Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga was originally released in 2003 for the Nintendo Gameboy Advance and it launched one of my favorite series from Nintendo: the Mario & Luigi RPGs. The visuals and sounds have been updated and there’s also a mode called “Bowsers Minions” which is a story about, well, Bowser’s Minions, in a tactic RPG. One of the only things I found that the game kinda lacked the use of the 3D at all, this wasn’t a major issue but I’ll get it out of the way.
If you’re not too sure what the Mario & Luigi RPG games are, let me give you a run down. The graphic style for these games have always been great and mesh really well with the music and sounds. Superstar Saga is your general turn based RPG but with a bit of a twist – during your turn, you get to play as Mario and/or Luigi depending on whose speed stat is higher. You then attack similar to the Paper Mario series where you have to time your jumps, hammers and the ever-so-cool looking Bro Attacks. You do this either with the A or B button depending on who you’re currently controlling. The other cool aspect about all fights is that you’re always on your toes as you have the option of counter attacking and dealing damage to your enemies rather then yourself — or in this new version, Emergency blocking where you just lessen the amount of damage taken.
As someone who hasn’t really touched the original Superstar Saga I can say that the story had me going in a couple different directions. Sometimes the story would be complete nonsense and somewhat ridiculous (and yes I know that’s the point, it’s what makes the games so great), and at other times it would be progressive and relevant. The story is about as Mario as it gets. Without spoiling too much. Princess Peach has visitors from BeanBean Kingdom, but it’s a trap! Meanwhile a Toad has a message to deliver to Mario, he says that Peach’s voice has been stolen! Mario & Luigi set off once again on another great adventure to save Princess Peach and even Bowser is here to help too.
After a certain point in the game we discover a new mode: Bowser’s Minions. This is a tactical RPG where you build your team around your enemy’s type; Melee, Range, Flying. It plays by repeatedly going through the levels, upgrading your units, and recruiting more units for your army… I found the gameplay to be not really all that thrilling or enjoyable and the combat is also pretty slow compared the main game, Superstar Saga. I’m not sure how the plot really progresses so I can’t give a full opinion other than it wasn’t really all that interesting.
Bowser’s Minions is as useless as a Boo Biscuit in Superstar Saga (honestly who uses them). Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions would have been amazing if was just Superstar Saga and then introduced to a new generation of gamers with a upgrade to the base game. Bowser’s Minions is only used as a progressive side plot that you have to spend a decent amount of time on with no rewards towards Superstar Saga, so it’s really only there as an extra. Also… watch out for those spiked rollers.
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