Sometimes, if you want to look to the future, you have to rediscover the past. No, it's not the slogan of a movie about time travel or one of those bills you find in Chinese fortune cookies, but what they had to think of Nintendo and AlphaDream when they realized they needed new ideas, a little more time and maybe even a pinch of nostalgia for a Mario & Luigi RPG that could astonish us like the first one. The latest iterations of this spin-off, which made its debut in 2003 on Game Boy Advance, beyond their quality, began to show the short breath in terms of innovations, and yet they show us every bit how crazy and addictive know how to be the "parallel" world in which our favorite brothers and sisters fight in turn against their crappy enemies. 2017 was also the year of Nintendo's remake, just think of Fire Emblem Echoes and Metroid: Samus Returns. Announced just in June, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Superstar Saga + Husbands joins the choir after just four months to remind us of the origins of the series, making it known to gamers who maybe in 2003 were not even born and have fun as usual, but with something extra.
Set in the magical world of Fagiolandia, rather than the usual Mushroom Realm, Superstar Saga tells us the misadventures of Mario & Luigi, engaged in desperate search after the wicked Ghignarda witch stole the voice of Princess Peach. First prize will be Bowser himself to ally with the two brothers to return the voice to Peach - and take it better! - but the airborne carrying our heroes is knocked down at the beginning of the game and ours are separated by Bowser and lost in an unknown kingdom. Then Mario & Luigi will go on their own to reach Ghignarda Castle, while the "faithful" Bowser followers look for their sovereign in a parallel story that gives the new title to the game, Bowser's Horses. But let's go with order. Superstar Saga is an almost pedissequa copy of the original dated 2003, only coated again: AlphaDream has in fact used the same style already admired in Paper Jam, the episode / crossover with Paper Mario of 2015, playing on a precise and cured lighting which embellishes the beautiful two-dimensional graphics, transforming each screen into a colorful combination of old school sprites.
Mario & Luigi explore Fagiolandia as in a traditional Japanese gameplay, hiring or avoiding enemies and solving small environmental puzzles. The camera frames the action from the top and side, transforming the game into a bizarre hybrid between an RPG and a platform. In Superstar Saga you jump a lot and most of the puzzles revolve around the abilities that have made the hydraulic brothers famous: the screwed jump allows you to overcome the ravines, the double jump reaches raised platforms, the hammer obviously shuts us off the road and by saying. On the map, the player controls both Mario & Luigi: the two heroes move simultaneously and the A and B keys respectively correspond to the jumping of Mario & Luigi, while X blows both at the same time. Field actions temporarily change the mapping of the keys and you can scroll by pressing the backbones or, in the case of this remake, simply select them on the touch screen if you are not viewing the map. The new Superstar Saga is rich in small adjustments that make it even more accessible than in the past.
The first one to jump to the eye - even for its inconsistency, in fact - is also what allows us to save at any time by crushing the touch screen icon: it is a very useful solution but, as we said, it is inconsistent because rescue blocks are still scattered around the world, despite their redundancy. At times, therefore, you have the impression that AlphaDream has reprogrammed the game "in scale 1: 1" and then modified it at a later time. Not bad: some novelties are really very much appreciated. The rescue at will is one of these; the detailed map, with both zoom and customizable reminders, is another, while less experienced players will probably find the option to act on the difficulty level - in effect the only option on the screen - and make the fighting much easier. The battles of the Mario & Luigi series have always divided the audience into two: there are those who love them, like us, and who prefer a more classical and reasoned structure. The clashes are actually shifts, with Mario & Luigi deployed to the left and the enemies on the right, but the player is led to play an active part in the clash that surpasses the simple choice of the attack to launch or the object to consume. By pressing the keys at the right time, it is possible to amplify the damage of Mario and Luigi's strikes, as it is possible to dodge and counter-attack enemies in real time. Sometimes these maneuvers require timing over the lines, so AlphaDream has implemented a mechanics introduced in the latest episodes and now just hold down a key to parry attacks, with only a small amount of damage. In this way, they are all happy, and the traditional form of JRPGs is also respected, but in our opinion the series has always given the best of itself thanks to interactive fights, much more engaging than in the vast majority of RPGs. It is about dealing with bosses.
After reaching the Fagiolandia Village, about a couple of hours after the adventure began, finally Bowser's Buzzers Unlock, the unpublished mode that enriches Superstar Saga, and which from then on becomes accessible at any moment after have put the game in pause. In reality, Bowser's Husbands is perhaps the weaker addition to the remake, despite being a real mini-game rather than a simple feature. The story of Bowser's Husbands runs alongside the misadventures of Mario & Luigi in the kingdom of Fagiolandia: in the shoes of a Goomba and a small army of bats we will have to look for Bowser, who disappeared at the beginning of the game following the Soggigno attack. In fact, what we will do is look at numerous, hilarious cutscenes in which the bad guys who name the game end up clashing with each other and with their new enemies in simple, strategic-minded battles that remind you of the distant Fire Emblem. Before any conflict, it is possible to change our team, as force relations between the units on the ground respect the rules of a simple Chinese lice: melee enemies are stronger than the distant ones, the distance ones have the best on the units flying and the latter, of course, have an advantage over those in the melee. The player must then form his team based on the composition of the enemy team, if he wants to have the best, since once the clash has started, his role will almost entirely be reduced to that of a mere spectator, although in some cases it is possible to intervene directly but limited, for example by pressing a button at the right time to inflict more damage.
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Husband is a nice remake. It is faithful to the original but projected in the present with a new and nostalgic beauty at the same time and a whole host of facilities that make it more accessible, accessible and even more enjoyable than it already was. Today, in this new incarnation, it is probably the highest point of the spin-off series along with Journey to the Center of Bowser, which at this point we hope to review soon in a new dress, perhaps even on Switch.
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