The Patient Gamer

Super Mario RPG

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Nostalgia’s a hell of a drug. This is seldom more apparent than when talking to someone about old Nintendo games. The first time I mentioned that Super Mario RPG was the next game in my queue, the friend I was talking to immediately responded, “That game is SO good.” Is it really?

I’ve mentioned before that I was never a Nintendo console gamer. The first Nintendo “console” I ever owned was a DS. So when it comes to old Nintendo games, nostalgia is something I can appreciate, but that I don’t identify with myself. This affects pretty much all of the Nintendo classics, but none so much so as the Super Mario games.

Everything about the Super Mario games is so child-like, so cartoonish, so happy and bright and colorful that I have trouble taking them seriously. It’s a style that works for platformers. Mario Kart is an absolute blast. But for an RPG? Really? I like my RPGs with an edge and some visual styling, not talking stuffed animals and dancing turtles.

It turns out that Nintendo pulled it off pretty well, and that’s coming from someone who’s not a fan of the style. The look and feel of Super Mario RPG is exactly what I would expect of it - it’s bright, cheery, cute, and not incredibly deep. The story is simple and unburdened by the complexity of real human interactions. On the bright side, it’s something I don’t mind playing in front of my three-year-old.

As gameplay goes, it’s a decent RPG. You can form a party of 3 with different characters who have different strengths. Most of the battles are not terribly difficult, and I ended up using pretty much the same strategy throughout the game.  It’s turn-based, but you can time button hits to do extra damage, which keeps the battles interesting. When exploring, there are lots of easter eggs to find - collectibles and challenge fights.

Perhaps the real selling point of Super Mario RPG is that it’s completely unintimidating. There’s not the worry of having to save every 5 minutes in case you messed up, or to approach battles with just the right technique at the risk of getting wiped. There’s some challenge, but it’s easy to throw on and play whenever, even if the kids are interrupting every five minutes and you have to pause it to take the dog out. You’re not going to miss anything, or fail at some intricate test of timing.

If you grew up with Mario, you’ll probably really enjoy throwing Super Mario RPG up on an emulator. If you’ve never rubbed that sweet Mario nostalgia on your gums, there’s probably less of an incentive to play. If you like to get in touch with your inner child and play something that doesn’t require a lot of attention or thinking, then it might still be worth checking out.

Mission: Complete

Roosky’s Rating: 3 / 5

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