Super Mario RPG Review | An Adventure Worth Seven Stars

Super Mario RPG is sure to delight both veteran and new players.
Super Mario RPG Cutscene Trio Attack
Screenshot by Prima Games

Super Mario RPG for the Nintendo Switch is a remake of the 1996 SNES title Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Departing from his traditional platforming roots, the RPG-style game sees Mario and his oddball party members embark on an adventure to save the day by defeating the Smithy Gang and collecting all seven stars to rebuild Star Road. Super Mario RPG combines well-known and new characters in this remade roleplaying adventure which is sure to delight both newcomers and those who played the original alike.

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A Charming Story Sure to Delight All Ages

With the original Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars having been played by many, I felt like an outlier with the remade Super Mario RPG being my first introduction to the game. With Square Enix consistently releasing games that I adore, I was intrigued by a Square and Nintendo collaboration which propelled Mario into a Final Fantasy-like turn-based RPG, and once I started it, I could not put it down. It plays like a Square game of the era, with fun character dynamics, witty dialogue, and traditional roleplaying battle mechanics. It is a cultivation of the best both sides have to offer, and ultimately brings a unique and captivating experience to its audience – whether veteran or new.

There are many memorable moments throughout Super Mario RPG where each unique character shines through the well-written dialogue that brings them to life. Whether it is a deeper look into the inner workings of Bowser’s mind or the journey that Mallow goes on to find himself, all five characters play their part in this whimsical adventure.

Whilst being quite short compared to other traditional roleplaying games, Super Mario RPG is the perfect length for the story that it wishes to tell. The story is well-paced and flows seamlessly from one plot point to the next. Side quests and minigames are scattered throughout the land, with many incorporated into Mario’s journey itself. You truly never know who or what will pop up next, and that is what makes the game shine in all of its truly zany glory.

A Simplified RPG Which Retains Traditional Mechanics

With Square working on the original, it is no surprise that Super Mario RPG contains all of the necessary ingredients to create a solid roleplaying game. Players are able to chop and change between all five party members at will. Whether or not a member is in your active party or not doesn’t stop them from receiving experience points from every battle, which is a nice mechanic that all games should implement.

Characters have the traditional stats – health points, attack, defense, magic attack, and magic defense. Each time you level up, your stats will increase, and you will also get to choose where additional stats go with the level up bonus. Players can equip each character with a weapon, armor, and accessory which will further increase their stats, and also provide unique bonuses such as the ability to locate hidden treasure and withstand certain status effects.

During battle, each character can perform a standard attack, or special moves that are unique to each character. No matter whether it’s Mario sending a fiery doom upon his opponents, or Peach conducting an impromptu therapy session, all of these attacks take from the shared Flower Points pot. There is also an Action Gauge, that upon filling to 100% allows the party to unleash a devastating Triple Move upon all of the enemies in the battle. There are six of these, seven if you include Toad’s Assist, and they’re worth unleashing for the beautiful cutscene alone.

When performing attacks, an exclamation mark will appear at certain points, and pressing it at the exact time will allow you to unleash additional damage. It’s worthwhile to imprint this timing on your brain, and rely on your muscle memory, as it won’t always appear, and maximizing your damage output is incredibly advantageous.

A Timeless Classic Updated to Allow a New Generation to Enjoy It

This twenty-seven-year-old title has lovingly received a graphical overhaul to bring it in line with other titles on the Nintendo Switch. The bright and vibrant world absolutely pops, and the brand-new cutscenes bring each character to life. Many a new player may not realize that Super Mario RPG is even a remake of a SNES title.

“It is a cultivation of the best both sides have to offer, and ultimately brings a unique and captivating experience to its audience – whether veteran or new.”

The game now features two difficulty modes. The original Normal difficulty, and a Breezy difficulty for players who just want to experience the story without substantial difficulties. Breezy difficulty allows you to carry more items, enemies are easier to defeat, characters level up faster, and action commands are easier to precisely time. No matter which difficulty you choose, you are not permanently locked in and can change between difficulty at will through the menu. This doesn’t impact the game at all unless you are holding more items than the Normal difficulty allows. This means that you will not be penalized for dropping down from Normal to Breezy difficulty if you’re having a problem with a certain boss, for instance.

The soundtrack has also received the same treatment and has been newly arranged. Players are free to choose between the new and original soundtrack at will through the menu, with the original soundtrack being a sweet nostalgia trip for Super Mario RPG veterans.

The battle system has been updated and is more forgiving. A great example of this is the exclamation marks illustrating when players should time their button pushes for the action command prompts, as well as the new attack chains. The Triple Moves are another new addition that allows players to further damage their opponent and see the party members team up in all-new gorgeous, colorful cutscenes.

Once players have rolled credits on Super Mario RPG, they will be able to participate in new post-game boss fights which are far more challenging than anything in the original game and provide a challenge for any player wishing to partake in this optional challenge.

Undoubtedly, Super Mario RPG is sure to captivate any person willing to experience a wacky tale that often leaves the player in a state of delirium, not really sure what will happen next in a somewhat disjointed story that still manages to flow from one element to the next, charming its audience as it does so. Super Mario RPG is a unique title, and with all of its polish and 2023 enhancements, there is no better time to jump in.

Super Mario RPG
A delightful, updated experience that is still full of SNES era charm that both new and veteran players will enjoy.
  • Quality of life additions make it more accessible for a broader audience.
  • A fun mix of traditional Mario gameplay and RPG elements.
  • Addition of post-game boss fights provide players with more to do post-credits.
  • The story is rather disjointed at times and certain plot points are seemingly never unraveled.
  • Additional characters could have had more character development e.g. Geno
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
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Priscilla Wells
Priscilla is both the weekend editor and a freelance writer at Prima Games. She began working at Prima Games in early 2023. Prior to this, she spent nine years writing for both her own personal gaming blog, and other related websites. Priscilla has grown up playing video games, and most often plays her PS5 and Nintendo Switch consoles. You can find her playing Final Fantasy XIV, RuneScape, Pokemon GO, or lost in the latest RPG to release. She is an Australian living in the United States with her American husband, three children, and her Basset Hound. Before moving to the United States, Priscilla obtained a Bachelors of Secondary Education majoring in English and Japanese Language. This allowed her to teach English and Japanese in a high school setting. You can follow her on Twitter/X at @Cilllah