Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions review

Some untold stories don’t need to be told, and some classics don’t need to be improved on.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga began its life in 2003 on the Game Boy Advance as a tale of Nintendo’s favorite pair of siblings. This re-release for the 3DS leaves Superstar Saga basically untouched from its original turn-based Japanese role-playing form, save for a few visual improvements, but with the addition of what amounts to a separate game within Superstar Saga: the tactics RPG Bowser’s Minions.

I never played Superstar Saga in its original form, so experiencing it for the first time was a delight. — iIt’s a game that deserves to be enjoyed by a new generation. The entirely new content of Bowser’s Minions, though, is a dead weight on the active, vibrant fun of Superstar Saga. Every minute I was playing Bowser’s Minions, I wanted to be playing Superstar Saga, like a child choking down Brussels sprouts while dreaming of ice cream. The only saving grace for Bowser’s Minions is that it makes Superstar Saga feel even more enjoyable in comparison.


Superstar Saga doesn’t really need that shadow to make it seem bright, though. The game is just fun, the kind of colorful light fun that Nintendo’s flagship games are known for. The storyline of Superstar Saga doesn’t break any new ground in the standard Mario formula — Princess Peach is in trouble, Bowser is involved, all the usual greatest hits — but it’s a formula that works. The dialogue is breezy, and it got a few genuine chuckles from me now and then. I was particularly fond of the villain henchman Fawful, who speaks in a mixture of ostentation and bent grammar with phrases like “fink-rat” and sentences like “my words will be spoken with the bluntness of a knife for buttering!”

The story, as pleasant as it is, wasn’t what kept my fingers itching toward my 3DS to play more of Superstar Saga. I love an…

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