It sometimes feels like we are witnessing the era of the remake. From Resident Evil to Final Fantasy, publishers and developers are harnessing nostalgia and pedigree to appeal to fans and newcomers, with varying degrees of success.

Super Mario

This isn’t something unique to the gaming industry – Ghostbusters, Planet of the Apes, numerous live-action versions of Disney classics and more indicate other entertainment industries are not immune from rehashing or drawing inspiration from the past.

Thankfully, Super Mario RPG isn’t a poorly developed ‘cash-grab’ and succeeds at bringing a piece of gaming history to a new audience. Like many South African console gamers in the nineties, I had a Mega Drive instead of a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, so I missed the first game entirely, and thus started my game with curiosity; excited to play a Mario game.

I’m not usually a fan of turn-based combat system, and struggle with it in many games, like Pokemon. I prefer more fluid interactions, like God of War or even Mario Oddyssey, but luckily Super Mario RPG remained enjoyable. Though I wish I could have initiated some sort of advantage by attacking an enemy first before the turn-based shenanigans begin (I remember being able to do so in Paper Mario but might need to confirm if I’m having a Mandela Effect moment).

The Boss fights were a bit more challenging, in spite some visual markers to make them a little easier. I enjoyed the three-person moves, which added a cinematic flair to battles, with different trios of characters unlocking unique moves.

We’re a big Bowser loving family – my kid sleeps with an adorably cute Build-a-Bear Bowser we got him for his birthday, so seeing the King of the Koopas’ personality shine was a treat and like the movie, he stole every scene he was in.

Super Mario RPG is both a visual feast and an auditory delight, serving up remastered imaginings of classic Mario tracks. There is an option to switch the audio to classic themes, but I don’t know why anyone would as the remixed versions have more range and clarity.

The modern gameplay facelift provides fluidity and convenience, making the adventure accessible to new players, and experienced players like me that don’t have time or desire to grind and struggle with videogames, which are now mostly an escape from adulting and loadshedding.

It took me roughly 14 hours to play through the game, and while value is relative, I didn’t feel cheated or short-changed. I would have preferred if was priced cheaper, considering it is a remake, so unless it’s very high on your list, I’d recommend waiting for a sale or discount before jumping in.



  • Remake breathes new life into a classic
  • Charming characters, music and story


  • Turn-based combat is an acquired taste
  • Pricey for a remake
Value for money

Final Verdict

This charming remake of Super Mario RPG breathes new life into a classic, making it accessible to newcomers and nostalgic for veterans. Being faithful to the original does mean it loses points for not pushing the genre forward, but not every game has to be an evolution. Some games, like this, can just be a comforting throwback to simpler times.