wiki".
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: What happens to the bosses wearing the Royal Stickers.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Secret Doors. It's not really a secret if you can see one the instant you enter a level.
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alternative title(s): Paper Mario 3 DS; Paper Mario 3 DS; Paper Mario Sticker Star
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