VG Tribune

Review: Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga

July 5, 2015 / 10:29 AM

By: Matthew Gibson

If you were to ask anyone on the street the name of a red platforming plumber, there’s no doubt they would answer with Mario. And if you asked for his brother’s name, they would reply with Luigi. However, there has been no game like Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga that has relied so much on the biggest duo in gaming. Whilst not moving away from their platforming roots, this game joins Mario’s other outings into the RPG genre, along with Paper Mario and Super Mario RPG.

GAMEPLAY

The title ‘Mario and Luigi’ is there because you’ll be controlling both of them, simultaneously, throughout the whole game (or at least the vast majority of it). Whether it is in battles, or traversing the world, the two are near inseparable. Mario is controlled by the A button, and the B button is for Luigi, and this applies for both types of gameplay. Let’s start with moving around. There is still a good amount of platforming to be had here. As the game progresses, you will be able to do more than just jumping. By working together, you can reach new heights by having Luigi jump on Mario, or having the two spin in order to get over big gaps. You will also be seeing hammers to break rocks so you can progress. The manner of switching between Bros. and then switching their abilities can require some getting used to, but they all are used in pretty clever ways, and aren’t just there for the sake of being there. Naturally, it wouldn’t be a RPG without enemies, so when you encounter one in the environment, you will enter a battle. Battles are settled via turn-based combat, with Mario going first, then Luigi, then the enemies, or vice versa. You fight with solo attacks (a jump, a hammer, and later your hand), or ‘Bros. attacks’. Here, you use both plumbers to launch a more powerful attack by pressing their respective buttons in time with the actions. Sadly, there’s not a whole lot on these otherwise unique attacks. However, it is the variety in enemies that keeps the gameplay fresh. When enemies attack, you will have to avoid it, or even counterattack if possible, to prevent getting damaged, by pressing buttons (as you can tell, this game is very reliant on the A and B buttons). But there is more than that. You will be given hints as to who the foe is going to hit, albeit very subtle. In addition, timing will have to be near spot on if you want to return the favour. There is also logic to each enemy. For example, you can’t jump on a spiked, since it will be you who will get hurt. Likewise, if you plan to hit an airborne minion with your hammer, there’s no chance that will happen since it isn’t high enough to reach. It becomes a game of trying to know who you’re fighting against, and how to do it in the best way possible, adding much further depth to the battling portion of the game. Overall, both aspects of the game feel very fleshed out and enjoyable.

STORY

The story starts with Bowser kidnapping Princess Peach. I’m just kidding. The main plot is this evil witch named Cackletta and her faithful minion, Fawful, have stolen Peach’s voice in hopes to use the Beanstar. In true heroic fashion, Mario and Luigi rush to her aid, where they learn they must go to the Beanbean kingdom, and so their adventure begins. Despite it not being greatly complex or deep, it is still an entertaining plot. This has been done through a lot of funny and quirky dialogue. The characters as well are also very entertaining in the way they interact with the Bros., and it gives them a lot more personality, especially the brothers. It is the characters and dialogue, like many other RPGS, that make ‘Mario and Luigi’ the game it really is.

VISUALS

It looks great for a GBA game, and runs smoothly with its port on Wii U. All characters are still expressive in their design and actions, both are presented in a nice way. In terms of looks, there’s nothing that feels truly out of place in each environment. There isn’t any moment that’s like ‘Woah!’, but nothing that is ‘eugh’. However, as I played this on the Wii U, I found it to look better on the GamePad screen than the TV, just as the TV is a bit lighter in contrast. Nevertheless, it looked fine when playing on the big screen, and looks good in general.

MUSIC

Similar to the visuals, there was nothing that had me wanting a specific track on repeat, but nothing was there that was rubbish. Every piece perfectly suits the situation, from the battle music to the overworld themes. Though some can be pretty catchy at times.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga is a fantastic game, both as a RPG and a new Mario spin-off. The battling system feels fun and fresh, and thanks to the amusing dialogue, there is also personality to the game, which is something that isn’t in a lot of Mario titles. It really feels like it is its own thing, and this is a great start to the brothers adventures together. And for it is for this reason I’m giving Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga a 9/10.

I played this game from the Wii U virtual console, but was originally for the GBA (which you can find if you’re lucky). The picture at the top is from ‘themushroomkingdom.net’.

Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga

9

Final Thoughts

9.0/10

About the author /


Like many other game writers, Matthew was brought into the gaming world from a young age. He aspires to be a games journalist in the future. Oh, and he's from the UK, so there's that. He also does Nintendo Podcast System, just in case there isn't enough Nintendo on this site.

3 Comments

  1. Jack Gawn

    Matt describes the game well, very quirky and easy to pick up and play! It’s technical aspect of having each bro on a each button works well but can get annoying in places when switching between the two. Good game, great review!

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