Arc Fatigue: While generally considered one of the better parts of the game, World 3 drags on for far too long. With double the levels of any other world, plus a decent amount of backtracking and repetition in retrieving Wiggler's parts, it can get a little tiring. It doesn't help that beating the boss of the world makes collectibles appear in certain levels, requiring even more backtracking if you want to collect everything.
Awesome Music: See here. While the game itself is very polarizing, many agree that the soundtrack is one of the good things about it, with every track being a lovingly written, appropriate, and above all else jazzy track, though fans who don't care for jazz may be alienated.
Many fans are not happy at the changes made in Sticker Star, such as the consumable item based battle system and the removal of badges, Star Power, and partners. Some are happy it's not Super Paper Mario.
Characterization issues aside, the decision to make Bowser the Big Bad once again. Some fans are happy to see Mario's classic nemesis take up the position again, while others were hoping for a new villain similar to the old fan favorites.
Critical Backlash: When you view this game on its own merits (not comparing it with the previous three games), it can be an enjoyable Metroidvania experience if you choose to put certain gameplay issues aside.
Deader Than Disco: Believe it or not, this game had plenty of defenders back when it was released, not unlike Super Paper Mario. However, whereas the latter has been Vindicated by History (especially since Sticker Star was released) thanks to having a complex storyline and memorable characters like the first game and The Thousand-Year Door (in spite of its different gameplay), Sticker Star on the other hand has become a lot more hated in the following years due to lacking that and more, to the point that nowadays it's treated as the moment when the series jumped the shark and most fans would rather pretend the series stopped after Super Paper Mario. It's especially obvious as of the announcement of Color Splash, which had been met VERY poorly by the fanbase in no small part thanks to being basically "Sticker Star HD" among many other things.
Really, World 6 as a whole is this. It only consists of three areas, when all of the previous worlds had at least five, making it the shortest world in the entire game. On top of that, Gate Cliff hardly counts as an area (even though the game lists it as 6-1), as it's only a small place that serves as the way to the final world when you have 5 Royal Stickers, as well as the aforementioned Bowser's Sky Castle, which is very short and simple and (mostly) serves as a final corridor befor the Final Boss. The only stage that is actually complex and involved is Bowser Jr.'s Flotilla, and even then you would expect more than just that.
The Mariachi Shy Guys and Gooper Blooper for the music theming behind them and being plain hilarious, and Mizzter Blizzard for being a Tragic Monster and having more characterization than anyone else in the game.
The Goat and Turkey Thing stickers, due to how ridiculous they are.
Before this game was released, people were making jokes about how Mario would be the final boss, because Bowser was in the first game, a possessed Peach was in the second game, and a possessed Luigi was in the third game, therefore making Mario the only main character of the series not to get this role. In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Mario is a boss - one of the first boss fights in the game.
Mizzter Blizzard is essentially Olaf from Frozen if he were Played for Drama rather than laughs. The drama comes from the forms he has which are basically Bowsers on ice.
Pre-release, it was infamously told off as being too similar to The Thousand-Year Door by Miyamoto himself, and thus revamped with no partners, no new characters (save Kersti), and a heavily simplified battle system. The fandom replied with that trope's foil, stating Miyamoto to be underwhelming the intelligence and expectations of its fanbase and being too narrow-minded to consider the Periphery Demographic, as well as stating he was disrespecting the skill of their Cult Classicprintingmachine, Intelligent Systems.
Plot-wise, it also gets this in comparison to the mainstream Mario series. While Paper Mario was well known for its previous two titles adding new storylines and having memorable characters, Sticker Star is, give or take some elements, essentially New Super Mario Bros.: The RPG. And considering how the New series already gets flack for being repetitive...
Just Here for Godzilla: If there's any reason to check this game out, it's either to see if the reviews and fan reception are right or not or to experience the ensemble darkhorses and memes. Surprisingly, the game almost sold 2 million even with backlashes against it.Explanation Of course, the game did come out when the 3DS sold like hotcakes, much like the Wii and Super Paper Mario...
"NYARGLEBARGLE!" Explanation The phrase Bowser Jr. shouts when he starts crumpling a bridge into a ball.
The Goat sticker, as well as the new Mariachi Shy Guy enemies.
Kersti referring to and describing Kamek as a hipster.
Everyone is a Toad. Explanation Probably the most infamous thing about the game is that every NPC outside of select few is some version ofa generic male Toad (contrast past Paper Mario games, where there were an abundance of species and even the Toads that existed all had unique designs). This is made more baffling by the fact the intro to Super Mario Galaxy showed multiple Toadettes- meaning that opportunity was available, yet ignored. Seen as the developers just being completely lazy and unwilling to experiment, it has become a point of ridicule among detractors of the game (and by extension Color Splash, which does the exact same thing).
Shigeru Miyamoto may have gotten the game's most noticeable restrictions on characters and story set into stone. However, what many people may not realize is that the one responsible for generic Toads being the only recurring friendly species and the paper theme being overemphasized to the exclusion of story was actually the producer, Kensuke Tanabe.
Overshadowed by Controversy: Even with the backlash against the game, it probably wouldn't have been seen as that bad if it wasn't for two things: it being a product of Executive Meddling from Miyamoto, and the Magnum Opus Dissonance on Nintendo's behalf that is leading them to stick with the same style of game. It doesn't help that the general reception of Sticker Star means that Paper Mario fans aren't really interested in discussing anything about the game itself, instead preferring to talk about the impact it had on the franchise.
Scapegoat Creator: Many people are pointing to this title, among other incidents, as evidence that it is time for Shigeru Miyamoto to retire from active game development and advisement (which may or may not be a fair statement). What side of this coin fans lie on in terms of supporting this sentiment could fuel the careers of dozens of analytical authors. According to this, he's the reason the battles were changed. Why? It was too similar toThe Thousand Year Door.
Miyamoto has really alienated the fans of the Paper Mario series when he ordered the development team to "stop creating and introducing new characters" which also had the consequence of removing the partner system. Such a decision is probably one of the reasons why Sticker Star was so lackluster.
The Toad species as a whole have become this, since the previous games had a lot of variety on their NPCs, whereas Sticker Star mostly had generic Toads as NPCs, a trend that seems to plague many newer Mario games as well. It doesn't help that the previous games had unique designs for the Toads, making this even worse. Due to all of this, fans have become sick of the Toad species as a whole, and want a game that takes back fan-favorite characters (like the Merlon family) and new ones, as well.
Bowser became divisive lately for breaking the streak of coming up with new villains for the Mario RPGs. However, his portrayal in Sticker Star was universally reviled, thanks to his screentime being reduced to appearing at the beginning, the Final Boss battle and the end of the game, as well as his total lack of dialogue and characterization, making him seem more like his dialogue-less appearances in the New Super Mario Bros. series as opposed to his usual hammy self in the Paper Mario series.
Oddly enough, basic combat has become this. Due to removing experience points and levels, most battles do not offer a real reward and as a result feel like padding. Battles can offer you money, and occasionally health and stickers, but you find the latter two in the levels themselves usually and you can find the former at the end of every level.
In combination with the two examples above, there is no option to skip your turn. This gets especially annoying in battles where you can't hurt the enemy that turn, boss battles, and the battles where your stickers are all turned into Sandal stickers. This leaves you with two choices, either waste a sticker or use the closest thing to a skip button, running away and hoping it fails. Running away successfully in a boss fight ends up infurating because not only have you wasted any stickers you used, you have to do the entire battle over.
The hammer. Getting the proper action command is just about up to luck, and there's little of a cue in order to use it. Of course, they're some of the more common items in the game.
Boss fights have a big problem: being Puzzle Bosses with too much emphasis on "puzzle". Either you don't have the appropriate Thing sticker, making them wipe the floor with you unless you prepared heavily, or you do have the appropriate Thing sticker, which weakens them so heavily that victory is nigh-guaranteed. Essentially, having skill and strategy to defeat bosses has been replaced with having the right item to win, and can make getting high-level stickers pointless. Also, with the exception of two bosses (one of which doesn't have a Thing weakness at all), there's only one type of Thing that can exploit the weaknesses, which compounds on the Guide Dang It. What makes matters worse is that even if you do go for a Self-Imposed Challenge and try to beat a boss without using their weakness, the game will basically note that you wasted a number of stickers and brings up that you should have used their weaknesses anyway.
Slow Paced Beginning: Those who like the game generally state that it doesn't really pick up until World 3. The first two worlds are the standard grasslands and desert, both being largely plotless and lacking much variation. World 3, in spite of its length, has a more interesting Bubblegloop Swamp environment, includes levels that deviate from the standard formula (including Rustle Burrow's Bag of Spilling mechanic and Stump Glade's game show), and it's the only world with an overarching plotline (retrieving Wiggler's parts and figuring out how to clean up the forest). Worlds 4 and 5 lose the overarching plot, but still keep adding new ideas to their themes (respectively, having an elaborate haunted house that portrays Boos as some sort of horror unleashed from a book and a minecart ride for a final dungeon; World 5 progresses from a fairly unique jungle setting with raft rides, to ruins, to a volcano).
So Okay, It's Average: Many elements of the game, including the dumbed-down gameplay, the paper-thin characterization, the "have the right item on you or die" mechanics behind most of the bosses, a grand total of one new character, and the handling of Bowser's characterization (or lack thereof) add up to the general fan and critical response to the game being a resounding "meh" (if not outright hating it), This wouldn't otherwise be notable if it weren't an installment in the highly acclaimed Paper Mario series. Overall it's considered an okay game when judged on its own, but does not fill the shoes ofThousand Year Door or, to a lesser extent, Super.
Kamek, especially the second fight against him. He transforms all of your stickers into flip-flops, so you better take note about which sticker was what, lest you use up some really valuable ones here. The first fight's not too bad, since he's alone. Come the second time, where he creates two clones of himself, change altitude so no attack will hit, and making a random sticker of yours disappear.
The Giant Cheep-Cheep at Surfshine Harbor. It starts off easy, but then the Cheep-Cheep dives into the water and recovers ALL its health, and remains in the water. At this point, you must use the Fishhook Thing (which happens to be decently well-hidden) to reel it out. Then, the Cheep-Cheep will start puffing up until it pops and kills itself, killing you too if you don't have armor.
The Final Boss, Bowser, even though it's, well, the final boss, is a ridiculous leap in difficulty from the World 5 boss. 5 phases, each of which require at least one Thing Sticker to make them at least manageable, and the boss is spiked. Even after following a guide to the letter to prepare for it, it is still extremely difficult.
That One Attack: Any boss attack that can crumple you. As well as being generally quite strong, they leave you unable to act for as many as four turns. That includes blocking and healing. Prepare to die.
World 3-9, Gaultlet Pond. Tricky jumps, maze-like structure, poison everywhere and the escort mission can be very infuriating if you manage to make the Wiggler segment drop, and having to go through the poisonous swamp and restart that part again.
World 3 in general, due to being nearly twice as long as Worlds 1 and 2 combinednote It also technically has more levels than the worlds combined, but the overlook and the treehouse are effectively rest areas. Still, ten is much larger than six or five, being so ridiculously dark it's tough to see, having annoying and creepy music, having poison absolutely everywhere, the Wiggler piece collection quest, and the tough boss at the end.
World 4-3, The Enigmansion. This level is terrifyingly long and confusing, only because you have to capture 100 Boos. Luckily some appear in groups during battle, but they're still hard. Most Boos have 18 HP total (a few of them have only 1 HP, though). Good luck trying to defeat the five Boos that fight you under a disco ball. Or the sheets of 82 Boos combined together. Once you've captured all 100 Boos, you put it back into the basement and... Kamek appears and turns the Boos into one big giant Boo. You'll either need tons of Spike Stickers, or any member of the vacuum family.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Along with Super Paper Mario, it's one of the games in which some fans aren't pleased with the gameplay changes. Interestingly enough, one of the major motivations for the development team after Miyamoto insisted on no story (or at the very least, minimal story) was to survey Club Nintendo members to see if they liked the story in the previous games. Not even 1% responded that they liked the story, and the response generated led the team to moving in more of the emphasis on paper. However, many have gone on to point out the many problems with this survey process, with the biggest offender being that the survey was limited to members of (and who regularly check) Club Nintendo. And considering that Paper Mario has a bit of a Periphery Demographic to begin with, it's not very surprising that most fans of the series claim to have never heard of this survey even existing. For that matter, it's reasonable to say that people who did do the survey thought it wasn't much more than a joke, considering how ridiculous the answer seems in context.
Surprisingly, Bowser falls under this to some. Despite his role as the Big Bad, he has no dialogue and barely features throughout the game. Considering this is the guy who delivered the infamous "It's Hag Vs Hag! Awesome!" line in TTYD, this is a bizarre omission. He can be a truly menacing and Bad Ass villain Depending on the Writer in games such as Super Mario Galaxy, and Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story proved that his Bad Ass side and hilarious side aren't mutually exclusive. Considering the personality Bowser displays through the rest of the Paper Mario series, this is really jarring. While Mario & Luigi: Dream Teampulled a similar trick, it's generally agreed that the game handled it much better in comparison to Sticker Star (even by detractors) by letting Bowser keep his hammy personality and by making Bowser's Big Bad status into an actual plot twist.
In an example where interesting characters who could have shown up didn't, one of the only restriction to useable characters in the game was they had to be from the main "Super Mario world". Despite this great chance for underused or obscure Mario characters to play a rolenote something that Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, the game's sequel of sorts, would ultimately fulfill, only generic Toadsnote only the "adult male variety" and Wiggler appear as important NPCs, with Birdo in a one-scene cameo. This wouldn't be so jarring, except other level archetypes usually associated with other characters or species also only have Toadsnote For example, Surfshine Harbor, a place that brings Piantas to mind by just its name. What's stranger is that Petey Piranha and Gooper Blooper, who debuted in the same game as the Piantas, do appear in this game. Meanwhile, the bestiary doesn't use any platforming enemies or bosses introduced beyond New Super Mario Bros. 1, when Super Mario Galaxy had been out for 2-3 years by the time this game started development.
Luigi, who was hit so hard with the Demoted to Extra hammer that he was left silent and mostly exists as a series of cameos to find. Considering his role in Super and how there's an entire sister subseries of Mario RPGs where he's the second playable lead, him not doing anything relevant here is especially bizarre.
The Woobie: Mizzter Blizzard, who was forced to either melt or go mad with a Royal Sticker's power. After Mario knocks some sense into him, he apologizes and seemingly melts. On the bright side, it's implied Mario could build him a new body in the future.