What is Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions?
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions is a remake of the original Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, originally released on the GameBoy Advance in 2003. A humorous role-playing adventure that sees the moustachioed duo working together to bash enemies, explore dungeons and solve puzzles in an effort to rescue Princess Peach's stolen voice, it's a game that's light-hearted and silly, and a much more story-driven adventure to Mario's average platform-leaping, coin-collecting, Goomba-stomping outing. Full of kooky characters, twists and turns and oodles of fun, an additional 'Bowser's Minions' story is new for the remake, and runs alongside the main story mode, starring a little Goomba that could, as he tries to hunt down his missing master, Bowser - by becoming the captain of a squad of his own minions.
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How do you play Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions?
As a role playing adventure, Superstar Saga sees you set out on an adventure, as you explore the Mushroom Kingdom, and take part in turn based battles - although in both cases, Mario is controlled with the A button, and Luigi with the B button. When exploring, which often involves some degree of light platforming, you'll need to move the duo around as one, leaping your way through each maze-like dungeon making Mario jump with A, and Luigi with B. The bros also have a variety of special abilities at their disposal, which you'll need to navigate some of the more puzzling areas, such as a high jump to access higher ledges, a hovering tornado spin to glide across small gaps, and the ability to whack your brother with a hammer to squash him down to size to fit through holes. You'll need to make creative use of said moves to pass through the game's many labyrinth-like caves, mountain sides and forests and rescue Princess Peach's voice.
Battles are a fairly easy-going turn-based affair, with Mario and Luigi taking it in turns with the bad guys to attack, sling special moves and use items. However, Mario & Luigi adds an extra dimension to the battles by letting you make use of a few well-timed button presses to deal extra damage to enemies, or dodge their attacks completely. Depending on the attack in question, you'll need to press the A or B button at the right time to do an extra bounce on a bad guy's head, give them an extra hard whack with a hammer or leap over an enemy attack - sometimes even managing to land on their head as they pass underneath you to deal an extra special blow.
How easy is Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions to pick up and play?
As far as role-playing games go, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions is definitely towards the easier, pick-up-and-play side, with copious tutorials, explanations and demos available if you need them. While the battles can take a little bit of getting used to, Superstar Saga adds a helpful 'Easy Mode' that can be toggled on and off, which makes Mario and Luigi stronger, and enemies weaker. In terms of getting the timing right with the aforementioned 'Bros Attacks', you can also toggle 'Easy Attack Mode' on mid-battle with the Y button, which makes the timing of these specific co-op attacks easier - however, it won't affect your normal jump/hammer attacks.
That said, there is the odd section here that may be a bit tricky for less able players, and there's no way to dial down the difficulties on those. For example, an early one requires you to hover between four different platforms to collect a number of purple orbs before the timer runs out - for anyone who's not totally au fait with analogue sticks, it can be a little tight. Some boss fights require a bit of experimentation too, as it may not be initially all that clear what you're meant to do, such as the battle with Hoohoorus, who likes to hide under pillars to stop you attacking him. When fighting him, you first need to attack the pillar he isn't under, otherwise he'll just run straight under that when you destroy the pillar he is hiding under - which can seem a little counter-intuitive.
It's also worth noting that Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions is an extremely text-heavy and story-driven adventure. With no voice acting to speak of, it really does require a confident reader to get the most out of it - especially as one of the best characters you'll encounter has a bit of an odd grasp of grammar, which can make his sentences a little tricky to understand.
- "Bowser's Koopa Cruiser is parked just up ahead. Hoo! That is one mean machine! Boy! ...Anyway, it's time you were on your way! Head in that direction once you're ready, OK?"
- "Princess Peach's sweet voice will soon be the bread that makes the sandwich of Cackletta's desires! And this battle shall be the delicious mustard on that bread! The mustard of your doom!"
- "You must start now. And you must catch 10 Hoohoo Spirits within 35 seconds! Do not fall off the ledges, or you will immediately fail."
- "I HAS CHORTLES"
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions is as you'd expect from everyone's favourite plumber-turned-Princess-rescuer - there's little in the way of mature content to speak of, with no bad language, sexual content or blood and gore whatsoever. The very minor violence here is your stereotypical cartoon-ish slapstick style, with Mario and Luigi jumping on enemies' heads or bopping them with hammers to defeat them, at which point they simply disappear in a flash of light, amid a shower of coins.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo 3DS