Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga 3DS Review
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowsers Minions released today on the Nintendo 3DS; as the title is essentially broken into two components – Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and Bowsers Minions – we though we would review each separately. Today, we are looking at the recreation of the Gameboy Advanced classic RPG title. Is grabbing it on the 3DS solely to replay this classic adventure worth it, regardless of the Bowsers Minions additions? We think so, read on to find out why!
The Mario RPG formula has been used in over a dozen titles, but when Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga first launched on the Gameboy Advanced in 2003, it was only the third Mario RPG to date. As things have evolved since then – from the Gameboy Advanced to the Nintendo 3DS – the question leading into this launch was whether such an old title would translate to the current system without major changes. The answer is both yes and no: storywise, nothing has been changed, which is fantastic as the original story and writing is still very relevant when compared to recent Mario & Luigi titles. However, the UI was in definite need of improvement, and Nintendo obliged, bringing all the great menu options from the newer titles to this 2003 remake!
If you had the opportunity to play Mario & Luigi back in 2003, and again in 2017, you won’t find a lot has changed in terms of the story. You will still visit the Bean Kingdom with your unlikely ally Bowser, attempting to regain Peach’s stolen voice. The areas you will explore are the same, the characters you interact with are the same, and the game plays out in the exact same way. In terms of story telling, nothing has changed.
Thankfully, Nintendo left this alone, although I’m sure the desire to make some minor tweaks was probably a daily struggle. Mario & Luigi titles have always been known for fantastic writing, and even back in 2003, the company knew how to write a game. For the sake of this review, I jumped back into the 2003 version using one of the few Gameboy Advanced cartridges I had left. Checking between both titles for the first hour or so of gameplay saw only graphical and UI improvements, with no change to the story, plot, or script.
If you’ve played the last few Mario & Luigi titles on Nintendo 3DS, you know that Nintendo has come a long way since the graphics of the Gameboy Advanced. Major graphical improvements have been made to Superstar Sega, and while some media are claiming the spirtes of the Advanced version added to the charm, I still believe Mario & Luigi stands on its own here, with improved, 3D graphics.
Utilizing the 3DS: User Interface Improvements
Like I’ve noted, the gameplay of Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga has not really changed. Mario still jumps and interacts with A, and Luigi, B. The formula which was established in the early 2000s is still working really well today, so why change what isn’t broke. When interacting with enemies, you will still enter a turn based RPG battle, where – once again – each brother is mapped to A and B. With a variety of attacks at your finger tips, you will always have the tools necessary for the job at hand. Once you’ve mastered the Super Bros. abilities, battles will become even more engaging, although getting the timing right makes these attacks a definite risk-vs-reward almost every time!
Despite the gameplay functioning the same, a lot of improvements have been made to the overall, in-game experience, that bring the 2003 classic into the modern day.
The Gameboy Advanced an Nintendo 3DS are two wildly different systems, and games have evolved with the release of the newer system. The second, touch screen on the Nintendo 3DS adds a host of more options for Nintendo to use. Aside from the obvious graphical enhancements, Nintendo has taken advantage of the screen real estate and touch screen mechanics to make playing Mario & Luigi Superstar Sega more fun than ever before.
While playing, the bottom screen map is a great resource for knowing exactly where in the Bean Kingdom Mario and Luigi find themselves. When finding a particularly interesting area on the map, players can drop a pin to note it’s location. The improvements don’t stop there, however. Using Mario and Luigi’s different abilities and tools – whether their jump attack, hammers, or swirling attacks – has been improved for later Mario & Luigi titles, and brought to the remake of Superstar Sega. Instead of having to use button presses to cycle through the various abilities, players can simply tap the ability they want on the bottom screen to instantly switch.
These UI changes might sound minor, but over a 20+ hour adventure, they become incredibly handy.
As a tease for our next article, check out this Bowsers Minions gameplay from our good friend, Abdallah!
It’s been 14 years since the release of Mario & Luigi Superstar Sega, and we still highly recommend playing through it today. The story and writing still hold up really well, and the gameplay improvements actually heighten the experience for gamers in 2017. Whether you have played this title in the past before, or not, grab it up today at retail or on the Nintendo eShop! Regardless of the addition of Bowsers Minions, we have no reservations about recommending this all on its own, with a solid 9.0/10!