Nintendo Consoles

Nintendo Consoles

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga

Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga - Gameboy Advance

The Mario and Luigi titles are a series of RPGs starring the most famous brothers in gaming history. Each entry in the collection features Nintendo's Mario and Luigi teaming up and embarking on a Princess-Peach-saving journey employing a surprisingly rich turn-based battle system, tons of puzzles, and an expansive varying map. This series is still seeing entries to this day, and while asking my close friends what they thought of the latest installment on the 3DS, they informed me that the original was certainly the best. Normally, I don't get much into turn-based combat systems, but fond memories of playing (albeit never finishing) this game as a child had me wondering if there really was something to be said about the original title in this beloved franchise.

You know me- I'm not one to beat around the mustache: Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga is incredible. Not completely without flaw, but still a phenomenally great game.

For an RPG, Superstar Saga is definitely on the short side, taking me, a highly experienced and really good-looking gamer, around 18 hours to complete. The short length ensures that the game doesn't overstay it's welcome, as the main plot seems to end the moment it begins to feel boring. Essentially, the game takes place in a large interconnected world, and the Mario bros. must travel to each town and region to discover new secrets, gain new abilities or talk to new characters all in the effort to thwart Bowser's and new-comer Crackletta's attempt to take over both the Beanbean and Mushroom Kingdom.

On the way from town to town, the Mario Bros. will often be faced with puzzles whose solving of will allow a way forward, or they'll be faced with assortments of different enemies, whose defeating of will grant the way forward. The puzzles are usually solved by utilizing recently acquired abilities, meaning that while puzzles themselves may get old, their solutions stay as fresh as your abilities are. Moreover, the abilities that double as attacks in battle will prevent the battle system from getting old. New abilities are acquired often, constantly maintaining a perfect pace. However, while switching back and forth between each ability to solve more complex puzzles is mostly fun, having to toggle between them all individually by pressing either L or R several times can be frustrating when it is necessary to act quickly.

The main complaint is how the game ends. Without wishing to spoil anything, the last bit of work to be done in the overworld before taking on the final bosses is a large fetch-quest similar to that seen in Zelda: The Wind Waker. The quest actually didn't take as much time as I thought it would, but it still felt like a lame way to extend the length of the story.

With the exception of the game's last few hours, Superstar Saga is exceedingly good. The constant acquisition of new abilities keeps the entry from becoming boring or stalled, while the bright colors and varying aesthetics are strong enough to keep one hooked while the game might otherwise feel like a bit of a grind. Even for someone like me who doesn't normally jump to turn-based combat, Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga is a highly addictive and thoughtfully-crafted RPG that deserves every single sequel it ever got.

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