'Paper Mario: Sticker Star' and the magic of 'paperization'

Paper Mario: Sticker Star impressions from PAX Prime 2012.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Mario's next paper thin adventure from Nintendo's Intelligent Systems, uses stickers for puzzle solving and card game-like combat, new gameplay elements that we had the chance to sample at PAX Prime this weekend.

Throughout the game, Mario will collect three-dimensional objects, then "paperize" them to create stickers that aid in solving puzzles and bypassing obstacles. In the very brief 3DS demo that Nintendo brought to PAX, Mario already had in his possession a giant electric fan. The relatively photorealistic render of a home appliance looked strangely out of place in the Paper Mario world — and we're not quite sure how Mario got his hands on the thing.

We had to use that fan to spin the blades of a windmill. It was blocking a door Mario needed to open, so we headed to a nearby Toad house to have the thing paperized. Select the fan from Mario's sticker book, toss it on a special wall to flatten it out, and that sticker was ready to be stuck. Back at the windmill, Mario applied the sticker to the background of the world — carefully flattening down the edges — and the wind kicked in.

You can see portions of that mini-puzzle in Paper Mario: Sticker Star's E3 trailer.

Sticker Star's combat plays much like previous Paper Mario games, with Mario battling enemies in turn-based battles that require light strategy and careful button press timing while attacking and defending. Attacks and power-ups in Sticker Star are all based on the stickers Mario has on a sheet shown in the 3DS' bottom screen, which players can acquire from enemies, power blocks, and chests.

The humor of the Paper Mario series appears to be well intact in Sticker Star, with surly, sassy Toads giving Mario what for in goofy dialects that rarely appear in core Mario games. Expect colorful characters and another opportunity for Nintendo's Treehouse gang to stretch their joke-writing skills.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star will be released on the Nintendo 3DS on November 11th in North America.

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