Paper Mario 3DS review Mario's RPG outings rarely fall short of excellence. They are indisputably, universally brilliant, funny and clever, half sarcastic nonsense and the rest intelligent turn-based (mostly) RPG combat and adventuring.
They're like those heartening, wry university professors off the telly, all maturity and tweed with decades of experience behind them, but simultaneously light-hearted enough to mock themselves. Except, instead of a silly tie and maths jokes, we get a protagonist who speaks as though he's been badly translated and relentless Luigi-satirising stick for being the lesser-known brother.
Humour, then, is close to Paper Mario's heart, and while Mario RPGs have appeared on Game Boy Advance and DS before (in the guise of the Mario & Luigi games), Paper Mario on 3DS marks the first time the paper-facing series has properly appeared on handheld.
It uses the format to incredible effect too, presenting the Mushroom Kingdom as a sort of colourful pop-up book world and its inhabitants as paper-thin, breeze-fearing cut-outs.
Stickers must be unstuck, or collected as a means of filling in scenery later on - collect a bridge sticker, for example, and it will later allow you to cross a river.
It's A Stick-Up
Stickers are also used in combat to unleash special moves - everything from screen-slicing, enemy-destroying scissors to basic head stomps and hammer strikes, with Mario consulting his handy sticker book before each attack.
Additional stickers can be purchased in shops, while a handful of powerfully destructive attacks have been revealed, such as the giant, screen-dominating desk fan that rises from behind the horizon, whipping enemies into the sky in a blustery maelstrom of pulp and papercuts.
We're guessing it's not a sticker you'll be whipping out very often, but when you do it's guaranteed to be quite the spectacle.
Combat itself is a return to classic, encounter-style fights. Come into contact with an enemy in a level and you'll be thrown into a battle arena with them, taking turns to dish out as much damage as possible.
It's here that some of the rare stickers come in handy, such as the Frog Suit, which allows you to bounce along the noggins of multiple enemies in a single attack. Some enemies can be avoided while others will do their utmost to force you into a scrap, but pre-emptively stomp on an enemy while in the level and you'll get a few bonus digs in at the start of the battle as a reward.
A slot machine-style Battle Chance minigame will sometimes cough up preliminary prizes before a fight, gracing you with various different potential advantages.
With a release date of 2012, much of Mario's flatland adventure remains under wraps. We're still in the dark as to exactly what the plot entails - a few hints point towards an thoroughly unsurprising Bowser-based threat.
We're also unsure whether or not some of the systems of previous games will make their way to Paper Mario 3DS, such as the popular partners, who'd fight alongside you in battle and offer up unique special moves and plot-progressing abilities.
With an art style that arguably fits the 3DS better than any other game we could mention, Paper Mario 3DS could stand to be the format's most visually enticing game yet. But whether or not it can recapture the sideways absurdity of previous Mario RPGs is pivotal to its success.
If there's not at least one gag about Luigi being a useless lanky sod we'll be very disappointed.