Mario’s first RPG adventure returns in a brand new 3D remake for the Nintendo Switch, just in time for the Christmas season. Like its predecessor, Mario RPG features Mario, Peach, and Bowser, as well as new allies Geno, a talking puppet, and Mallow, a cloud citizen. Together, they must deal with the mischievous Smithy and embark on a quest to collect the seven stars, aiming to thwart his plan to take over the world.
The original transformed the previously 2D world into a 3D environments, with each location resembling an isometric landscape. I quickly fell in love with the remade visuals when I first saw the announcement trailer. Additionally, the game features new cutscenes that recreate iconic moments from the original version.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The Super Mario RPG Remake faithfully captures the essence of the original while adding exciting new elements for both newcomers and seasoned fans.[/perfectpullquote]
Not only have the areas been redesigned, but most of the characters have undergone changes as well. While characters like Bowser and his minions look similar to their appearances in other Mario titles, Mario, Peach, and especially the Toads appear shorter, resembling their original look from the original version of Mario RPG on the Super Nintendo.
Speaking of RPG elements, like most of Mario’s adventures in this genre, battles in Mario RPG are based on timing your attacks correctly. Mario and two allies in his party must time their attacks precisely to land effective hits on the enemy. A new addition to this remake is that landing a good hit on one enemy will also inflict additional but smaller damage on nearby enemies. This feature is not disappointing at all, as enough damage can allow you to take down multiple enemies simultaneously.
Innovative Combat Mechanics
I appreciated the combat mechanics and was impressed when I managed to finish a battle without my first turn ending because I landed a good hit. While it takes some time to get used to the timing, battles in the first half of the game tend to go quickly and smoothly. However, like most RPGs, battles become more challenging as you explore new areas in search of the Seven Stars. You’ll need to come up with new strategies to defeat tougher enemies and decide when to use special abilities powered by flower petals that you collect throughout the game, such as Mario’s fire abilities, Peach’s healing, or Geno’s beam and whirl attacks. Each character’s special abilities proved helpful, especially when facing Smithy’s minions in boss fights.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The revamped soundtrack lets you switch between the modern and classic tunes, offering a nostalgic trip down memory lane.[/perfectpullquote]
Another useful addition in the remake is triple-based attacks. When you land a good hit on an enemy, a gauge in the corner of the screen increases. The longer you chain attacks on enemies, the more the gauge fills until it reaches 100 percent, allowing you and your two party members to execute a powerful group attack during battle. This feature becomes a lifesaver when facing tough bosses, such as the group combo attack performed by Mario, Mallow, and Geno or the ones with Bowser in the party, which helped me overcome a particularly difficult boss halfway through the game.
Breezy Mode: For Story Enthusiasts
For players who find the RPG battles too challenging and prefer to enjoy the game’s story, the remake introduces Breezy Mode, serving as an easy mode for newcomers to the RPG genre or those who just want to experience Mario RPG’s story without being hindered by frustrating boss battles. This mode makes fights easier and increases your chances of winning without risking a game over. You can switch to Breezy Mode at any time during your playthrough.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Breezy Mode is a welcome addition for players who want to savor the story without the frustration of challenging battles.[/perfectpullquote]
Another aspect I loved about Super Mario RPG, besides its graphical overhaul, is its music. The remake updates the soundtrack to a modern sound while offering the option to switch to the original soundtrack through the settings menu. I frequently switched between the two to compare how each level sounded in the original Super Nintendo version. I was impressed with the iterations of areas such as Marrymore, The Mushroom Kingdom, and the iconic Mushroom Forest theme, as the developers ensured that the music for each area sounded just as wonderful as it did in 1996.
Super Mario RPG brings back minigames from the original for players to enjoy when not battling Smithy. These include racing with Yoshi by rapidly pressing the A and B buttons to beat other Yoshis, stomping on Goombas inside the Pipe Vault, riding through mines to collect coins and mushrooms, or swimming down the Midas River to gather coins and items for battles. Among the collectible coins are frog coins, which can be used to purchase powerful items or clothing at certain points in the game.
I found these minigames to be enjoyable, although they could be challenging at times. I was always eager to replay them to earn better items and higher scores.
Post-Game Challenges Await
New content in Mario RPG includes post-game challenges, allowing you to rematch against previous bosses who are now stronger than before. This feature keeps the game engaging and encourages you to come prepared with Mushrooms and Flower petals to gain the upper hand in battles.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Super Mario RPG’s post-game content provides a rewarding challenge, keeping players engaged long after the main story ends.[/perfectpullquote]
As someone who doesn’t typically engage in post-game content, I appreciated the option to rematch bosses and revisit certain areas, which allowed me to relish the beautifully redone music once more. Mario RPG offers a substantial amount of post-game content once you complete the main story.
Super Mario RPG is an outstanding remake of the 1996 classic, remaining remarkably faithful to its predecessor while introducing changes to welcome new players to the RPG genre and Mario’s first foray into it. It also adds new elements for returning players to explore, all of which they are sure to enjoy. For players seeking their next RPG adventure, Super Mario RPG delivers, making it another great Mario game to play as the Christmas season approaches.
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