Apart from having a completely exacerbated name, the latest Mario & Luigi (and Bowser?) game on the 3DS/New 2DS system is a complete joy to play. Beautiful graphics on the portable system, with a brilliant and addictive remake of the original GBA RPG classic that fuses Superstars & Bowsers Minions together in a fun and beautiful way that makes this classic new again. The port benefits from the controls layout of the new 3DS/New 2DS system while still capturing the Japanese RPG gameplay syle that both games benefit from the dual screen touch screen system.
Regrettably I was late to the GBA craze (a proud Sega man! Game Gear 4 lyfe!) so I never had the joy of playing the original games. Rest assured I have been hounded by fans of the original assuring me that this game has stood the test of time and is definitely improved on the new system. Superstar Saga is a bright and beautiful romp especially when in comparison to Minions, a dull and near lifeless affair that feels like fan service rather than a full fledged game with life and attention been given to it.
The story is pretty standard Mario fare, Princess Peach is in trouble, Bowser is involved, things get messy and Mario and Luigi team up to rescue her and confusingly Bowser teams up with you as well as does most of his minions except the Goomba’s for some unexplained and weird reason. While the story breaks no new ground (and some slack has to be given due to the game’s original release date) The dialogue and banter is full of puns which makes for a rather enjoyable experience at times.
Gameplay wise the RPG element is pretty much jumping, with an added move of timing your jumps correctly to get in an extra jump and to deal more damage on your opponent. Another element of the battle is also dodging and blocking surprise attacks from enemies and it was this kind of adventure that kept me glued to the game. This is direct comparison to Minions which has a real-time strategy game style complete with quick time events and pressing a certain button when prompted. The inability to be able to defend your commander in battle is frustrating and the repetitive and grindy nature of the gameplay is a detriment to the game.
The good news is that playing Minions is entirely optional and while it does pale in comparison to the Superstar Saga, the gameplay experience as a whole is still worthwhile. It’s been a while since we were able to sink into a really good Mario game on the 3DS/new 2DS system and this definitely fills the void. The gorgeously restored graphics are worth the price of admission alone, along with some campy fun dialogue, Mario RPG action and dual control with both Mario and Luigi make for a skilled challenge on the portable system to be treasured. If you are a newbie (like me) or a seasoned pro this is one of the best Mario games I have ever played and highly recommend it for a non platforming Mario experience.
Mario & Luigi : Superstars & Bowser’s Minions is available for 3DS/New 2DS now.
The game was reviewed on the NEW 2DS system with a review copy from Nintendo.