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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Simple themes of friendship, loyalty, and duty run through the story, which is about saving the land from a villain bent on world domination. Concepts of good and bad are presented without much ambiguity or room for doubt. Expect some old video game tropes, including Mario rescuing a kidnapped princess.
Positive Role Models
Mario and his friends are standard hero archetypes who help people with tasks, rescue kidnapped royalty, and defeat various minions and bosses en route to saving the world. They show no hesitation in getting into fights, nor do they think much about right and wrong, opting instead simply to trust that they're on the right side.
Human characters are limited to Mario and Peach, a White man and the White woman he rescues, who then joins the party as a healer.
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Ease of Play
Mechanics are fully explained within the game as they're introduced. Turned-based battles give players time to think and help keep stress low. "Breezy" mode lowers combat difficulty considerably, letting younger and inexperienced players focus on exploration and story.
Violence & Scariness
Mario and his friends use punches, jumps, fireballs, hammers, and other simple moves as they take turns attacking cartoonish fantasy enemies, such as spiky-backed turtles and ghosts. Flashes of light accompany successful hits, and foes disappear once defeated.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Super Mario RPG for Nintendo Switch is a remake of the 1996 turn-based role-playing game Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It has Mario and a team of friends adventuring across the Mushroom Kingdom on a mission to defeat a villain intent on world domination. The heroes engage in turn-based battles that involve using fireballs, fists, jumps, and mallets to attack cartoonish turtles and ghosts. Enemies flash when struck and disappear when defeated. The story remains true to the original and has typical video game tropes, most notably an average guy rescuing a pretty princess. It's simple good-versus-evil storytelling, with the heroes helping those in need, stomping on frowning bad guys, and not thinking too deeply about anything on their way to saving the world.
Is It Any Good?
Remakes can be hit or miss, but this one gets it right. Super Mario RPG preserves what players loved about the original game, while updating mechanics and graphics to appeal to a wider array of players decades later. It feels at times almost like a scene-for-scene recreation of the 1996 SNES classic, which will likely appeal to the nostalgia of gamer parents can now share a beloved experience from their childhood with their kids. But the much improved 3D graphics, updated interface, and introduction of new systems, help give the game a contemporary vibe that ought to satisfy the sensibilities of current gamers.
This game truly does prove that what's old can be new again. The Mushroom Kingdom is chock full of hidden blocks to find, simple puzzles to solve, interesting ways to get from one spot to another (trampoline flowers, moving platforms, etc.), and funny characters to chat with. The turn-based battles rely on the same kind of strategy and decision making that has engaged players since the dawn of RPGs, requiring them to exploit weaknesses by taking the time to understand enemy types and the nature of the various attacks at their disposal. It makes for a satisfying challenge, regardless of the quality of the graphics. Modern RPGs may be bigger and have more bells and whistles, but Super Mario RPG for Switch proves that there's still plenty of delight to be wrung from a retro adventure.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.