Release Date: October 6th, 2017
I’m actually something of a fan of videogame remakes and remasters. By all means they are a cash-in, a means to tap into gamers’ nostalgia with a false pretense that they are the definitive version or a new way to try your hand at a classic you may have missed. Who am I to argue, though? Whether it’s reliving a moment or getting a second chance, I enjoy these little love letters that developers fondly create!
Until about a year ago, I had never even tried the original Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga until it dropped on the Wii U’s Virtual Console. The only thing that makes that crazy is that I’ve played other games in the series like Partners in Time and Bowser’s Inside Story first and loved them, so imagine my surprise when I did finally go back to the beginning and discover that it’s probably the best of the bunch!
While the unique, two brother control scheme has remained well-trodden and worn, it works out well and helps define Mario & Luigi as a series. What Superstar Saga does that all the games that follow doesn’t is add a healthy dose of genuine humor in its writing, its animation and its endearing characters. One name needs only be mentioned: Fawful. While taking Bowser out of the equation as the main antagonist and replacing him with something else wasn’t new at this point, this was an opportunity to take the brothers out of the Mushroom Kingdom and have them adventure across new lands.
The only thing that’s really been added to this re-release is that the visuals have been overhauled to match later games like Dream Team and Paper Jam. While I love the original Game Boy Advance design, the animation of the 3DS games is top notch and seeing Cackletta and company move around as if they jumped straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon. With that and the clever dialog, Superstar Saga is looking more and more like weekend cereal-binging fare.
There’s also a side-story known as Bowser’s Minions added in, which if I’m being honest I’m a little on the fence about. It looks like something of a lite strategy game in which you take Goombas, Boos and Koopa Troopas on a journey to rescue their bumbling boss from the clutches of a superior evil. From video it doesn’t look terribly compelling to me, but it does follow along with the plot of Superstar Saga, so it may be interesting enough in that respect if only for its different perspective.
Just when I though the 3DS was going to be setting off into the sunset quietly, Nintendo shows that it still has some horsepower to keep the quaint and loveable little portable going for the foreseeable future alongside the Switch.