Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga


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Date Created: 2010-09-08
Date Modified: 2010-09-08


Platform: Game Boy Advance
Release Year: 2003
Publisher: Nintendo
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Amazon Link: Buy from Amazon.com


As games get ever more realistic and violent it's nice to come across one like Mario & Luigi that values gameplay, originality and gentle humour above other more gratuitous gimmicks. A quasi-sequel to the N64's superb Paper Mario (itself a sequel to the never-released-in-this-country Super Mario RPG on the SNES), Mario & Luigi is essentially an action role-playing game, although it has enough action sequences and mini-games to evade easy pigeonholing.

The game's preposterous storyline involves Prince Peach's voice being stolen (and replaced with exploding speech bubbles) and both Mario and Luigi going off in pursuit of those responsible. One of the main conceits of the game is that you control both brothers at the same time, with the actions of one controlled via the A button and the other by the B button. This results in a lot of jumping on each other's heads and some genuinely inventive cooperative puzzles.

Combat in the game is turn-based and again you control both brothers at the same time, with special "Bros. Attacks" taking the place of magic. This aspect of the game is particularly close to Paper Mario, with both attack and defence being aided by a press of the character's button at the appropriate time. In these cynical times it's something of a relief to see games like Mario & Luigi still being released: it manages to amuse and entertain without upsetting anyone and is one of the very best games to be released in 2003. --David Jenkins