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Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 12 - 2017

A worthy remake.

The 3DS, as it seemingly comes towards the end of its life, appears to be having a last hurrah with a whole bunch of great games recently coming to the system. Who knows where the Nintendo handheld will go next, but at least 3DS owners can be happy in the knowledge that there will be gaming goodness for a long time to come. The latest in this barrage of 3DS games happens to be a remake of the 2003 GBA game Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. The original Mario & Luigi RPG may be finding a new lease of life in its original form, thanks to the launch of the SNES Classic, but 3DS owners can also get a taste of the game that started the series in the form of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions.


As a remake of a beloved game, there is always some concern about what has been changed and where the tweaks will pop up. Fortunately, the brilliantly entertaining story seems to be pretty much in tact. Rather than having Peach kidnapped by Bowser, this time we a visit from the Beanbean Kingdom result in Peach’s voice being replaced by explosive symbols. Of course, Bowser still turns up to kidnap Peach, but decides against it when he realises how destructive she is with her current affliction. Instead, Bowser leads the charge to save Peach, along with Mario and Luigi. It doesn’t take long for Bowser to find himself in trouble, and so it falls to the player to take control of Mario and Luigi and save the day, again.

Players control both of the plumbing brothers together, with them moving around the different areas one behind the other (and I am sure you can guess who is usually behind). However, when it comes to actions, Mario and Luigi can work independently of each other using different face buttons. The different abilities of the two brothers make up the majority of the games’ puzzle elements, working out which action to use in order to progress. As an example, Luigi may have to squash Mario with a hammer, making Mario small enough to squeeze through an opening, while Mario hitting Luigi with the hammer will push him into the ground, allowing him to pass under fences. There are quite a few abilities that the brothers can use on each other with different results, with most of them being quite cruel in a comedic way.


There is a great sense of comedy that runs through the game. The way different characters interact with each other, or are simply going about their everyday Mushroom Kingdom business, often provide laugh out loud moments, and the dialogue also follows this humorous slant. There is also a sense of self-awareness in the game that makes for some great comical moments. It may well be that the humor has staled a bit since the game originally released, but I had a great chuckle in Superstar Saga.

The battles in Superstar Saga take a turn-based form, in traditional RPG manner. A lot of the battles can be avoided by the player if they wish, although they are pretty good fun so I can’t imagine why anyone would want to avoid a fight if they have a choice. They are a turn-based affair, making use of Mario and Luigi’s different abilities, but players are kept involved with the chance to press buttons at the right time to give out or reduce damage. With both of our heroes able to level up, and even mess around with some equipment, players will find themselves becoming stronger and more capable as they progress through the game.


The visuals are where the player will see the most evidence of the remake. Everything has so much more detail on the 3DS, and improved lighting allows the game to stand up proudly with any current 3DS game. The audio gets the same treatment, bringing it bang up to date, and a whole bundle of little quality of life improvements, such as the use of the touchscreen for a map, make the game that much better to play.

The other big new addition is hinted at in the title of this remake. For added value, Nintendo have included a great little side game called Minion Quest, which is unlocked as the player reaches a certain point in the game. This side game follows Captain Goomba and armies of Bowser’s minions as they try to track down Bowser himself. The gameplay here takes on a light real-time strategy flavour in which the army automatically fights the opponents using a rock, paper, scissors system, and the player only having the smallest of inputs. It may not seem like much, but there is something quite compelling about this side game and it is a nice addition to the main Superstar Saga.


The original Superstar Saga was one of the best Mario & Luigi games, and that still holds true for this remake. Rather than being a simple remaster, a lot of thought has gone into bringing this game up to date with modern systems, and it doesn’t feel in any way dated. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Sage + Bowser’s Minions is a great addition to any 3DS owners library, and an essential purchase for fans of the RPG series.




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