Super Mario RPG, one of Nintendo’s wildest games, has made a comeback on the Switch with a complete glow-up for contemporary eyes. This remaster stays relentlessly faithful to the original, offering a bold and largely successful experiment that captures the essence of the SNES classic. While it might look like a modern Mario game on the surface, Super Mario RPG remains a timeless experience with heartfelt humor, standout characters, and engaging turn-based combat.
Story and Characters:
The game’s narrative, set in the Mushroom Kingdom, follows Mario and his allies as they strive to save Princess Peach and restore order after an enormous sword disrupts Bowser’s Keep and damages the wish-granting Star Road. Super Mario RPG introduces a cast of memorable characters, including franchise favorites like Bowser and Peach, who take on unexpected roles. Newcomers Mallow and Geno add heartfelt moments to the adventure, with new cutscenes enhancing the storytelling experience.
The writing in Super Mario RPG holds up surprisingly well, offering an endearing characterization that builds a world with a good-versus-evil storyline. The game’s quirky and zany characters, from Frogfucius to Booster, contribute to a narrative filled with humor and layered story threads.
Gameplay and Combat:
Super Mario RPG features turn-based combat with a unique twist. The Action Command system adds a timing-based element to attacks and blocks, making battles engaging and satisfying. The remaster introduces a visual prompt for better timing, enhancing the overall combat experience. The game maintains a breakneck pace, tossing players into battles quickly and keeping the action flowing throughout.
While combat is straightforward, the game’s balance leans heavily in favor of the player. Well-timed attacks and blocks result in tiered bonuses, and the introduction of area-of-effect bonuses, stat buffs, and Triple Moves further reduce the challenge. Despite the lack of strategic depth, the combat loop remains fun, with charming animations, impactful sound effects, and catchy battle music creating an enjoyable experience.
Platforming and Mini-Games:
Super Mario RPG incorporates rudimentary platforming, adding a nostalgic charm to the gameplay. Mario’s movements reflect the era-accurate representation, requiring more deliberate jumps and showcasing a different side of the iconic character.
The game features more than a dozen Mario Party-esque mini-games, offering a variety of activities throughout the seven regions. These minigames provide refreshing segues between main objectives, adding diversity to the gameplay.
Visuals and Soundtrack:
The remaster faithfully replicates the original game’s graphics, with lovely character designs and vibrant setpieces bringing the world to life. The isometric perspective and fixed camera angle create a unique visual style, and the pop-up book quality adds to the game’s charm.
A noteworthy addition is the ability to revert the soundtrack to the original, offering players the option to experience the classic tunes. The enhanced take on the original soundtrack maintains the iconic feel while adding subtle layers for a modern touch.
Super Mario RPG Remaster stands out as one of the most interesting and nostalgic remasters, bringing a classic from 1996 to the modern era. With its engaging combat, memorable characters, and diverse gameplay elements, the game offers a delightful journey into the Mushroom Kingdom. While the combat balance leans towards the easy side, the overall experience captures the essence of the original and serves as a joyful trip down memory lane for fans of the SNES era.