What is wrong with me? I’ve traded out one extremely challenging game for the time being–Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner Overclocked–for another. Namely Paper Mario: Sticker Star. Though those two games differ quite dramatically in what makes them challenging: one demands a clearly strategic mindframe that needs precise execution to equal success, and the other asks you to know things you probably couldn’t ever know unless you looked them up in an online walkthrough. Like I did last night. To find the third Wiggler segment, so that I could keep playing. Whatever.
Originally, I purchased Sticker Star the same time I got Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, with Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion following shortly thereafter. That was both a great and troubling time for my Nintendo 3DS, as it meant I had to pick something to play and stick with it lest I fall down the rabbit hole of dabbling in everything, but getting nowhere. At this point, I’ve now completed Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (yay!) and Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion (boo!), but that didn’t mean I jumped back into our paper-thin Mario’s latest adventure. No, instead, I journeyed through Pokemon White 2 and then made the, as readers know, futileness attempt to get further in Devil Summoner Overclocked. But since that last game has broken my spirit a bit, I’m now back to peeling stickers off walls and filling out the museum like an addict.
Despite my save slot showing that I have logged around eight or so hours, I am not very far in Sticker Star. I’ve opened up the forest world on the left and the desert world to the right, but only have one collected jeweled crown in my book. As well as one piece of “scrap” and three pages of random items, like a lighter, boom box, and giant fan. I’m unsure of how to progress further in the desert-themed levels, especially how to get to the alternate exit in one specific level, and so instead of just spinning my wheels there I popped over to the forest world to see what still needed to be done. Seems like that adorable Wiggler is still missing two segments to his body, and one of them is located in the Bafflewood level, which riffs heavily on Zelda‘s recurring Lost Woods; it’s a giant maze, one that is endless unless you know the right path to take, which you can highlight by place stickers next to specific path exits. I already beat this level, having marked the true path, but no matter how many times I went through it or tried a different way to move here or there, I could not locate the Wiggler’s body segment. For the previous two segments, you could always spy them hiding in the open. Boo, wah.
And so I was forced to look up an online walkthrough, which told me that to locate the Wiggler’s third body segment you have to first go right, then left, then right, and then right once more. Not sure how I was ever in the world to know that, unless a Toad said something I missed. If I did miss some key dialogue, then sure, my fault. I came back to a videogame I haven’t played in a few months and acted a fool. I also had the sound lowered as Tara was watching her new Netflix obsession Monarch of the Glen, which means I might have bypassed some audio clues. However, if not, that kind of puzzle solution is just obtuse. There are no clues, no nudges in that direction; the entire time you explore the Bafflewood, any exit that is not the true exit drops you back to the beginning, and so you are taught early on to follow a single path. This puzzle breaks that mentality, but doesn’t tell you. Just assumes you’ll do it eventually.
Anyways, after all that Wiggler-rebuilding (the fourth and final segment was easy enough to find and rescue), I was able to get up to the third world’s boss, which is a large, poison-filled squid with something like 300 HP, only to have Mario’s butt kicked swiftly and efficiently. The squid’s poison attack not only weakens Mario, but also obstructs the screen, kind of like it did in Mario Kart DS, to the point that it’s hard to tell how much HP Mario has left and whether or not using a Mushroom is needed this turn. Not sure what I did wrong attack-wise, but I suspect I need stronger, shinier stickers to really make the damage count early on. Will try again, and then I guess it’s back to the desert world unless a fourth world of levels opens up after taking down the squid boss. Until then…