Original Mario and Luigi team-up RPG gets new look, new campaign for 3DS release | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Original Mario and Luigi team-up RPG gets new look, new campaign for 3DS release

October 11, 2017 - 8:28 AM

Video game superstar Mario may be primarily known for his platforming prowess, but he has also made considerable contributions to the role-playing genre for over two decades.

Beginning with the acclaimed "Super Mario RPG," released back in 1996 for the Super Nintendo, Mario has appeared in 13 role-playing games spanning eight systems. While these games have largely been well received by critics and gamers, it can be argued that some of Mario's more recent RPG adventures have lacked the appeal of previous outings.

So this time Nintendo is giving one of its early RPG successes a fresh coat of paint and some extra features as it continues to support its handheld 3DS family of systems. "Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions" is a remake of a popular game released in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance that kicked off a subseries of games that teamed Mario with his brother, and less famous sidekick, Luigi.

The brothers are once again tasked with aiding the oft-imperilled Princess Peach, the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom. But instead of being kidnapped by usual antagonist Bowser, this time Peach has had her voice stolen by an enemy agent of the neighbouring Beanbean Kingdom. In fact, Bowser tries to help the brothers out before he goes missing when his ship is shot down over Beanbean airspace.

The "Mario & Luigi" games are defined by a consistent mechanic, where the player takes control of both brothers simultaneously. Luigi trails Mario on the screen as they traverse the Beanbean Kingdom, but the twins are assigned different jump buttons and can do some tasks individually. They can also combine forces to do special moves, like high jumps or spin jumps that cover long distances.

Combat is turn based, with Mario and Luigi acting independently. They can jump on their foes, smack them with hammers or even combine for super attacks. Time stops while selecting a command for Mario or Luigi, but there is a certain amount of action-game timing involved here as well.

Mario and Luigi can nullify attacks, or even hut their attacker, with well-timed jumping or hammering counters. On offence, hitting the action button at the right time will result in Mario or Luigi doing increased damage.

Regular battles are relatively easy, and even boss battles breeze by once you figure out the timing of their attacks. But there are some interesting mechanics at play, particularly in the exploration, and the optimistic tone and often humorous set pieces make for a fun, engaging RPG.

While the main quest in the 3DS version of "Superstar Saga" is mainly a graphical update, unlike the recently released "Metroid: Samus Returns," which is a ground-up remake of a 1991 Game Boy title, an all-new sidequest called "Bowser's Minions" is included in the updated package.

"Bowser's Minions" features a lowly "goomba," the mushroom-like creatures that are usually the first thing to get stomped in any Mario game, as he tries to assemble an army of Bowser's lackeys to help find their missing overlord. Though the goomba is surrounded by an "aura of stupidity," his determination slowly starts to win over his peers.

At first glance "Bowser's Minions" may not seem like much. The game features maps parallel to those found in "Superstar Saga," with each having several nodes featuring set battles. Once players set up a formation of minions and enter a battle, control is largely taken out of their hands as the fights automatically resolve themselves.

But the game really can grow on you. The plot is sweet and infused with the good-natured sense of humour that defines Mario games. And once you start recruiting distinct fighting units with specific strengths and learn commands your captains can execute during battles, the game suddenly seems a bit deeper that it appears at first glance.

Players can switch between the two adventures at any time, and "Bowser's Minions" provides a fun diversion as a break from the main campaign.

It should be noted that the 3-D functionality has not been included with this game, though it is still playable on either 2DS or 3DS systems.

"Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga" is rated E for everyone and retails for around $49.99.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
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