Paper Mario: Sticker Star

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Paper Mario: Sticker Star Game Poster Image
Quirky, fun Mario adventure is filled with clever concepts.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

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.

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 & Representations

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.


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

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Written byAnonymous January 15, 2020

I dunno what crackheads rated it two-star

It was a great game, tons of fun. My only regret is that it was too short.
Parent of a 12-year-old Written bytintinruaza July 24, 2015

Funny and cartoonish!

My kid played this game when she was 10. She said it was funny. Some mild fantasy violence when it's really funny.
Kid, 11 years old November 16, 2020

What’s with all the negative reviews ?

Paper mario sticker star is one of the funnest mario adventure games I’ve played. Not everyone will enjoy it but if you’ve played the others there’s no reason w... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bySavagx October 29, 2020

Why do people hate this game?

This was the first Paper Mario game I've ever played. And I really liked it. A lot! I don't understand why people hate it so much. Sure, it's not... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Mario and puzzle games

Themes & Topics

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