An adventure filled with nostalgia, creativity, and fun…

“Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars” is a seminal role-playing game developed by Square (now Square Enix) and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in 1996. As a collaborative project between the creators of Final Fantasy and the beloved Mario franchise, this game holds a unique place in gaming history. Combining the charm of the Mario universe with the depth of traditional RPG mechanics, “Super Mario RPG” offers a rich, engaging experience that remains influential. This review explores the game’s story, gameplay, visual and audio design, and overall impact.


“Super Mario RPG” begins with a familiar scenario: Princess Toadstool (Peach) is kidnapped by Bowser, and Mario sets off to rescue her. However, the plot takes an unexpected turn when a giant sword named Exor crashes into Bowser’s castle, sending Mario, Bowser, and Peach flying in different directions. This event introduces the primary antagonists, the Smithy Gang, who aim to conquer Mario’s world by destroying the Star Road, a pathway that grants wishes.

The narrative centers around Mario’s quest to collect the seven Star Pieces, which will restore the Star Road and defeat the Smithy Gang. Along the way, Mario teams up with a diverse group of characters, including Mallow, a cloud-like being who believes he is a tadpole, Geno, a wooden doll possessed by a celestial spirit, Bowser, and Princess Toadstool. The story is rich with humor, clever twists, and heartfelt moments, balancing light-heartedness with epic adventure.


Core Mechanics

At its heart, “Super Mario RPG” blends traditional RPG elements with the unique flavor of the Mario series. Players navigate Mario and his companions through various locations, engage in turn-based battles, and solve puzzles. The game’s structure involves traveling across different regions, interacting with NPCs, and completing quests to advance the story.

Battle System

The battle system in “Super Mario RPG” is a standout feature, incorporating turn-based mechanics with action commands. During battles, players can enhance their attacks, defense, and special moves by pressing buttons at precise moments. This timing-based system adds a layer of interactivity and skill, making combat more engaging than typical turn-based RPGs.

Each character in the party has unique abilities and stats. Mario, for example, has balanced attributes and a range of offensive and defensive moves, while Mallow specializes in magic attacks. Geno offers powerful offensive capabilities, Bowser is a physical powerhouse, and Princess Toadstool excels in healing and support. This diversity allows players to experiment with different team compositions and strategies.

Exploration and Puzzles

Exploration in “Super Mario RPG” is richly rewarding. The game features a variety of environments, from lush forests and haunted mansions to underwater caves and bustling towns. Each area is filled with secrets, hidden items, and mini-games that encourage thorough exploration.

Puzzles are a significant aspect of the gameplay, requiring players to think creatively and use their characters’ abilities. These puzzles range from simple block-moving challenges to more complex tasks involving timing and precision. The inclusion of platforming elements, reminiscent of traditional Mario games, adds another layer of depth to the exploration.

Visual and Audio Design


For a game released on the SNES, “Super Mario RPG” boasts impressive visuals. The game employs an isometric perspective, which gives the environments a pseudo-3D appearance. Character sprites are detailed and expressive, capturing the essence of the Mario universe while integrating the more serious tone of RPG elements.

The world of “Super Mario RPG” is vibrant and varied, with each location having its distinct visual style. From the whimsical Mushroom Kingdom to the eerie corridors of Bowser’s Keep, the art direction ensures that each area feels unique and memorable. The character designs, especially for original characters like Mallow and Geno, are creative and add to the game’s charm.


The soundtrack of “Super Mario RPG,” composed by Yoko Shimomura, is a standout element. The music perfectly complements the game’s diverse settings and moods, from the cheerful overworld theme to the tense battle music. Each track is meticulously crafted to enhance the atmosphere and emotional impact of the scenes.

Sound effects are equally well-executed, providing satisfying auditory feedback during battles and interactions. The characters’ voices and noises, while limited by the hardware, add personality and humor to the game. Overall, the audio design significantly contributes to the immersive experience.

Impact and Legacy

“Super Mario RPG” was a groundbreaking game at the time of its release, setting a precedent for future collaborations between Nintendo and other developers. Its successful blend of Mario’s platforming heritage with deep RPG mechanics influenced later titles, including the “Paper Mario” and “Mario & Luigi” series, which continued to explore this hybrid genre.

The game’s characters, especially Geno, have achieved cult status among fans. Despite limited appearances in other games, the demand for Geno as a playable character in series like “Super Smash Bros.” is a testament to the lasting impact of “Super Mario RPG.”

Reception and Critique

Upon its release, “Super Mario RPG” received critical acclaim for its innovative gameplay, engaging story, and high production values. Reviewers praised the game’s humor, character development, and the successful merging of two beloved franchises. The combination of traditional RPG elements with Mario’s signature style was seen as a refreshing and enjoyable experience.

However, the game was not without its criticisms. Some players found the difficulty level to be relatively low compared to other RPGs of the time, potentially making it less appealing to hardcore RPG enthusiasts. Additionally, the isometric perspective, while visually impressive, occasionally led to issues with depth perception and navigation.

Despite these minor drawbacks, “Super Mario RPG” remains a beloved classic, fondly remembered by those who played it during its original release and discovered by new generations of gamers through re-releases on platforms like the Virtual Console.

Final Thoughts

“Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars” stands as a testament to the creative synergy between Nintendo and Square. Its unique blend of platforming and RPG mechanics, combined with a charming story and memorable characters, ensures its place in gaming history. The game’s humour, innovative battle system, and rich exploration make it a timeless classic that continues to inspire and entertain.

For anyone looking to experience a piece of gaming history, “Super Mario RPG” offers an adventure filled with nostalgia, creativity, and fun. Whether you’re a longtime fan of Mario or a newcomer to RPGs, this game provides an engaging and heartwarming journey that is well worth revisiting.