Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions Review – Written by Jose Vega
Product provided by Nintendo for this review.
14 years ago, Nintendo and Alphadream released Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance. It focuses on the Mario Bros. as they journey to rescue Princess Peach’s voice from an evil sorceress. It launched a franchise with each sequel stepping up to deliver a satisfying experience, mostly. During E3 2017, Nintendo announced that the game that started it all would be getting a remake, with a twist. It came to be known as Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions, with the addition focusing on Bowser’s entourage of mooks seeking their master. On a handheld like the 3DS, does this remake stand tall alongside the original GBA classic?
The story centers on Mario & Luigi on yet another adventure. What starts as a goodwill meeting goes south when an evil sorceress named Cackletta and her assistant Fawful steal Princess Peach’s voice and replacing it with an explosive vocabulary. But they aren’t alone. They get help from Bowser who also wants in. Together the three head for the Beanbean Kingdom to recover Peach’s voice and deal with Cackletta and her cohort.
It’s the same as the original and I have no complaints with it. The story is just as enjoyable and in some cases, hilarious.
The game plays exactly like the original in both field and battle phases. On the field, Mario & Luigi play the same way with the D-Pad (or analog stick) moving them and both A & B buttons have the two do various actions such as jumping, using hammers or various other abilities. It’s needed to solve the many puzzles you’ll encounter in the game. In battle, it’s the same way. You use Mario & Luigi respectively in turn-based battles against enemies. As you progress and get stronger, you’ll have access to a slew of different abilities that can be used in both field and battle. They can also be upgraded to Super (Advanced) versions that are stronger, giving players a variety of ways to take down foes. With the 3DS hardware, the game offers a lot more features. The touchscreen, for example, provides a map of the areas you visit as well as shortcuts for the commands they can use on the field. In battle, the bottom screen details your characters’ stats and when you do moves, they provide instructions on how to use them. It’s great for beginners but an afterthought for those who have already experienced the game. The game also includes an Easy Mode for those who feel the main game is hard and it can be turned on and off at any time. It’s good for new players but for those who already played it, it’s an unnecessary addition.
In addition to the main game, you also have Minion Quest, a side-story that tells the story from the perspective of Bowser’s minions as they journey to seek their fallen master. It’s a mix between RTS and RPG as you lead a squad of minions to battle against enemies. You take control of a Goomba who becomes Captain and the objective in each fight is to take out the other captain before he takes the Goomba out. After completing each stage, you get experience used to level up your units. You can have up to 8 units in your group and hold up to a total of 40 units. It also follows a rock-paper-scissors mechanic in terms of advantages. You have three types of units: Melee, Ranged, and Flight. Melee beats Range, Range beat Flight and Flight beats Melee. Limiting your army to 8 units requires players to plan well for each encounter and if things go bad, you can retreat and try again. It’s a nice and enjoyable side game that adds to the story of the overall game. Plus you can go back to previous levels to strengthen your units.
Length-wise, the remake of Superstar Saga will keep you busy for some time. The main game will take around 15-18 hours to complete while Minion Quest is a 6-hour romp. You’ll have a lot to do in this game. Presentation-wise, the game is a step up compared to the original. The many areas of Beanbean Kingdom are amazing to look at. In addition, the same can be said for the characters and enemies. They look good and faithful just like the GBA version. Battles are especially funny when it comes to the characters and when Bros. Attacks fail, they lead to some hilarious stuff. There is some voice acting but most of it is simply gibberish. It makes sense since it’s a Mario & Luigi game and it does fit well. Music is just as good as the original. Being that it’s on a 3DS, it’s a step up from the original giving us familiar yet good tunes. The game also has Amiibo support, using figures from the Super Mario line. They can be used to get stamps that can be exchanged for prizes. Pretty nifty.
From my experience, I couldn’t find anything that is deemed negative about the game. There are times where the game throws a curveball and make it hard but honestly, it’s a game that can be challenging if you allow it to be. Items are plentiful and by the time you reach the end, you’ll be more than prepared. Also, the game plays in 2D by default and it’s a good thing since it’ll be easier on the eyes. Fitting since the GBA game is the same way.
For a 3DS remake, Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions is a very good remake. The game feels and plays familiar. Minion Quest offers a nice side game. What else is there to say? Nintendo and Alphadream brought the GBA classic to the 3DS and they did it well. If you were unable to play the original GBA version, this is your best choice. It’s a good starting point for people to get into the series and for those that want to relive it. Nintendo didn’t disappoint. This game is a certified winner.
I give Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions a solid 9 out of 10. It’s worth your money, I mean it.