8.8: An inverted example. As the game is seen as "meh" by most critics and lambasted by the general public, IGN's score of 8.3/10 has unsurprisingly been controversial. The already insane backlash against them got even worse after Paper Jam. What score did they give it? 5.9. And then Color Splash, commonly viewed as a Surprisingly Improved Sequel, even if not by much, is awarded a 7.3/10. Ironically, the review said that it was a better game than Sticker Star, even though it gave the former a lower score than the latter.
Anti-Climax Boss: The Final Bossdouble-subverts this. In a game where every boss is ludicrous, but a joke if you play it the right way, it's easy to expect the last boss to be the same. Starting off, Bowser is just as ludicrous as every other boss at the start, and unlike them, borderline impossible without the right items. The final phase plays this straight, though. Bowser's giant, all of your attacks are reduced to Scratch Damage, and we've got jazzy guitar blaring in the background. Time for a Nintendo Hard boss... Oh, wait. That part lasted about 43 seconds because of you getting powered up. In a genre where final bosses are typically Marathon Bosses, this one is a joke in comparison and takes about 2 minutes to mop the floor with. Even more insulting, it's possible to take the fight Off the Rails and defeat Bowser without the11th Hour Superpower. With loads of Infinijumps and Super Boots, this way won't take long either.
Arc Fatigue: While generally considered one of the better parts of the game, World 3 drags on for way 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.
To be honest, World 6 as a whole is this. It only consists of three levels, when all of the previous worlds had at least five (for the record, World 3 had twelve), making it the shortest world in the entire game. On top of that, the first area, Gate Cliff, is barely passable as a level (even though the game lists it as 6-1), as it's a tiny area that only contains an interactive cutscene linking to the final areas 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 before the Final Boss. The only stage that's actually complicated and involved is Bowser Jr.'s Flotilla, and even then you would expect more than just that. Taking it even further, the final level was originally supposed to be a minigame gauntlet; whether or not this would have been better is up for debate.
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.
Fandom Berserk Button: If you say that this game is better than the first or third games, you will be harshly reprimanded. If you really want to start a Flame War, then say that the game is better than The Thousand-Year Door.
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.
Hype Backlash: Since the game was originally announced as a return to the original formula after Super Paper Mario, on top of the latter having one of the best stories in the entire Mario franchise, fans had very high expectations. Of course, with all the controversial changes and problems surrounding the game, it didn't stand a chance against fans' expectations. To put it mildly, saying that they were "extremely disappointed" is a massive understatement.
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 instead cried They Changed It, Now It Sucks, stating Miyamoto to be undermining 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...
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 also uses mostly Toads, but in multiple colors).
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 was actually the producer, Kensuke Tanabe.
Never Live It Down: The game has become this trope for the Paper Mario series, if not all Mario RPGs. No discussion or mention of either seems to be complete until at least one person describes this game's perceived shortcomings, even years later.
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.
Bowser has been divisive lately for breaking the trend 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. And because whether the mechanic works or not depends entirely on how the Random Number God is feeling, you can accidentally flee from boss fights. 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.
Along with the examples above, the Things themselves might be one of the most hated things about the game, since they greatly contribute to the game's glaring design flaws such as Guide Dang It! moments and boss fights becoming a joke when using the correct Thing. There's also the fact that they're incredibly overpowered even when it's not the effective one, as most will deal a ton of damage by default, making the point of getting high-level stickers pointless since you can easily win by just spamming Things in battle. There's also the Overly Long Fighting Animations that come with most Things, which can get old very quickly especially when spamming them.
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 response to the game being a resounding "meh" , 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.
That One Attack: Basically 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 for death.
That One Boss: Strangely, almost every main boss subverts this. Thanks to the Unstable Equilibrium that is the Thing weakness system, bosses will be absolutely ridiculous, sometimes bordering on SNK Boss territory... But use their weakness, and they become a joke. However, there are a couple bosses that are this either way.
Kamek, especially the last 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.
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 suffering from Arc Fatigue so bad that it's not an exaggeration to say that it's longer than Worlds 1 and 2 combined.note Okay, 2 of those levels are effectively rest areas, but you'll be backtracking all over the entire world and then some looking for the Wiggler segments. Also, the levels are loooooooong on their own. It's also so ridiculously dark it's tough to see, it has annoying and creepy music, 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.
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 mainly uses enemies or bosses introduced from New Super Mario Bros. 1 and backwards (with the exception of Scaredy Rats), 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 mammoth role in Super and how there's an entire other series of Mario RPGs where he's the second playable lead, him not doing anything relevant here is especially bizarre.
Tough Act to Follow: To Super Paper Mario, which funnily enough was also a Tough Act to Follow to The Thousand-Year Door, and by extension all of the previous games. In spite of the controversial gameplay, Super Paper Mario had a very complex and interesting storyline as well as multiple Ensemble Darkhorses that are widely seen as the game's main saving graces, similar to the first two games. Meanwhile, Sticker Star was initially announced as a return to the original formula, and given the previous game's excellent story, the game had very big shoes to fill. And when it was released, not only did the gameplay turn out to be completely different (and to most fans, even worse than that of Super) but the game had a very simplistic plot about Bowser kidnapping Peach, something that the first game did as well, but unlike that one it had little characterization, no real Character Development and most characters being generic male Toads, as opposed to the storytelling approach that the first three games had. Unsurprisingly, this led to a ton of backlash, and while Super Paper Mario had been Vindicated by History, Sticker Star had no such luck, which is cemented by the announcement of Color Splash being met with widespread disappointment, due to it following the same disliked formula as Sticker Star.
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.