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SUPER MARIO RPG | REVIEW | NINTENDO SWITCH

Updated: Jan 4

''REACH FOR THE STARS''

 


Developed: ArtePiazza

Published: Nintendo

Genre: RPG

Release Date: Nov 17th, 2023

Platforms: Switch


Super Mario RPG is a remake of the classic title from the Super Nintendo and its developed b ArtePiazza and published by Nintendo. With the Mario RPG fan base starving for a remaster or even an e-shop release of the game, Nintendo finally used the correct warp pipe and brought to us a remake we've all been waiting for. But, does this games new features screw up a nostalgia of the original? or is this one more home run in the ever growing line up of classics in the Nintendo catalogue. Only one way to find out, so on to adventure!


 


 


STORY:


Enter a world of whimsy with Mario on a quest to repair Star Road and defeat the troublemaking Smithy Gang. Team up with a party of unlikely allies, like the monstrous Bowser and a mysterious doll named Geno as you defeat villainous foes and protect each kingdom from evil.


''PLUMBER SUPERSTAR, THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE''

 

GAMEPLAY:


Have you ever ventured into a brand new world that was threatened by a great evil that aimed to enslave all of its inhabitants, fight bird doors, beat up egg throwing dinosaurs, blowing up a gigantic shades wearing mouse and making a mutated frog choke to death on his healthy helping of vegetables, THEN finding out all that hard work you did to free these people from his tyrannical reign was nothing but a dream?. Wait, never mind, that's just the plot for Super Mario Bros 2, a games ending that still ticks me off till this very day. While that dream scenario is one that made me livid to experience, the next one however, was the dream I'm glad has finally come true, and that is the dream of Super Mario RPG remake finally becoming a reality. Oh ya, I've wanted this bad boy made for quite awhile. I grew up playing this game on Super Nintendo as a kid and its a game that has stuck with me similar to how Final Fantasy 7 has over the years - which is basically like a fly to poop. The original game on SNES, helmed by Nintendo and at the time, Square-Soft, for me was an all out whacky and whimsy RPG that while with no voice acting at all, was able to emote emotions, playfulness and comedy and serious situations just by having a character act out a scene with over the top mannerisms. These actions being telling a story like its a game of charades with Mario acting out scenarios for his pals to try figure out by transforming into Bowser or making faces and sound effects. Its like a silent film or a really cute stage play. The music itself also acts as its own individual character too with each musical piece adding an extra layer to an already expressive game with areas like Mushroom Kingdom having very bombastic music due to it being a kingdom of royalty, Midas River having a sea voyage like sound that makes it seem like you're off to Disneyland, head bopping battle music that makes you tap your foot like aww yeahhh, this spittin that fire flower bro, and then my favorite song is.... wait, hang on, rain? ugh, gosh dang it Mallow, you little squishy piece of crap fluff. Grow out of your damn pampers and graduate to big boy pants before I start lighting a fire up under you and make your marshmallow cloud face into a Midnight Society Smore night. NO NOT RIGHT NOW, CAIT SITH, GO AWAY. Mmmhmm. I'm sorry, PTSD issues, moving on.


As stated previously, I've been looking forward to this title releasing in any fashion really, but the bucket list for me was full on remaster and remake, which obviously this has now happened and now my dream of being able to revisit Super Mario RPG with upgraded graphics and new gameplay mechanics and added elements, its here, and it honestly feels like I'm in a fever dream. Basically makes me feel the same as Yoshi after he eats a Fuzzy in Yoshi's Island and leaves me like WoOoOoA~. But with excitement, just like I've had with titles like Resident Evil 4 Remake and Final Fantasy 7 remake, comes a bit of trepidation. ''Will they get it right?', ''Will new mechanics or gameplay elements ruin the games flow?'', ''Will jokes be taken out due to the modern P.C. era with people getting offended?'', ''Why is big ol DoDo so damn cute?''. Luckily I can answer that pretty bluntly and say this Remake, for the most part, is definitely faithful to the original, sometimes to its detriment, but mostly to its gain. Here in the 2023 iteration of Super Mario RPG, the combat that you remember from the original mostly remains the same, simplified and easy to follow, which makes it extremely ideal to appeal to a wider audience, unlike other RPG's that have like 200 mechanics to learn before you even start your journey to begin with. But before we get into the nitty and gritty over the story, gameplay and new mechanics, I really have to say, I'm extremely glad they managed to upgrade the games graphics itself to look absolutely gorgeous, while still maintaining the original games isometric style and perspective that made the game so unique and charming in the first place. Vibrant colors and models, more detail, 3D backgrounds, each character having greater expression, all of that is simply superb. Who am I kidding though, the real reason I'm happy for all of this is because of that little pudgy guy, yeah you know who I am talking about, little squishy tiny stumpy Mario in all his cute isometric glory. I mean look at him, LOOK. AT. HIM. He's so freaking cute, I just want to grab the Mario Paint Mouse Cursor and poke his little self in the belly so he'll be like HMM! HMM! just like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Oh come on, you know you were thinking the same thing, admit it. Bro, you ain't got to lie to cricket. So what is the actual point of this game? just run around and do weird stuff like I've described? well yes and no, first off, you can spend hours just running around doing stupid stuff like never returning a citizens wallet and keeping it for yourself, playing toys with a kid who ends up knocking you out because little kids are evil as heck, jumping on a kids head as he's hyped on some Walter White themed candy to the point where you fall off and get dizzy, destroy a mans roof with a magic beanstalk, play some tadpole songs to try to earn rewards, or... you know, just don't do anything and just chill and listen to the music. But you're asking about the ACTUAL story right? oops.


 

''MALLOW ABOUT TO POOP HIMSELF''

 

In relation to the story here in Super Mario RPG, its mission structure via moving from level to level with the world map stays exactly the same, with the storyline too that involves you recruiting such friends and enemies like Bowser, Princess Peach, Mallow and Geno in order to travel to lands all across the world in order to gather the 7 legendary stars that are needed to fix Star Road. Why do we need to fix Star Road? well with Star Road broken without its star pieces, everyone's dreams that they wish for, cannot come true. That's right, no matter how much you sing ''When you wish, upon a star, makes no difference, who you areeeeeeee'', your dreams won't come true. This of course is a real bummer for me considering I wished for the immediate downfall of Marshmallow boy. Little piece of crap is a royal Richie Rich crybaby, only you aren't my king bro, ''I bow to no one''. If my wish can't annihilate you, then fine, I'll do it myself. KA-ME-HA-ME...HA!!. Uh Oh, missed. Oops. Overall that's the story, find stars, beat villains, stop a big sword and its master named Smithy and save the day, all while completing fun little side quests for extra items or gear or grinding out regular coins and Frog coin currency in the plethora of mini games at your disposal such as water fall mini game that has you floating down a waterfall swimming for coins and then immediately dropping you into a barrel jumping game, and even a minecart racing stage that allows you to pick up prizes and more coins. They're all super fun to try to find while you are out exploring deep temples with a weird monster doggo who just wants to eat ya, sewers, forests, and towns that feel lively and also have secret stuff to find like sneaking into Peach's room and finding her underwear, or sleeping at Mushroom Kingdom castle in order to see a sleeping Samus and elsewhere find a sleeping Link. Wake up, Link!, Wake up!. However with all adventures, there has to be gameplay in the middle somewhere right? this isn't a walking simulator like Death Stranding after all, thank Yu Yevon for that, but besides the whimsical and cute isometric, the game still manages to stay action packed and adds additional enhancements to the battle system, which is sort of a double edge sword because on one hand it makes the game way more interesting and engaging and fun, but on the flip side of that, it also makes it even easier than people thought the original version was - yes, this is the case even if you play on Normal Mode or Breezy Mode, which is the games Easy Mode. I will try to explain it in a bit more detail for the players and newcomers who may not have dipped their toes into the original on Super Nintendo.


In the original title, the game play still relied on the tried and true RPG mechanics that let each playable character select from an array of your basic standard attacks that change based off the weapon you have equipped, like Mario doing a one two punch, Bowser throwing a Chain Chomp, Peach slapping the taste out of peoples mouth, Geno shooting bullets out of his arm, which growing up playing this, they always looked like watermelon seeds to me, and then mattress stuffing Mallow bonking people on the head with a stick. Not quite on Doge's bonk level, but it works. On top of your standard attacks, which have timed based mechanics that involve you pressing A at the exact moment of impact in order to do a double attack, if successfully accomplished, you will do double of your original attack, which makes things way more fun. In addition to standard attacks, you have your MP and or Mana attacks, which since this is Mario themed, is now called Flower Points. Using Flower Points, you're able to use special abilities that you obtain up till level 18 that allow you to do even more extra damage via attacks like Super Jumping onto an enemies heads up to 10 plus times, using Geno to do a energy whirl that shoots across the screen to slice enemies, that when timed right, can hit for 9999 damage, Group Hug heal with Peach as your mage, summon lightning as Mallow, etc etc. Think of it like timing the button presses at the start of a race for boosting like in Mario Kart and the same concept applies here for timed attacks, with blocking at the right time to negate damage towards your character is also used for the same timing mechanics. I wish I was as good in Mario Kart at race boosting as I was about timing my attacks in Mario RPG, because man I suck. Of course beyond physical and special attacks, you can still use items for healing, boosting defense or reviving a downed character, so all the traditional stuff you know in every other RPG, at its core, remains intact, just.. in a more Mario themed way. I honestly feel this is the format the series should've kept going forward, granted I know Paper Mario was basically the successor to Super Mario RPG, which don't get me wrong, the first two Paper Mario's are absolutely fantastic, heck even the Mario and Luigi series is fun, but for me personally, I don't feel any of them, even Thousand Year Door, reached the level of fun and creative that the battle system in this title reaches. Maybe it's because the original devs didn't stay on? or maybe they simply tried to overthink things too much? I'm not sure, it could be. But hey.. that's just a theory... A GAME THEORY. Noooo, don't sue me MatPat, please.


 

''WARRIORS FROM BEYOND THE REALMS. HEED MY CALL''

 

While the game play mechanics are fun, which there's a few more new additions we'll talk about in just a second, and the story, while also good, being a tad bit on the straight forward side.. the biggest thing that stands out to me, even beyond the story, gameplay and even the music, is the overall humor this game is well replete with. The humor in this game borders the lines of extremely silly, to complete absurdness, well to the point where you just have to laugh because its so stupid that its funny and entertaining. Like ruining a kids hopes and dreams as he asks Mario ''when I grow up, you think I'll be able to jump high like you?'', to which of course I reply, uhh, yeah, how about no, kid. If Michael Jordan were here, you'd already know what he would say. Even the games villains get in on the funny, with Bowser standing around crying that he lost or crying that he got kicked out of his own castle by another major villain of the story, characters cheering by looking up and throwing their hands in the air to celebrate, each character now during the level up screen, all having their own different dances that they do, a mama and papa Mole waiting for you to bring back their daughter and the mom is like ''I have a feeling they'll be dropping in on us at any minute'' only for Mario, being the lunatic that he is, slamming his minecart through the roof of their house. Child endangerment, peak comedy, always a classic. Heck this doesn't even count Booster, who I absolutely love with how childish goofy he is, which weirdly enough, they make him even uglier in this game than the original. This crazy little guy who looks like if you mixed a tiny version of Randy Macho Man Savage with South Park and put him in a isometric video game, and he is absolutely hilarious. I won't go over all the antics he gets up to, because some are too funny to not see for yourself, but it's definitely a fun time. The last bit of funny though I want to talk about, who, even as a kid, were always my favorite, were the Axem Rangers. These characters, all with their different colors, were a parody of the Power Rangers. These little stinkers end up stealing one of your Stars, which makes you have to chase them up to their ship and have a climatic battle in the air as each introduce themselves in true Power Rangers style, so freaking cheesy, but awesome. ITS MORPHIN TIME. But we really should talk about changes made to the game, such as its additional mechanics and other things that set this title apart from your other RPG's on the market, both back then and even now as it goes up against titles still like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy.


With the original Super Mario RPG being released in 1996 and having to stand out from the rest of the pack by being a more inviting entry into the genre at the time, because of titles that may have seemed a bit too complex at the time for people due to the intrusive nature of RPG time sinks with some RPG's requiring a 40 hour grind. However, in the original and in this remake, this adventure alongside Mario and friends is way more accessible to not only your average RPG player, but for gamers in general, regardless of genre you like playing. While on the surface its not as narrative driven as other games on the market like a Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Dont Sh** Your Pants or awesome titles like Sea Of Stars, yet it still manages to reel you in by the hook in your mouth with the inviting nature of its comedy, charm, light heartedness and quirkiness. Whether the silliness involves racing against Boshi at Yoshi Isle in a timed based running mini game, funny dialogue that has characters insulting each other and getting mad, the game still maintains the level of fun that the original did, especially with Toad's thinking anyone who can jump higher then their height means that they must be a freaking god or something. Seriously, no joke, the Toad's go absolutely nuts when they see Mario do a simple task as jumping. However again, even with keeping things the same and as great as the original, you still need new things right? of course. Thus we introduce cinematic cutscenes and new combat additions of The Action Gauge. In the original title, everything was acted out on screen like a stage play at all times because of hardware limitations, however here in the remake, a lot of the major development scenes, such as meeting the characters for the first time, team based trio attacks and other transitional scenes are now fully CGI and 3D animated cutscenes that play and they're awesome and look super clean and sleek. Yes, even Mallow crying is now tolerable, go figure. Combat wise we get new additions of The Action Gauge that slowly fills up from getting items from a defeated enemy, blocking an attack against you or when you take damage, and when that Action Gauge fills all the way, you're eligible to be able to use a Triple move attack with your current party members, which each animation for these Trio attacks change depending on which party members you have in at that point in time. For instance, should you have a combination of Mallow, Mario and Geno, you will do a star based attack that attacks each enemy on the field, and if you have a mixture of Bowser, Mario and Peach, then you'll get your Mario Strikers on as Mario blitzball kicks Bowser's shell into enemies using the power of Star Power to attack for huge damage. But... while that is great and extremely helpful in boss fights, it does create a slight problem in the game for players who like challenge. This in turn leads us into our next category.


 

''ITS MORPHIN TIME''

 

DISLIKES:


Uh Oh. Yes yes, I know, I've been praising this game to the edge of the world and back, and while I admit I do have some bias for the game, since its a childhood favorite - I, at the same time, have to still remain objective as I always do, even for games that I like. Heck in the past I've praised the hell out of games but still had to give them a WAIT verdict as what I LIKE is just that, what i like, and not what I feel as a whole, given a games merit, would be a wise purchase for the overall customer I'm making these reviews for to inform people. Suffice to say, Super Mario RPG isn't without its share of things that might hinder the game in little ways with some of the newest additions being the reason for it, a double edged sword if you will. For instance, the original title's difficulty had a weird spike by the time you hit mid game. When starting the game, its relatively easy and fast flowing, but as you get to the middle half of the game, enemies get harder, bosses get more sponge like and the challenge of the game actually goes up pretty abruptly. Now for an already semi easy game early on, with the addition of an Action Gauge, Fast Travel, as well as an easy mode called Breezy mode, it tends to make the game way easier. For example as you progress through the game, you'll have enemies who can block you from using physical or special attacks, which in the original means you had to strategize your item management in order to cope with that situation, but here in Remake, you can just use your Action Gauge to hit an opponent for over 500 damage at a time, negating that extra challenge that used to be there. Then mixing in real time switching of characters that are waiting in the sidelines at any point during a fight, alongside the Action Gauge, further complicates the games difficulty. Then on top of spaghetti all covered in cheese, should you choose to play on Breezy mode, a game that could normally take you around 20 hours on regular difficulty, will now run you 12 to 15 hours tops, even if you stop to grind levels. Finally my last gripe is the Fast Travel. While I know its good for people that don't want to have to go back through levels to an area they need to be in, again, it sorta kills the fun of exploring and retreading your steps to me. Don't get me wrong, it is a good addition, same as Breezy mode for a wider audience and Action Gauge for more ways for combat, they're all great additions, but part of me just can't get passed the fact that they just make the game WAY easier than it needs to be. But at least CULEX still manages to whip the crap out of me left and right, so at least there's that part of the game that remains tough.


 

''I CAN SHOW YOU THE WORLD.........MAP SCREEN''

 

OVERALL:


At the end of the day, Super Mario RPG remains a delight to play, even with downsides such as the lower difficulty due to the Action Gauge giving you too much of an advantage in combat at times, Breezy mode making enemies weaker, fast travel making access to areas feel less involved and too modern, especially for a game thats more condensed and bathed in linearity at times. However, looking beyond the easy nature of the game, the whimsy charm of the characters and the world, boppin beats that will get stuck in your head for days or even years to come, gorgeous art style alongside the classic isometric style, fun and simple combat with combination attacks and special moves, full CGI cutscenes, hours of post game secrets to unlock, such as fighting Final Fantasy villain CULEX in a secret battle of Monstro Town, discovering secret areas to get brand new weapons to get stronger, minecart mini games, discovering hidden Nintendo easter eggs, and just the pure joy of this come to life stage play, that no matter if you like RPG's or not, will still leave you with a huge smile on your face well after you've completed the game. Super Mario RPG remake managed to live up to my expectations completely and I absolutely loved my time with it, and I am confident enough to say that I think any Switch owner would be able to find their own enjoyment in this title as well. I'm not going to call it a MASTERPIECE or call it THE GAME OF THE YEAR like some other reviewers out there do with the way they title their videos or verdicts with every new game being GAME OF THE YEAR qualifying, that's not how I do things around here. But instead, I'll just leave it at, with all that having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says BUY NOW



 

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