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After a towering weapon slashes into Bowser’s castle and scatters the Star Road, a series of quests lead Super Mario RPG on a path to defeat Smithy and his crew of power-hungry weapon traffickers. This is a brisk adventure that combines whimsy and charm with smart RPG tweaks, most obviously in the combat system.
Story of Super Mario RPG
In an era where most 16-bit games didn’t even bother with narrative, it’s refreshing to find that Super Mario RPG’s story has held up quite well. It’s the tale of a gang of oddballs – including Mallow, a tadpole with the ability to change the weather and Geno, a wooden doll possessed by a spirit from the stars – who band together to defeat an evil sorcerer.
It’s an imaginative adventure that takes you to sunken ships, deserts and even a town for reformed video game baddies. It’s full of witty dialogue and charming characters, but the real star of the show is the gameplay.
It’s a mix of Super Mario RPG platforming and RPG elements, with turn-based combat featuring up to three members of your party. It’s a bit of a juggling act to get the hang of, with timing-based button presses, but once you do, it makes for a great combination. Plus, it’s super fun!
Graphics Super Mario RPG
The original game’s graphics were an isometric 2.5D experience displaying 2D sprites on 3D backgrounds. Super Mario RPG’s remake is a full-fledged HD upgrade, but retaining that same style. It’s a smart move that makes the game look just right.
This is the first RPG in the Mario series, and it draws heavily from Square’s major JRPG franchises. You’ll wander a large world, searching for magical McGuffins and completing quests for odd folks. You’ll also be engaged in many turn-based battles.
A key element in combat is a new mechanic called “timed hits.” By responding to visual cues and hitting the A button at certain points during attacks, you can dampen damage from enemy attacks or boost the power of your own characters. It’s a nice touch that adds an extra level of engagement to the repetitive combat. The game is also filled with a variety of minigames, like a 3D minecart level and sidescrolling followup, quizzes, visual math puzzles, and more.
Super Mario RPG Platforming
It might be less novel now that we have Mario & Luigi and Paper Mario, but at the time Super Mario RPG was groundbreaking for having a game that mixed platforming with RPG battles. Wandering around a large world, hunting down magical McGuffins and taking on quests for weird folks is all familiar stuff, but what really makes it stand out are the wacky boss encounters. They’re full of charm and brimming with character, plus they still pack a punch for those who are ready to take them on.
The story may be a bit disjointed and rushed, a series of non sequiturs, but it’s a fun romp that’s worth playing in its own right. Plus, there’s light platforming and a handful of minigames to keep the momentum going, adding some quintessentially Nintendo flair to an otherwise fairly conventional RPG experience.
Super Mario RPG Combat
Mario RPG is split between beating baddies in turn-based combat and wandering the mushroom kingdom, solving puzzles with a group of zany characters. From a wise Frog Sage who relies on safety wire and an out-of-frame Lakitu to hover over him, to meta commentary poking fun at role-playing tropes, the game’s spirited cast keeps the world of Super Mario RPG constantly entertaining.
The battle system has been tweaked with minor improvements that add up to make the action feel fresh without sacrificing the gameplay’s underlying simplicity. The action-command prompts now have visual cues to help you time them correctly, and chaining perfect actions builds up a new “action gauge” that rewards you with a flashy triple attack based on your party composition.
The revamp also adds some interesting new enemies to battle. From a gentleman pirate shark to a sentient wedding cake, these new foes make the familiar battles feel more exciting by adding variety.