Hello and welcome the return of What’s The Difference, where I take two things and try to analyze them and see which is better or worse. The series has been on hiatus for a while now because of personal reasons, but now that everything’s back to normal I’m ready to bring it back, and we’re going to start with… Oh crap why…
For those of you who don’t know, Super Paper Mario and Sticker Star are the more divisive Paper Mario games shall we say, in fact majority of the internet downright hates Sticker Star. This blog has been a long time coming, because I’m tired of the bitching, so I’m putting my opinion out there in five categories: Graphics, Sound, Gameplay, Difficulty, and Replayability. With that out of the way, please don’t kill me, it’s not like you can grab me through your computer screen anyway HAHAHA…
For an early Wii title, Super Paper Mario still looks pretty good, of course it has the Paper Mario look that the series is known for. The environments range from bright and colorful to bleak and grim and the environments complement each chapter very well. A lot of things seem to just ‘pop’ in this game, sometimes literally, and while flipping to 3D doesn’t offer much variety, the 2D environments more than make up for it.
Sticker Star is a very pretty game to look at on the 3DS, with or without the 3D turned on. Sticker Star easily utilizes the paper aspect more than any other game, everything from the clouds to the water are paper, it’s actually very neat seeing all of this in 3D (If 3D doesn’t kill your eyes). Ultimately I have to give this to Sticker Star, because it gets creative with what it can show you, taking the idea of the Mario world being nothing but paper and really showing us how it can be done.
Winner: Sticker Star
While both Super Paper Mario and Sticker Star’s soundtracks can’t compare to the original and Thousand Year Door, both have pretty good soundtracks overall. Super has a lot more somber music to go along with the tone of the game, which has a more dramatic feel. Sticker Star’s soundtrack has a more jazzy tone to it, it makes the game seem a lot more upbeat and alive compared to its Wii counterpart. The majority of the soundtrack is mostly jazzy, but there’s some rock in there as well. Overall, I can’t choose between the two because while the soundtracks are good, I’ll forget them both and just listen to the first two Paper Mario soundtracks.
Oh boy, this is where everyone is going to come for my guts, because I’m going to dissect both gameplay styles and hopefully you won’t get mad and punch your computer. Super Paper Mario’s gameplay is an action platformer that allows you to flip from 2D to 3D and has you traveling through eight chapters. This is where my fondness for Super Paper Mario goes way down. The RPG element that you know and love? Gone and replaced by a very easy platformer, easier than the New Super Mario Bros. games I might add! And don’t sit there and tell me about the item system, or that one part in chapter seven, because it doesn’t make up for the lack of RPG elements. First off, it didn’t make sense for Super to be a platformer, when Super Mario Galaxy was coming out in the same year! Secondly, it’s the easiest Mario RPG out of all of them, most of the gameplay consist of going left of right, pressing the two button to kill something, applying that to the boss, rinse and repeat. Third, the bosses are too easy, none of the bosses really put up a challenge against you, it’s just press two to win. And finally, the most frustrating part of the gameplay: Getting lost. It’s very easy to get lost in Super Paper Mario, this is what I consider a Guide game, which is using a guide throughout the entire game because you get so lost without it. This problem doesn’t rear its ugly head until halfway through the game, and that’s when not only does the game get longer, but harder to navigate. Because of all of these problems, I have only beaten the game once and have no plans to complete it for a while. For all of the things Super does right, it gets the most important thing wrong, and it gets it so wrong, all of the other things don’t matter. With all the positives it has, the one big negative outweighs everything else.
Sticker Star’s gameplay can be summed up in two words: bare bones. There’s not much to Sticker Star when it comes to gameplay, but it knows what it wants to be. And for those who are going to complain that the coin system is useless, let me break it down: You fight an enemy, get coins, repeat it for a while, eventually you’ll have enough to supply yourself with some useful stickers, get perfect bonus which gets you even more coins to use for stickers, then use the more powerful stickers to beat up more powerful enemies and eventually bosses. And don’t give me that excuse of you can just pick up stickers on the ground because that only works for so long, and you can’t get some of the most powerful stickers that way! Yes the gameplay is very simple, but unlike Super, there’s at least an RPG element there at all. Both games have their flaws, but I have to give it to Sticker Star because all of its flaws are out in the open, Super’s flaws rear their ugly heads as the game progresses and its flaws are hiding behind a good story, but get past the story and the games’ problems come out in the open.
Winner: Sticker Star
In terms of difficulty, neither games are that hard, the most challenging things in both games are post game side quests. Super’s main game doesn’t have much difficulty, with the bosses being really easy, the hardest stuff comes from the side quest missions: Pit of 100 Trials, Sammer Kingdom challenge, etc. Other than some long side quests, Super Paper Mario doesn’t have much challenge in the grand scheme of things. It’s pretty much the same for Sticker Star, exepct for one important aspect: The bosses are quite challenging. Sticker Star gave me my first death in a Mario RPG in a long time, so that’s saying something. All of the bosses were tough, but it wasn’t until I fought Bowser that I had tasted defeat. Other than that, Sticker Star is the same as Super, some side quest to give you a challenge, but that’s it. With the only difference being that it has some tough boss fights, I have to give it to Sticker Star for putting up somewhat of a fight.
Winner: Sticker Star
When it comes to replayability there’s not much in either game because after the main story is done, you really can’t do much. Sure in Super you have the Pit and the Sammer Kingdom, but what else is there to do? Same goes for Sticker Star, after the story all that’s left is the museum and the sound test, which is pretty lame by the way. In my opinion, I’d rather watch someone play Super Paper Mario and play Sticker Star myself. I have no desire to go through having to stop in the middle of the game to make sure I’m not lost in Super, with Sticker Star, I enjoy my time coming back and playing it, but if you want to really play a Paper Mario game, you’re better off with the first two.
At the end of the day, I have to say that I think Sticker Star is better than Super Paper Mario. I applaud Sticker Star for trying its own thing, and while it has plenty of problems, none of them make me want to stop playing altogether. Super Paper Mario while a fine game, makes the mistake of trying to be different and ultimately comes off as tedious, boring, and frustrating. Yes it has the darkest story in the Paper Mario series, yes it has good characters and such, but for all it does right it falters when it comes to the most important part of a game, and it makes Super Paper Mario inferior to Sticker Star in my opinion. Only hardcore Paper Mario fans should try these two games, otherwise you’re better off playing the N64 Paper Mario or Thousand Year Door.
If you haven’t try to find me and whip me, tell me why I’m wrong in the comments, I know you guys are waiting to tear me a new one so bring it on. I do ask that you not be assholes to one another, there’s no need to tear each other’s heads off.