Loading...

November 21, 2017
Katherine Wright
New Game Plus / Features

On my recent plane flights to and from Japan, I had a lot of spare time to play Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions for the 3DS, a remake of the original Gameboy Advance game. Originally released in 2003, Superstar Saga was released to high praise from critics and fans, cementing itself as a classic in the Gameboy Advance’s repertoire. Given the game’s success and popularity, the 3DS version has some big shoes to fill. Does the remake maintain the unique appeal of the original, whilst also finding ways to update the game for a modern audience? Is it a good way to experience Superstar Saga if you’ve never played it before? My answer to both is a resounding yes.

Contrary to the usual, Princess Peach hasn’t been kidnapped. Instead she’s had her voice stolen by Cackletta, a witch from the Beanbean Kingdom. Mario and Luigi find themselves taking a trip to Beanbean Kingdom and its many locales, battling enemies and solving puzzles on a journey to get Peach’s voice back. The dialogue and characters are appreciably strange and unique — Fawful’s broken dialogue is iconic for a reason — and the visual gags involving Mario and Luigi’s reception by Beanbean’s residents never ceased to amuse.

This version of Superstar Saga offers modern, 3D graphics and high quality renditions of classic tracks, including the battle theme that’s been stuck in my head for weeks. If you played the original Superstar Saga, you’ll recognise most things as being the same, aside from some small graphical and quality of life changes. If you’re curious, you can find a full list of the changes online.

To address the concern from fans of the GBA game, yes, this version of Superstar Saga does have an easy mode; however, it’s completely optional, so don’t worry about the game being too simplistic. The default version still presents the same challenge, with even regular enemies having varying and often unpredictable attack patterns that’ll keep you on your toes — you will still need to time your attack inputs just right for maximum efficiency.

If, like me, this is your first time with Superstar Saga, this is the definitive version of the game thanks to changes to the ease of control, such as the way your abilities are accessed and the fact that you can now press X to make both brothers jump at once, making ledges a breeze. You can access a mini map on the bottom screen as well, and use pins to remind yourself of bean spots and other notable locations.

The second part of the Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions title refers to the new game mode included for the 3DS version, ‘Minion’s Quest: The Search for Bowser’. The story focuses on what Bowser’s minions are doing while Mario and Luigi are adventuring, providing a refreshing and amusing shift of perspective from the main narrative. It plays out like a simple tactics RPG, which sounds good on paper, but is surprisingly tedious to actually play. There’s little input required in battles, and I found myself getting bored. I didn’t feel it was worth sitting through an uninteresting battle mode to experience an otherwise entertaining story. Compared to Superstar Saga’s main story, Bowser’s Minions fails to stand out as a worthwhile addition to the game. It’s completely optional though, so even though I didn’t enjoy it much, it didn’t have any impact on how much sheer fun I had playing Superstar Saga overall.

Given how critically acclaimed the GBA version was, you might wonder if it’s possible — or worth trying — to improve on perfection. Some of the changes mean the game doesn’t present a 1:1 experience to the original, but that definitely shouldn’t discredit its merit as a standalone game. The story, locations and puzzles are all the same, and it’s a great way to experience a classic Mario RPG game that’s hard to access because of its platform and age. As it becomes harder to get a hold of older classic titles, Nintendo has done an excellent job in making the Superstar Saga experience available for a modern generation of gamers; though it’s a remake that wasn’t urgently needed, it’s certainly a welcome addition to the Mario RPG series.



April 23, 2019

Sony has introduced a new policy regarding sexual content. Japanese developers are reportedly angry and many western gamers are once again convinced that “Social Justice Warriors” have imposed their will on the gaming community. But is this being driven by the return of American Puritanism or is something else going on? It might not be as simple as a culture war or a California-driven plot to change gaming. Some of the biggest recent controversies in gaming and the internet may be all about China. Business Is A Numbers Game And These Numbers Are Astronomical Businesses exist to ma...

March 4, 2019

Here’s a quick look at the 3rd quarter reports for some of the big Japanese game companies for the financial year ending 31st March 2019.   Nintendo continues to exceed expectations, with net sales up 16.4%, operating profit up 40.6% and ordinary profit up 23.5%. A good holiday season saw almost 15 million Switches sold this year, with Smash Ultimate selling 12 million and the Pokemon Let’s Go games selling 10 million. Smash Ultimate was the main driver of new Switch Online subscriptions, although many new subscribers chose shorter terms like single month subscriptions. No m...

February 7, 2019

Did you know that the Nintendo 3DS is eight years old? It’s weird to think about, and it sure makes me feel old. Although the little system becomes overshadowed more every year by its newer sibling, the Nintendo Switch, it’s still the chosen platform for some spectacular game releases that wouldn’t really fit anywhere else. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr’s Journey is one of those games. When the original Bowser’s Inside Story released in 2009 for the Nintendo DS, it was praised for how well it used the system’s dual screens; shifting between perspectives is visu...

November 20, 2018

Luigi’s Mansion is, for various reasons, one of my favourite games of all time. I’ve finished it at least six or seven times since its 2001 release, including an almost-complete gold portrait run, and I’ll jump at any chance to replay it (though not as much as a friend of mine, who’s finished the game 31 times). The trailer for the 3DS version filled me with equal parts excitement and apprehension: It’s now accessible for a new generation, but how can you improve on the original game’s simple perfection? Once again, I picked up the flashlight and ventured into Luigi’s Mansion. T...

August 26, 2018

If I told you to imagine a game where you smash pots and whack baddies with your sword, what would you think of? How about a game where you use items to solve dungeon puzzles, and collect all sorts of goodies along the way? Well, it’s not the game you’re thinking of…probably. It’s something a bit more off-beat, with more ‘rainbow’ than ‘bow and arrow’: It’s The Swords of Ditto, a roguelike action-adventure RPG developed by Onebitbeyond. Your game begins with you being awakened on the beach (strong Link’s Awakening vibes here) by Puku, a mysterious beetle-like creature....

June 13, 2018

After some great and not so impressive conferences at this year’s E3, Nintendo was highly anticipated to bring us some juicy news. With the potential for some much wanted first-party titles for Switch, I stayed up until past 2am with high hopes for news on Pokémon, Animal Crossing, and more. With caffeine and sugar in my system, my body was ready. Like previous years, this year’s presentation followed the Nintendo Direct format,. The show began starting on a less colourful note with Demon X Machina, a mecha game for the Switch. Following this was Xenoblade 2 Story DLC ‘Torna –...

June 12, 2018

In my first year of university, I saw a jock-looking dude walking around wearing his ‘Class of 2005’ high school top; nothing out of the ordinary, I was sure he was well beloved by his peers. In my final week of study, I saw that same guy wandering around the campus by himself, slumped shoulders still adorned by that very same top — this was in 2009. Sony’s E3 Showcase this year reminded me of that guy still clinging to the glory of past years. This was most evident during the special presentation for The Last of Us Part II. This was Sony at its most self-indulgent. It gathered gu...

June 12, 2018

Ubisoft is one of the few gaming monoliths that can still surprise us. Who would’ve thought that Assassin’s Creed: Origins would mark the franchise’s return to form? Who could’ve predicted  the critical successes of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle? This was reflected in previous years through Ubisoft’s E3 presentations, which were always the most interesting and unpredictable, backed by an sincerity unmatched by any other company. It’s curious, then, to see Ubisoft pump the brakes with this year’s showing. Beyond Good and Evil 2 closed off last year’s show, so it’s fitting ...

June 11, 2018

Bethesda had an interesting 2017. Despite a lacklustre trip to Bethesdaland and reports that several of its games didn’t meet sales targets, the company was still the number one publisher on Metacritic, a fact proudly claimed by Senior VP of Global Marketing Pete Hines. Though if this year’s E3 press conference is any indication, 2018 and beyond are going to be very big and important years for the publisher. The show kicked off quite literally with a bang as inspirational speaker Andrew W.K. and his band introduced us to to the recently unveiled Rage 2, as well as endless shots of aud...

June 11, 2018

The Xbox One has arguably provided the better experience in recent years. Its Backwards Compatibility program has given new life to old games, and the Xbox Game Pass has given users a healthy library of legacy titles. However, the console is behind in one regard: New games. In order to furnish its seemingly lacking game library, Microsoft is looking outward, including to places we wouldn’t normally expect. The common criticism was that Microsoft isn’t producing first party games to the same extent that Sony is. To address this, Xbox lead Phil Spencer dedicated three or so minutes to a...

June 10, 2018

2017 was a disastrous year for EA, including a laughably bad E3 presentation and the Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot box debacle. The company has spent much of this year apologising for these decisions, and this formed a recurring theme during EA Play. Gone were the Influencers and Game Changers, the phrase “Creative Cave” was uttered precisely zero times and EA CEO Andrew Wilson was limited to two appearances, one of which was to effectively apologise for the company’s actions. This year, EA delved extensively into sci-fi, shooters and sports and, with a couple of exceptions, provided a co...

Show More Blogs
Latest Videos
Latest Photos & Events