Review by Super Slash
"Mario is not alone this time...Luigi joins him in this exciting RPG for the Game Boy Advance!"
This game is one of the few RPGs in the Mario franchise, and it certainly didn't fail. Not to mention that it's on the GBA, which makes it even better, since it's portable! If you like RPGs or Mario games, get this game. You won't regret it.
It is a peaceful day in the Mushroom Kingdom. One day, someone from the Beanbean Kingdom, named Lady Lima, goes to the Mushroom Kingdom to deliver Princess Peach a gift. Lady Lima is from the Beanbean Kingdom, which isn't related to the Mushroom Kingdom at all. Upon opening the gift, gas sprays into Princess Peach's face, then Lady Lima's underling sucks away the gas! She reveals herself to be Cackletta, the dark witch of the Beanbean Kingdom, and she just stole Peach's voice! As Cackletta and her underling Fawful run away, Toad rushes to Mario's house to tell him the news. Mario rushes off to go on another adventure, and he takes Luigi with him, who was doing the laundry. Bowser wants to get Peach's voice back so he can kidnap her later, so he helps Mario and Luigi reach the Beanbean Kingdom. Now it is up to the brothers to get Peach's voice back!
The gameplay is pretty good. It's different than that of Super Mario RPG, but it plays more like the first two Paper Mario games. Throughout the whole game, you have to control both Mario and Luigi. You can either make Mario or Luigi the person you're controller. The brother behind you will always follow you. Pressing A performs an action for the front brother, while B performs an action for the back brother. Pressing L and R switches the actions for both brothers, which you'll learn several of throughout the game. You'll have to put all these actions to use as you go through the game, and you can even use your jump and hammer to get the first strike on enemies. In a battle, you have choices to either run, attack with one brother, use a Bros. Attack (which both brothers use), or use items. Bros. Attacks are the best choice for really difficult enemies and bosses, otherwise Solo attacks are the better choice. When enemies attack, watch how they move. Depending on how they move or what their facial expression is, they'll attack either Mario or Luigi. You have to study their patterns, then use your hammer or jump to avoid the attack at the right time.
Also, if you time your dodging right, you could also hit the enemy for minimal damage. Each time you level up, you get to choose a stat to upgrade. Some of your stats automatically upgrade after each level up. When you select a stat, a roulette wheel thing starts. Press A to stop it, and hope it lands on a good number. The stat will go up by whatever number you got. Leveling up isn't that difficult in this game, and neither is battling, but the game is still very fun. Using the techniques you learn outside of battle, you can open up new areas, doors, and such. This is new to the Mario RPGs, as you've never learned new abilities to use outside of battle before. That's another thing that makes this game one of the best on the GBA. Also, in this game is something new, known as the Starbean's Cafe. In there, you can blend some drinks by using the beans you've collected throughout the game. The most common of the beans is the Chuckle Bean, which you'll more than likely find plenty of by the end of the game.
There are also invisible item blocks in this game, just like in Super Mario RPG. However, this time, they contain nothing but beans. There are four types of beans, and most of them are pretty hard to find, so look carefully! If you notice a ledge that has nothing on it and leads to nothing, get on it and jump everywhere. You might reveal a hidden block, so keep trying in these spots until you find some. In the Starbean's Cafe, you can also mix beans to make different blends. The coffee blends will permenantly increase your stats by a certain amount. Each time you get a blend, Professor E. Gadd comes and tastes a sample of it. Then, he gives you an accessory to equip on one of the brothers. Some accessories are good, while others aren't really worth equipping. Conserve your beans, and mix them to make even better drinks, because some beans are really hard to come by. There are also several Monty Moles throughout the game. They are yellow moles that can talk, and wear sunglasses.
Monty Moles are usually well-hidden somewhere throughout the Beanbean kingdom. Each time you find one, talk to it and he'll give you an item or two. Sometimes, they can really give you useful items, such as the Red Pepper and Green Pepper. There are many Monty Moles in this game, so it'll be difficult to find them all without using a guide. They're in no way required, however. You also have to go through a stage of some sort, and it's just like the old Super Mario Bros. games! You usually find these before finding a Monty Mole, but you also go through one of them during the final level. You have to avoid obstacles and such until you reach the end. If you touch an obstacle or something that would hurt you in general, you'll have to restart from the beginning of the stage. They aren't long, though, and certainly aren't that hard. But they're fun, and always worth trying out! There are also many mini-games that you'll be forced to play throughout the game, although one mini-game comes to mind that is entirely optional.
Most of the mini-games aren't that fun, but they're really easy. There are some hard ones that you'll have to play in order to progress further in the story, unfortunately, but it shouldn't take you too long to clear them. One mini-game even has Geno as the rule instructor, of the Super Mario RPG fame. This is the only Mario game so far that features Geno, besides Super Mario RPG. Overall, the gameplay in this game is great, and I'm pretty sure you'll feel the same way. You will feel like you're playing a whole new RPG, even though the battle system is similar to that of the Paper Mario series.
The graphics are good for a Game Boy Advance game. They are 2D, just like most of the other RPGs in the Mario franchise. The game has really good color, and fit the GBA perfectly. All of the scenery and characters are nice, and this game has overall good graphics.
The sounds in the game are pretty good, as well. They do not get annoying or tiring, either. Each time you select a different action, Mario or Luigi will say the action you select (for example, if you select the Jump action, Mario/Luigi will say "Jump!"). Certain characters also make sounds sometimes when or before they speak, such as Cackletta cackling and Fawful laughing. Overall, the sound is great, and is nothing annoying or tiring, and fits this game well.
I love the music in this game. A few soundtracks are pretty good, such as the final level theme, the semi-final battle theme, the boss theme, and much more. There are about four different types of boss battle themes in total, however. Sometimes the music isn't that great, but most of the time it is decent or simply really good. I could just sit and listen to some of the soundtracks all day in this game, and they're overall great, especially for a GBA game.
Replay Value: 8/10
I honestly thought that the replay value was good in this game. I started playing the game in September of 2006, and I've already beaten it several times since then! Once you beat the game once, you can always go back and find all the Monty Moles throughout the game, or you could go and find beans so that you can blend them at the Starbean's Cafe. Heck, you could even fight the final boss again, or even restart your own file. Overall, you can find a few things to do in this game after beating it.
After reviewing this whole game, I give it a score of a nine out of ten. It's overall a fantastic game, and I highly recommend it for any Mario or RPG fan. If you like the Paper Mario series, you really won't go wrong with this one. I suggest buying it, as you probably will like it. Otherwise, just borrow it from a friend and see if you like it, and if you do, buy it as soon as you can! I hope you enjoyed this review, and I hope that it helped you decide whether or not to get this game. Until my next review, everyone!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/25/07
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