Super Mario RPG Review
Story And Setting
Visuals And Performance
A few quality-of-life changes make it more palatable to modern audiences, but this is still the same fantastic RPG from all those years ago.
- A Classic RPG Experience
- Outstanding OST
- Charming Visuals
- Engaging Gameplay loop
- Not Challenging
- Some Dated Aspects
After years of absence, the Super Mario RPG has finally hit modern systems in the form of a remake, and it resurrects the classic tale of Mario rescuing Princess Toadstool and fighting against the Smithy Gang.
Remade with modern sensibilities in mind, the remake features enhanced visuals with a delightful graphical aesthetic in addition to a wonderful OST and improved gameplay. So join us as we take a look at all of that with our Super Mario RPG review.
Story And Setting
Our plot begins like any other Mario story, with Bowser kidnapping Princess Peach. So in an attempt to save her, our protagonist travels to Bowser’s castle to rescue the damsel in distress. But during the fight, a massive sword named Exor descends from the sky, dispersing everyone and scattering the 7 star fragments.
Mario ends up in the Mushroom Kingdom, where he is joined by a living cloud named Mallow. The duo realizes that a group known as the Smithy’s Gang has been invading the kingdom. So now our hero must fend off the attack, rescue his princess, and gather the scattered star fragments.
All of the side characters are extremely charming, the mood is light, and this is simply a fun wholesome new journey that our favourite plumber has to go on.
During our adventure, we are joined by a colorful cast of characters. These include the aforementioned Mallow, as well as Geno, a doll that has come to life. All of the side characters are extremely charming, the mood is light, and this is simply a fun wholesome new journey that our favourite plumber has to go on.
The world is also divided into multiple different regions, each with its own unique identity and charm. Each location has a distinct visual style with its own inhabitants living there, and I felt that this gives a sense of scale to the world with all the contrasting characters.
When it comes to the gameplay, it’s a mixture of classic Mario games and turn-based RPGs with an isometric view, which was never seen in a Mario title until this game. That gives the exploration and combat a breath of fresh air, and compared to the other RPGs of the 90s, it has more of a focus on movement and action.
This remake retains the core ideas of the original and improves upon them, making it easier to time the inputs now.
Its gameplay loop consists of exploring the world and meeting new characters while facing off against dangerous enemies, all the while traversing through the regular puzzles that Mario games are known for. However, because of the isometric layout, the platforming is a bit imprecise and I had to attempt some sections multiple times.
What makes the combat system of Super Mario RPG unique is the inclusion of timed inputs that amplify your actions’ effects. These timed action commands result in increased damage and even fill up a special gauge.
Once that gauge is filled, you can use a special ability that causes a lot of damage and also comes with its own little cutscene. In addition to all that, there is now a new chain bonus as well, increasing your stats for all the timed actions you make in a row.
Once you’ve mastered the battle system, timing your moves will become second nature, and most confrontations will feel far too easy.
This remake retains the core ideas of the original and improves upon them, making it easier to time the inputs now. There are more apparent cues now that help you time your actions, and you’re even rewarded for getting the perfect window.
These adjustments may not seem like much on the surface, but when combined, they make the battles considerably more interesting and fun.
This is especially significant given Super Mario RPG Remake’s relatively low difficulty. Once you’ve mastered the battle system, timing your moves will become second nature, and most confrontations will feel far too easy. Staying under-leveled is one approach to make the game more challenging for yourself.
But that doesn’t mean the remake doesn’t compensate for the lack of difficulty. When you complete the main story, you gain access to a special mode where you face off against supercharged versions of the game’s bosses. Fights here are some of the most satisfying, forcing you to devise novel methods you would not ordinarily use.
Visuals And Performance
While the rest of Super Mario RPG remains mostly unchanged in the remake, the visuals have recieved a noticeable upgrade as the characters and the world come to life in all their grandeur thanks to the high-definition 3D modeling.
Most designs are unchanged from the original, but seeing them in 3D makes it feel like a completely different game. Furthermore, the OST by Yoko Shimomura has been rerecorded in the remake, preserving the game’s amazing ambiance while further refining it as well.
Most designs are unchanged from the original, but seeing them in 3D makes it feel like a completely different game.
On the Nintendo Switch, the remake operates at a consistent 60 frames per second. There are a couple of instances where the framerate drops, but nothing major. During my playthrough, I encountered no other major issues, which is par for the course for Nintendo titles.
Super Mario RPG is a faithful remake of the classic RPG developed by Square all the way back in 1996. There are a few quality-of-life changes that make the remake more engaging, but nothing too bold because it doesn’t really take any risks at all and delivers an experience that is true to the original.
While this may be a turn-off for some players, it’s still an amusing and gratifying RPG with many qualities that make it truly great. The revamped combat system, the overhauled graphics, and the wonderful musical score, all come together to deliver an unforgettable experience.
This has been our Super Mario RPG review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other reviews.
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