Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Adam Riley 17.10.2017 3

Review for Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser

The very first Mario & Luigi RPG returns, this time on Nintendo 3DS! After fans of Super Mario RPG on the Super Nintendo had been desperately awaiting a sequel to that seminal role-player featuring Mario et al in an addictive new adventure, instead Paper Mario from Intelligent Systems arrived in 2000 on the N64, and whilst extremely high quality, it did not quite tickle the same places that Squaresoft's 1996 smash hit did. It took the setting up of a new developer, AlphaDream, consisting of some former Squaresoft members, for something closer to come to fruition. The game had a graphical refit, humour levels were raised to the maximum, and the engaging turn-based, yet also timing-based, battle system returned, and the Game Boy Advance's Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga was borne, receiving accolades left, right and centre. It is still widely regarding as one of the best GBA releases to date, but how does this touched up version, complete with the addition of the separate Bowser's Minions quest, fare now?

The Beanbean Kingdom is visited once more as gamers are taken back to the land neighbouring the Mushroom Kingdom, a place where Princess Peach's voice has been taken. Yes, that evil witch, Cackletta, returns in this revamped iteration of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. Peach's voice has not just been snatched, though; she now drops the f-bomb, as well as g, h, i, j…and many other bomb-filled letters, since her entire vocabulary has been replaced by explosive noises. Certainly not good for her health…or that of others, for that matter! Bowser, surprisingly, decides against kidnapping the Princess, as he normally would, as she is far too dangerous in such a state, so instead supports Mario and…that green guy…the oft-forgotten Mario brother, Luigi (a running joke for the duration). Thus begins a comical escapade, filled with humorous Italian babbling chatter between the siblings, a whole host of weird and wacky characters to meet along the way, including the legendary Fawful ("I HAVE FURY!"), and heaps and heaps of gripping fun.

Players get the chance to control both Mario and Luigi, wandering around - together for the most part - able to jump in tandem (now using the 'X' button rather than having to carefully press their individual buttons together to do so), but later on finding time to separate temporarily for the sake of solving some of the puzzling scenarios on offer throughout the world. Jumping, using hammers, teaming up to leap higher, swirl through the air to cross gaps, and many other moves - including special battled-led Bros. Attacks that require special timing during enemy encounters - are picked up along the way to help navigate the over- and underworld areas of the Beanbean Kingdom, tackling or dodging enemies en route. Everything is streamlined and adjusted to perfection to make fans of the series feel at home, whilst welcoming in newcomers with open arms.

Screenshot for Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions on Nintendo 3DS

Battles can be avoided most of the time, since enemies wander around on-screen, which comes in very handy when low on energy, but is also a dangerous temptation as it can leave the brotherly team short of experience in the latter stages of the journey, leading to tougher - or even impossible to win - boss fights. Battles are as before, with each party taking turns, but then the attack and defence aspects being reactionary, hitting the right buttons at the correct time to hit harder or block/counter foes. In fact, everything that made the original so impressive is here, albeit looking different thanks to the graphical update, and the inclusion of handy touch screen shortcuts for switching between Bros. actions, as well as accessing a useful map, or working through the inventory to make use of new weapons, defensive items, power-up badges, and so on.

The biggest addition for many will be the Bowser's Minions element, which opens up quite early in the rescue mission, with players able to take control of Captain Goomba in Minion Quest: The Search for Bowser, a side-story to complement the main tale. Bowser and his minions have been brainwashed by Cackletta's mischievous assistant, the fury-filled Fawful, so it is time to claw as many minions back as possible in some hectic real-time battles. Sure, the head-to-head skirmishes may seem fun for some, but most of the time it just feels like a case of randomly tapping on the few commands the Captain can issue and hoping for the best, attempting to 'influence the action' of the melee, ranged, or flying class troops. Perhaps a separate release, with this concept developed further would have been better, rather than coming as a tacked-on sub-game. It is a decent enough addition, but will not drag most away from the fantastically comic RPG antics of the core game.

Screenshot for Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga has not lost any of its charm over the past decade and a half, plus looks better than ever now on Nintendo 3DS thanks to its new lick of paint. Humorous, addictive, inventive - everything that made the Game Boy Advance original so addictive returns, with some handy touch screen shortcuts added into the mix, and a pleasant side game in the form of the Bowser's Minions RTS quest. With this, Paper Jam Bros. and Bowser's Inside Story, the Mario & Luigi series shows it is still going from strength to strength thanks to the genius team at AlphaDream.






Turn Based RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Sep 2017   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Aloneintheworld (guest) 22.10.2017#1

I have been really enjoying this game 

I really enjoyed the original, PiT and BiS but tried to play Dream Team Bros and SuperStar Saga (GBA) again recently and just couldn't get back into it. I think I have just got over the chatting and somewhat slightly repetitive gamplay. However for people who have never played a Mario+Luigi RPG then it is totally worthwhile playing! 

There's a very handy fast-forward button on the touch screen that lets you fly through the lengthy conversations, which helps Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

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