Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga was the first of many games in the Mario & Luigi series. It was released back in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance and was a critical success. This game is a remake of the original with updated graphics, a slightly upgraded combat system and the addition of a new side quest titled “Minion Quest”. While the title of the game is a bit of a tongue twister let’s find out if this game is a worthwhile pick-up to newcomers or for players who have played the original.
As with most Mario games Mario is usually tasked with rescuing Peach from Bowser with some added twist. In the case of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minons the game has Mario working alongside Bowser to rescue Peach’s voice that was stolen by Cackletta, an evil witch, and her minion Fawful. Yes, you heard correctly, they stole her voice. As cheesy as it sounds it lends to the games humorous appeal. Mario games have never been known for their compelling story lines, and that is also true for this game, but where it lacks for its compelling story it makes up for it in its light heartedness and its in-game comedy and boy is it funny.
I was laughing out loud countless times from the dialogue in the game and the scenarios it has you playing in. Mario and Luigi are the stars of this game and they may as well have their own comedy show. Other than a few one liners they talk gibberish! And it is funny gibberish, like something you would hear if you heard a foreign language spoken for the first time by your favourite comedian. Even during combat Mario and Luigi are bopping up and down to the music as if they were ready to dance at a club instead of fight off enemies. In another funny touch one of the games missions has you fixing Beanbean castle’s plumbing. With so many Mario spinoff games you almost forget that the two are plumbers! These charming added touches do wonders to the games humorous environment and had me looking forward to the next mission or cut scene to see what else was in store!
On top of the humorous nature of the game, the actual gameplay is great. It is turn-based RPG and has you strategically thinking which move set to execute next and making sure to execute it properly. The attacks are all time based and you need to make sure that you press the attack button on time so that you get an extra jump or swing the hammer extra hard to increase the damage dealt. This is also true for when an enemy attacks you and that you properly time your jump or hammer attack to dodge them or even deal damage back. As you progress in the game you learn new moves that you can use in both battle and outside of battle. One of these moves sets is the Bro’s Attacks which are attacks that are executed between Mario and Luigi together to deliver a higher damage count to your opponent. One of my only gripes with the combat system was that it was difficult to execute a jump or hammer attack prior to battle so that you can get the first attack on an enemy. At times I thought I had jumped on an enemy properly but did not and ended up entering a battle without the upper hand I thought I should have gotten.
There is also the added side quest dubbed “Minion Quest”. This side quest is optional and has you playing as a captain Goomba who is seeking to assemble a force of minions to find their lost leader Bowser. It is a fun and simplified RPG quest that detracts slightly from the main story and would recommend playing this all in one go.
Whether it is your first time playing Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga or you are a returning player from the original GBA title, this is a classic game and one that cannot be missed. This game was a joy to play and had me smiling and laughing from beginning to end.
Guest Reviewer: Theodore Nanos