Initially crafted for the SNES, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is a timeless gem that has been reborn with enhancements, breathing new life into Mario's RPG adventures. Join me as we uncover the magic that makes Super Mario RPG a beloved masterpiece, celebrating its fun-filled battles, captivating storylines, and the enduring legacy it has woven into the fabric of RPG history. Whether you're a seasoned Mario enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of RPGs, Super Mario RPG invites players of all kinds to indulge in its whimsical charm and embark on an unforgettable quest. Now, without further ado, RPG Ranked presents... a Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars Review: A timeless classic reborn.
Battle System - 9.5
The SNES original already had an entertaining and intuitive battle system, but this remake expanded on it in a meaningful way that didn't tarnish the original charm! With the additions of party member switching, Triple Moves, Action Command chains, and perfect guards/splash damage, this combat rewarded the skills of veterans perfectly while being fun and charming for beginners. While this game didn't boast as good of a progression system as classic Paper Mario games, I adore this type of game with traditional party members—hopefully, this sells well enough to warrant a sequel! Every character feels so different with their unique abilities, weapons, and stats! My favorite additions were the Perfect Guard and Action Command chain buffs, both of which were practically necessary for slaying the most challenging bosses. Speaking of bosses, this game has a fantastic line-up of them, as well as the ability to refight some of them. However, while the enemy design is one of the game's biggest highlights, it was sad to see the boss refights that were featured so prevalently in the trailers only limited to a select few bosses. Most of my favorite bosses were excluded from the line-up! However, outside of this flaw, this game is close to having a perfect, fun, intuitive, innovative, and fast-paced battle system that hasn't been outdone by any other game.
Story - 6
This game started the legacy of the Paper Mario franchise, where you have to collect five to eight items and then take on the big bad. Eponymous with the name, this game revolves around collecting the Seven Stars and killing Smithy, an evil weapons manufacturer trying to use the power of the stars to take over the world. However, outside of that and some light story revolving around Mallow's past and Geno's motivations, this game's story is lacking even compared to games like Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Super Paper Mario, and The Origami King. As much as I love a couple of the character vignettes, and the execution of the story was anything but bland, this game could have done its story so much better.
Music - 8.5
Yoko Shimamura is a musical genius, and this game is arguably the game that made her famous as a composer, even though she worked on iconic games like Street Fighter II and Live A Live beforehand. While this soundtrack isn't as great as some of her future masterpieces like Kingdom Hearts, Xenoblade Chronicles, and Final Fantasy XV, it perfectly supplements the game's emotions through its gameplay, story, and visuals. The music in this game was catchy, fun, and perfect for capturing the essence of Mario! I wouldn't necessarily start jamming out to the music of this game, but I always looked forward to hearing what new music would be present in the following area! While this soundtrack isn't my cup of tea, it perfectly captured the essence of Mario and went on to show the world Yoko Shimamura's musical genius yet again.
Characters - 7
The characters in this game may not have meaningful character arcs or emotions, but they sure do have charm. Mario's facial expressions and body language are hilarious, Peach's bipolarity in her independent and dependent natures was an excellent middle ground for fans, Bowser was hilarious as ever, Mallow was incredibly adorable, and Geno was mysterious and suave. And then there's Smithy, my favorite Mario RPG villain concept-wise, even with the subpar execution. Even Smithy's minions were pretty memorable! While these characters are fun, their charm and iconicness can't make up for the fact they are comparatively thin, even for a Mario RPG.
Chapters - 8.5
Compared to the Paper Mario games, this game's "chapters" aren't as structured and similar to one another. One star may consist of saving some moles in a thirty-minute escapade, whereas another is visiting a cloud city, the land of the monsters, a vast desert, and a large volcano dungeon in a grand adventure to learn of Mallow's past. It would be an understatement to say that this game's chapter quality was inconsistent. I love some portions of this game, particularly Chapter 4, which is saving Peach from a tower and having her join the party and then go to Star Hill, one of the best locations in the game, and Chapter 6, the aforementioned chapter with so many distinct locations. While nothing here was terrible, this game had five good chapters and two phenomenal ones, whereas The Thousand-Year Door had five phenomenal ones, and The Origami King had four, for example. This category still deserves a respectable score of 8.5 because this game has so many fantastic locations! This game set a tremendous precedent for future Mario RPGs and did a fantastic job of having charming locales from the get-go. I even prefer the locations in this game to its direct follow-up, Paper Mario 64! I like this game better in general, but that's a topic for another day. But I digress—it's time for the next category.
Customization System - 7
I adore the abilities and equipment in this game, but they are somewhat limited, especially in comparison to the Badge System in Paper Mario. Lots of abilities are just direct upgrades to others with the same Action Commands (looking at you, Mario and Geno), which wasn't all that fun. This customization is about as barebones as you get, outside of the fact this is one of the first RPGs in which you could see your equipment change your appearance. This customization does just enough to make battles tons of fun, but it could've been so much better—especially when games like Final Fantasy V, Dragon Quest V, Final Fantasy VI, and Dragon Quest VI were doing on the same console!
Art & Graphics - 8
This game looks very polished and pristine, even if it loses some of the zany vibes present in the original. However, despite losing some of its unique flair, it still has a fantastic charm and retains the general idea the original art was going for. While it may not be as distinct, I prefer these new graphics primarily because of the beautiful cutscenes that translate the models beautifully. The 2.5D style simultaneously looks freshly modern and classically retro, which is fantastic. However, as great as it looks, there is a lot of stylistic competition out there, and relatively, this game's beautiful art can't match up to some of its RPG competitors like Persona 5, Dragon Quest XI, or another recent remake, Star Ocean: The Second Story R.
Sidequests - 8
While this game doesn't have many sidequests, it has some fantastic ones! While the Hero's Suit Super Jump quest is stupid, every other quest is awesome! From tracking down Culex with the Shiny Stone and killing him, to replaying the fun minigames, to collecting the Frog Coins, to refighting bosses, to playing music for a frog composer, to finding the Lazy Shells, there are many fun sidequests to take on here. My favorite quest was refighting Culex—that refight was challenging, tactical, and required mastery of the game! It's one of those boss fights I'll make another separate save file to boot up the game and refight the boss again just for the heck of it. While I can't say this game can rival the content of some of my favorite RPGs like Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, Final Fantasy VI, and Octopath Traveler II, it still adds just enough meaningful side content to make this game sparkle.
Quality of Life - 8.5
This game made a ton of substantial quality-of-life upgrades over the SNES original! With in-battle party switching, fast traveling, and autosaving, the modern upgrades are nice! The inventory size and level caps are interesting... I got to level 30 relatively quickly, and it've been nice to level up more. While the inventory size could be claimed as balancing, there are better ways to balance a game. However, I ended up warming up to this due to the new addition of the storage box, so this is not a real issue. Speaking of balancing, difficulty settings would've been great, as the new battle system makes the game even easier than it already was! Also, some accessories had vague or unusual descriptions, making it hard to know what I was equipping. However, in the end, this game still holds up phenomenally well, and the few issues present don't render the game anywhere near unplayable!
Fun Factor: 9
Overall Score: 80%
Letter Rating: A
Super Mario RPG has left behind a legacy and sprouted many Mario RPG franchises since, with Paper Mario being one of my favorite RPG franchises of all time. While this game isn't perfect, it doesn't feel dated and holds up well. This was my first experience with this unforgettable RPG, and it has quickly become a game I adore. While I'm more of a Paper Mario guy, I would love to see a sequel to this beloved game with better storytelling, customization, and dialogue to make the game even more memorable. I hope this game sells well—a Super Mario RPG 2 would be phenomenal. I recommend this game to RPG fans, Mario fans, and, honestly, gamers in general. You'll find something to love here, no matter who you are.
Want to check out the game that started the Mario RPG spin-off series? And support our website in the process? Check it out down below! Both the original and the remake are amazing, but I would definitely suggest the remake over the original any day of the week. If you fall in love with it, however, going back to its roots is a fun thing to try out!
Primary Version: Super Mario RPG (Nintendo Switch)