Paper Mario: Sticker Star

Common Sense Media says

Quirky, fun Mario adventure is filled with clever concepts.






What parents need to know

Positive messages

Its simple story is founded on basic themes of courage and bravery. Play involves mild cartoon violence, but also forces kids to think hard to figure out a wide variety of contextual puzzles, resulting in a good bit of brain exercise.   

Positive role models

Mario is, as usual, a hero on a mission to rescue a princess. He helps lots of other characters along the way, and restores a village destroyed by arch nemesis Bowser. Kids can't emulate the sorts of things he does onscreen, but they may take a cue from his perpetual endeavor to offer assistance to those in need.

Ease of play

Controls for running, jumping, and selecting attacks in turn-based battles are simple enough, but some of the game's puzzles can be quite tricky. There are times when there is no obvious way forward, and kids will need to experiment to figure out what the game wants of them. Luckily, they can tap the left shoulder button at any time for a hint that should help them work out what needs to be done in a particular area. Still, there could be times when they get stuck.


Like other Mario games, players hop on koopa troopas, squish goombas with a hammer, kick buzzy beetles, and toss bombs that explode with a flash of light. The action is highly cartoonish, and characters are simply knocked off screen when defeated.

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This game is part of Nintendo's enormous Mario franchise, and will likely spark kids' interest in other games starring everyone's favorite plumber.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Privacy & safety
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Paper Mario: Sticker Star is a cartoonish action game starring papery versions of the Mario crew. It employs a turn-based combat system that's a little more complex than you might expect, but its mild cartoon violence is about on par with most other Mario games (think: squished goombas, kicked koopa troopas). Mario is the same brave, helpful hero he's always been, and he encounters plenty of clever puzzles that force kids to stop, take stock of their situation, and think for a while to figure out how to proceed.  Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.

What kids can learn


Language & Reading

  • reading


Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • strategy
  • applying information

Emotional Development

  • moving beyond obstacles
  • persevering

Engagement, Approach, Support


This is one of the most original and entertaining games yet made for Nintendo 3DS. Its clever, two-dimensional aesthetic is striking, and the sticker theme is genius. Most kids will love it. 

Learning Approach

Kids can learn about puzzle solving and strategy through observation and experimentation. Players are required to analyze situations and use logic to deduce how to progress. 


Kids can tap a button at any time for a hint, but there could be times when they get stuck. Their best bet will be to seek support from friends or seek out online walkthroughs.

What kids can learn


Language & Reading

  • reading


Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • strategy
  • applying information

Emotional Development

  • moving beyond obstacles
  • persevering

Kids can learn about puzzle solving and strategy in this fun, conundrum-filled adventure starring the world's most famous video game character. Players encounter environment-based puzzles that require them to analyze the situation and take stock of their repertoire of abilities, using logic to deduce what needs to be done in order for them to progress. Plus, turn-based battles require a degree of strategy. By combining the collecting of stickers with using them to battle and fix the environment, kids use logic while gaming.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

Parents say

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Kids say

What's it about?

Mario stars as a piece of paper in PAPER MARIO: STICKER STAR, an unusual hybrid of platforming action, RPG-style battles, and contextual puzzle solving. The game begins with Bowser crashing a sticker festival held in a town made of paper. He kidnaps Princess Peach and leaves the village and its two-dimensional townsfolk in shambles. Mario helps to restore the village, then heads out on an adventure through flattened forests and deserts in search of royal stickers that will help him save the princess. Stickers play an important roll throughout the game. Mario collects them to use in turn-based combat, choosing between stickers including boots, hammers, and bombs to attack his enemies. He also uses them to restore parts of the environment, placing bridge and gate stickers to open access to new areas. Players will end up using thousands of stickers in combat and to accomplish various objectives over the course of this lengthy, 15 to 20-hour adventure.

Is it any good?


Like its Paper Mario precursors, Paper Mario: Sticker Star stands well apart from other games headlined by Nintendo's iconic plumber. The game's clever and attractive two-dimensional aesthetic is striking. When paper Mario turns, for example, he virtually disappears for a split second as we see only his edge. Plus, evolving the series' paper theme to focus on stickers -- those collectible adhesives beloved by children of all ages -- is genius. Players get to peel them off walls and floors in satisfying fashion to reveal goodies and hidden rooms, then stick them back down to solve puzzles within the environment, smoothing out their edges with the circle pad. It feels great.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star isn't perfect -- you can expect to do a lot of backtracking and losing battles simply because you haven't collected the proper stickers to effectively defeat a specific type of enemy. But it's still one of the most original and entertaining games yet made for Nintendo's stereoscopic handheld. Don't miss it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about solving problems with ideas rather than anger. When you get in arguments with friends, do you try to see the issue from their side? Do you think maybe there's a way that both of you can be happy, even if you don't agree or get exactly what you want?  

  • What do you like about Mario games?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo 3DS
Available online?Not available online
Release date:November 11, 2012
Topics:Princesses and fairies, Adventures
ESRB rating:E for Mild Cartoon Violence (Nintendo 3DS)

This review of Paper Mario: Sticker Star was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 9 years old December 16, 2014

Paper Mario Sticker Star

Paper Mario Sticker Star is a good video game. It is easy for a bit and then wham! the difficulty goes from easy to super hard. So I wouldn't recommend it for 6 and 7 year olds unless they are awesome gamers. The violence in this game is only very mild cartoon violence.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use


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