Review: Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

I only recently started getting into RPGs.  When I was younger, I thought the concept was long, boring, and just not for me.  I only really liked Pokemon because of the cool monsters.  Then, I got the 3DS remake of Ocarina of Time and my outlook on these types of games totally changed.  Now I can see how RPGs can be fun.  It’s with this thought in mind that I picked up Mario & Luigi:  Superstar Saga, the old Game Boy Advance game.

A new threat has come to the Mushroom Kingdom in the form of the evil Cackletta.  She’s stolen Princess Peach’s voice for some nefarious purpose.  It’s up to the famous Mario Bros. to journey to the BeanBean Kingdom in order to get it back.  Twists and turns abound, meaning this is one adventure that isn’t as simple as just getting to the castle…

The story and humor are probably the highest points of this game.  Its a fantastically funny game with great comedic timing.  The characters know just when to fall over, just when to pull a wacky face, just when to say some kinda witty one-liner to make me laugh every time.  The story is also not as straightforward as most Mario games (where you simply save the princess from the bad guys).  In fact, a few of the twists caught me off guard completely.

The artwork is very good as well.  Everything looked very cartoony, of course, but the setting and characters still feel like they had a weight to them.  For example, when you’re getting Mario or Luigi to smack a rock with a hammer, you can almost feel the crack of the rock in your own hands.  The character designs were fantastic as well, including the hilarious residents of the BeanBean Kingdom.

As to the game play, the word of the day is “tedious.”  The puzzles, while at times creative, felt like they were repeated ad nauseam.  The enemies had some variety to them but once you’ve seen them once you’re sure to see them about a dozen or so more times.  And the bosses.  Dear lord, the bosses.  The bosses are long, tedious, and rage-to-the-point-of-wanting-to-punch-something hard.  I believe part of the problem might be that I was underleveled for most of them (which means, yes, you need to level grind like crazy in this game).  Still, even if I had been the correct level, the dodge mechanic, the attack mechanic, all of it just felt long and boring after a while.  The bosses always put a damper on an otherwise pleasant experience.

Despite the tedium, this game was still a lot of fun.  The characters were funny and well designed.  The world was interesting to explore with a lot of different areas.  The puzzles, while repetitive later on, did get me to think.  It’s a fun game, but be prepared for a lot of grinding and horrendously tedious bosses (ESPECIALLY the final boss, may she rot in Hell).  I will definitely play Partners in Time when I’m able to get my hands on it, but I will go in ready to grind my butt off… Wait, that sounded wrong…


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