It all began with Super Mario Bros RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars for the Super Nintendo. So, it was a work of perfection- nothing could top it. It quickly became one of the best Mario games ever to be made.
Here are where this game shines in the localization and characterization. Without dispute, the winner is a new character Fawful, whose pseudo-intellectual butchering of the English language is intentional and quite humorous. His character gives the game a lot of the charm it might not have had otherwise.
This game takes a lot of cues from Paper Mario on the Nintendo 64, itself a masterpiece. The battle system is lifted right from it, practically, and this is a good thing as it takes a decent RPG fighting style and mixes it with timing and combination button presses so that turn-based combat is interactive the whole way. Battling is fun and interesting. Beyond this, the novel idea of controlling both brothers simultaneously starts a little mind-taxing. Still, it quickly becomes second-nature and quite ingenious. It allows for an interesting gamut of puzzles apart from the standard fare that would occupy one-player games of a similar nature. I don’t think there was one block-pushing puzzle the entire time, for instance.
While the overworld is large and varied, it suffers a bit due to not having a useful enough overworld map the way a 2d Zelda game or Metroid might have. Like those two mentioned, the game has quite a bit of backtracking (mostly for bonuses, not necessarily required). It really called out for a more exact mapping system. As it stands, you find yourself forgetting how to get to obscure places where you might’ve seen something, and this can lead to frustrating walkabouts. Having lots of things to backtrack to is normally good in my book, particularly when optional. However, the prospect of having to make my way to each place was sometimes enough to stop me from doing so, which is a shame.