I recently reviewed Super Mario Bros. Wonder and talked about how much I loved it, so much so that at the time it was sure to be my Nintendo Switch game of the year! Well, I can now say that after 25 plus years, I know why Super Mario RPG is beloved as it is. I finally put a stop to Smithy’s reign of terror and I can say that it is one of the best RPGs I have played in years!
Growing up in the UK, we did not get Super Mario RPG on the Super Nintendo. I remember seeing it in magazines, but truth be told in 1996 I had already moved on to the Sony PlayStation and the Nintendo 64 was on my radar. I had dabbled a little with it via emulation and even played around an hour on the SNES Classic, but I never gave the game much attention. I had always heard how much people loved it and the whole “Geno for Smash” thing that had been around for years, but now I realize why this is such a beloved game for so many people.
Super Mario RPG is just full of charm. We start out with just Mario who on a routine quest to save Peach from Bowser ends up getting sucked into this massive adventure to stop a being called Smithy that along with his minions has taken seven magic stars. These stars are what allow people to dream! Mario first of all comes across Mallow. Mallow is awesome and my favorite character in the game. Forget Geno for Smash, I want Mallow for Smash, Mallow for Mario Kart, Mallow for Mario Party, and a bunch of Mallow merch. Mallow has a ton of personality, he thinks he is a frog, but he is really a lost prince.
Smithy and his crew have taken over Bowser’s Castle, so Bowser joins the team. Actually, the way the game handles Bowser is awesome. Yes, he joins the team, but he thinks he is the leader and that Mario and co are his new minions. We also get Geno who is an entity from the star road that takes over the body of a puppet and Princess Peach comes along for the ride too. It is a great collection of characters and for me, Mallow is the star, but Bowser is a close second. The story here is a lot of fun and just full of charm.
The gameplay in Super Mario RPG is awesome. It is a rather basic turn based RPG, but it is just so much fun and so satisfying to actually play. You can have three members in your party, I had Mario, Geno, and Bowser as my main three, but you can switch them out as you play. Sadly, little Mallow was not as strong as Geno so towards the end of the game I really had to stick with Geno.
You need to find the seven missing stars and you get to interact with a bunch of quirky characters along the way. I liked how the game always pushed you along in the right direction and there are some handy quality of life things here that make it an “easier” experience such as regular autosaves and a breezy mode you can activate which gives you faster XP and makes enemies easier.
Even though I had never really played it, the presentation of the original Super Mario RPG was always something I thought was cool. With this remake, I just love what they have done. It looks so clear, so defined and it is just packed with charm. It is actually one hell of a great looking Nintendo Switch game, the few cut scenes especially are incredibly well done.
The game just has a ton of personality and it has a fun and perfectly fitting soundtrack too. You can switch between the new or original soundtrack if you prefer. My only criticism is that I wish this game had voice acting, especially for the cut scenes. Leave Mario mute, but I think they could have given the other characters a voice.
Part of me is mad at myself for never giving Super Mario RPG a proper chance for all these years, but on the flip side of that, would I have had such a magical time with this remake if I already knew everything that was going to happen? This game is easily on my top five games of the year list! I can see myself playing through this again as I had so much fun with it. If you have a Nintendo Switch, Super Mario RPG is a must play!