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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Rondina

Super Mario RPG Review

A timeless classic returns with the whimsical world of Super Mario RPG on the Nintendo Switch, my full review.

Nintendo revisits the 16-bit roleplaying game genre with Mario and friends in Super Mario RPG. The original first graced the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in 1996 and it was a delightful, yet unexpected adventure. Developed by Square (makers of the legendary Final Fantasy franchise) the original game was a ground-breaking fusion of Mario’s roots with Square’s RPG expertise. The combination gave fans an incredible, hilarious game that Mario fans didn’t even know they wanted, but quickly became a franchise favourite.

"The combination gave fans an incredible, hilarious game that Mario fans didn’t even know they wanted, but quickly became a franchise favourite."

Fast forward to present day, and the remake brings this beloved adventure to a new generation with polished graphics, refined gameplay, and the same quirky charm that captured my heart nearly three decades ago. Let’s dive in and explore one of the most unique Mario titles out there that no Nintendo Switch owner should miss out on.

Super Mario RPG Details

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch

Developer(s): Nintendo, Intelligent Systems, Square Enix

Publisher(s): Nintendo

Genre: Role-playing game (RPG)

Mode(s): Single-player

ESRB Rating: E for Everyone


A star studded story

Super Mario RPG’s tale begins with a familiar scene – Mario rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser’s clutches – but things quickly spiral into chaos when a colossal sword, Exor, crashes into the castle. For what it’s worth you rescue the Princess this time around in near record time, but there is even more to experience in this story. Exor’s catastrophic entrance scatters seven Star Pieces, and you are tasked with finding and returning all of them. Mario’s quest to retrieve the star pieces unfolds into an epic saga filled with unexpected allies, dastardly villains, and a battle to save the Mushroom Kingdom from the nefarious Smithy Gang.


The story’s humour and charm are ever present, the original writing remains nearly unchanged, but it still had me laughing constantly. Mario and his crew go mostly “word-less” through their adventure, but they exude so much character that their expressive actions do plenty to tell the story. Every twist and turn is fun experience especially with the friends and foes you run into.

"The environments are so zany and the characters so creative, you’ll look forward to what comes next."

The environments are so zany and the characters so creative, you’ll look forward to what comes next. All told, the story well over a dozen hours of playtime, which for me is the sweet spot as the adventure doesn’t overstay its welcome and offers a satisfying conclusion.


Satisfying turn-based combat

The gameplay of Super Mario RPG is a masterful blend of turn-based battles that feature timed button prompts during combat. The remake stays true to the original’s innovative timed-hit system, where precise button presses enhance attacks and defenses, adding a layer of skill to each encounter. I really enjoyed the return of the timed button prompts it always kept enemy encounters feeling active and engaged. I didn’t find any of the encounters too much of a challenge and they were often over fast especially if I was able to pull off well-timed bonuses. The game features an enemy monster list with over 200+ foes giving a wide variety of combat experiences that help to keep things fast paced and fresh.


Super Mario RPG Screenshot Gallery


You can also fill up a gauge with well-timed salvos that allow each character to pull off unique triple hit attacks. There is also a selection of weapons and accessories you’ll find along your journey that unlock an array of interesting attacks. Mario for example, can kick a koopa shell at an enemy, or my personal favourite, Bowser can crumple up Mario and use him as a projectile to hurl at enemies. With a party of memorable characters, each with unique abilities, strategizing becomes immensely satisfying as you progress. Although you won’t find a ton of depth to some of the items and accessories you equip your characters with, it still offered enough to keep me interested. The game’s pacing is brisk, ensuring that the adventure remains engaging from start to finish.


A vibrant, beautiful adventure

Visually, Super Mario RPG looks great and has a ton of variety in its environments. The developers have lovingly recreated the game’s distinctive art style with modern flair, resulting in vibrant, detailed areas that burst with colour and personality. There’s plenty of variety in settings too: you’ll find yourself in lush green spaces, dark caverns, and brilliant castles with beautifully detailed backgrounds. The cutscenes in the game also look great and really show of the modern take on the classic look characters had from the original SNES adventure. They give-off the vibe of a Saturday morning cartoon with fast paced action and an array of unique characters. Performance-wise, the game maintains a smooth framerate, ensuring that gameplay is as fluid as it is visually charming.


Completely remastered audio

One of the clear standouts in the Super Mario RPG is the sound design. The soundtrack, originally composed by the legendary Yoko Shimomura, has been beautifully remastered, preserving the iconic melodies while giving them a fresh, orchestral quality. I love how Nintendo took some of the most iconic music of my childhood and added layers of more complex sound, while keep the “soul” of the originals intact. Sound effects have been updated with the same care, providing a crisp and immersive experience that complements the on-screen action perfectly. It all combines into one of the best remastered soundtracks I’ve ever experienced.

Final Thoughts on Super Mario RPG

Super Mario RPG is a great remake that respects its roots while also modernizing its classic formula in all the right ways. It’s a game that will make you laugh, strategize, and perhaps even transport you back, offering a dose of nostalgia. With its charming storyline, engaging gameplay, beautiful visuals, and enchanting audio, it’s the perfect time to revisit or experience this adventure for the first time.


Super Mario RPG Pros

+Engaging, active combat system

+Rich, character-driven narrative

+Gorgeous, updated visuals


Super Mario RPG Cons

-Some frame rate hiccups in menu and map transitions

-A relatively short main campaign

-Limited post-game content


Overall Assessment of Super Mario RPG

Gameplay: 8.5/10

Graphics: 8/10

Sound: 9.5/10

Replayability: 8/10


Overall Rating: 34/40 (85%)

A copy of the game was provided by Nintendo for the purpose of this review.

 

About the Author - Matthew "Dapper Tux" Rondina

Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Along with being the Managing Editor of dappertux.com, he has bylines with Best Buy, Cineplex Entertainment, Mobile Syrup and Walmart. Follow Matthew’s gaming + tech adventures on multiple social platforms with the handle @dapper_tux via "X", Instagram, Threads, TikTok and join in on the fun!

 

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