Our favorite short Italian man, reinvented.
The Pitch: It’s Mario doing what he does best – jumping on things and making life hard for psycho dinosaur Bowser and his ongoing desire to be the Big Cheese in the Mushroom Kingdom.
What It Really Is: It’s the next incarnation of Mario in paper guise, so all the action takes place in wafer-thin 2D rather than squidgy, fat textured polygon 3D graphics. Previous Paper Mario titles used role-playing elements blended with Pokémon-style, turn-based arena battles to make up the game play, but Sticker Star trashes the RPG elements and focuses its gluey energy on asking players to collect bags of hidden stickers. Once found, the plucky plumber has to figure out which to use to defeat the many acid-casualty baddies that litter the levels, or use them to crack brain-busting puzzles. As ever with Mario titles, it’s a lush, slick set of worlds that the plumber operates within (especially with the machine’s 3D cranked up) and it’s also a terrifically well-presented outing. Sure, the plot’s thinner than the stickers Mario has to collect, but it’s still irresistibly fun. It’s also darn big, so you’re not going to just sail through in a couple of sessions.
Fun Fact: Before he got the handle "Mario," the game’s star was called Jumpman, Mr Video, and Ossan (Japanese for middle-aged man). Apparently Mario came from some wag at Nintendo of America’s head office, who noticed that their mustachioed Italian landlord Mario Segale resembled the plumber.
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