Review by Shivan Reincarnated

Reviewed: 01/16/07

Amusing at first but it gets boring towards the end. It simply cannot compare to Super Mario RPG and the two Paper Mario games

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga was a fairly enjoyable game. Unfortunately, mediocre is probably the best word that sums up the game. The game cannot simply compare to Super Mario RPG or the Paper Marios. But still, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is actually quite original. The whole setting takes place in the Beanbean kingdom which is a completely different kingdom than Mushroom kingdom. The story starts out as Cackletta who is the ambassador from the Beanbean kingdom, comes to visit the Mushroom kingdom. Cackletta then decides to steal Princess Peach’s lovely voice. After hearing about this, Mario teams up with both Luigi and Bowser to go save Peach. Bowser falls out the running very early on but still plays an important role. Mario and Luigi begin their journey in the strange Beanbean Kingdom. Mario is basically the same, there really wasn’t much personality going on with him. Luigi stole the show in that department by being the scared, pathetic brother. I really wonder when this negative Luigi image surfaced. Bowser is quirky in this game like he is in other Mario RPGs. Cackletta isn’t really anything to write home about but Fawful is. Fawful is the fan favorite from that game. The cast of character remains fairly good and the storyline is decent, even though there are some tedious fetch quests to make the game longer. The quirkiness is something that you need to love if you want to enjoy this game.

This game has some interesting game play aspects. This is an RPG but the only characters you’ll ever control are Mario and Luigi. It did get old with the same two characters the whole game. Just limiting the playable characters to Mario and Luigi did not make the game more enjoyable. The game is an RPG but it doesn’t contain random battles (fortunately). When you’re exploring the world you’ll see enemies and if you run into them, you’ll fight them. If you jump on them or use your hammer on them before they hit you, you’ll get a preemptive strike. But keep in mind the enemies can get preemptive strikes on you too. In battle, there are two types of attacks you can use. These attacks are solo attacks and bros. attacks. Solo attacks are quite self-explanatory; you can do ordinary attacks like jump or use the hammer. Bros attacks are more powerful but they use up BP. BP is Brothers Points and they act just like MP. These attacks require the use of both Mario and Luigi so if one of them is knocked out, it will not work. Timing plays a vital role in both types of attacks. If you’ve played Super Mario RPG you’ll know of how the timing works. Timing is especially important with bros. attacks because you will have to press several buttons at a certain time to do the maximum damage. Like Super Mario RPG, these timing tricks are learned very easily in a rather short amount of time. Different attacks will require some different timing though so be wary.

Mario and Luigi will be forced to use a variety of techniques outside of battle too. Mario and Luigi will have their distinct bros abilities which can do many things. Examples of these outside abilities could include the high jump or the spinning hover jump. There also abilities to be used with the hammers you acquire too. Mario and Luigi can be hit with a hammer by the other brother to turn very small. The abilities become very necessary throughout the course of the game. Personally, while they were entertaining at first, these limited outside abilities become very repetitive. Almost all the puzzles in this game revolve around these abilities and it does become very annoying towards the end. I guess the problem is that there was too much emphasis placed on these abilities. They weren’t some amazing new idea. However, the game still needed them because trekking across the overworld would have been much more boring.

You will also have a suitcase in this game. Yes, Mario and Luigi have become more sophisticated. In the suitcase you can find information on levels and stats and also carry and equip badges. Badges are useful in this game because they are the accessories to enhance Mario and Luigi’s performance. Badges and gear can be bought in shops or found around the world but overall the equipment function is probably too simple. Really, it’s quite primitive.

The game is alright graphically. Personally, I thought there wasn’t a whole lot of colored variety. There was a lot of green and yellow. Besides that though, Mario and Luigi looked up to par. Bowser looked like a pissed bulldog and I don’t know what the hell Fawful was supposed to be but I guess that’s where the more quirky, cartoonish aspect of the graphical department comes into play. The expressions in this game are what you’d expect from a light-hearted game like this. This game doesn’t have some dark, urgent, broody plot. It’s just a fun little game that isn’t meant to be taken seriously. As for the soundtrack, it’s okay I guess. There’s nothing really amazing but you’d expect that from Nintendo. Despite this, most of the songs in this game are still good just not extraordinary. As for the sounds, they were expectedly simple and cartoon-like. I don’t really have a problem with that for a game such as this but that type of implementation isn’t going to make the sound seem wonderful. The game is fairly short and that is very disappointing. However, it is supposedly longer than Partners in Time. That just makes Partners in time look really bad. The game is sure to put classic Mario themes in this like the Koopa kids and Birdo. Also, the game is fairly easy but there are some battles where you really have to time it well. This made the game more of a challenge and in a good way. The replay isn’t that good though. I tried to play it again and it was boring. So to spend 30 dollars on a short game with bad replay value may not be a wise investment…

Scoring Breakdown:

Storyline: 8/10
Game Play: 6/10
Graphics: 7/10
Soundtrack: 7/10
Difficulty/Replay/Length: 7/10

Overall: 35/50 = 70% = C.

This game is nothing special. People like to say that this game is “absolutely hilarious.” Perhaps that is the case if you’re 10 years old. I’ll admit there are a few funny moments that will make you grin but assuming you’re above the age I mentioned, you aren’t going to be rolling on the floor laughing your ass off. I liked that the location was in a whole new area but there was still a lack of diversity in the environments. The game play was somewhat interactive but it got old really fast. A major reason for this is the lack of diversity in characters. If you’re going to have an RPG, you should have more than two characters the entire game. At least the Paper Mario games had a slew of characters to choose from. Another reason is that Mario and Luigi were virtually identical. They could both jump and both use hammers. Somebody really dropped the ball on the creativity department. The game was also short and lacked replay value. This is a very bad combination when determining whether or not the game is worth buying. However, despite it’s many flaws there were still some positive points to this game. The game was light-hearted and was actually fairly unique for a Mario game. The cast of characters in this game were very memorable. The simplicity of this game is probably what causes it to be mediocre. While the game wasn’t terrible, it can’t even begin to compare to super Mario RPG or the two Paper Mario games.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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