I'm playing Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
and really enjoying it. I haven't completed many Mario games (I didn't grow up with Nintendo) but I do always enjoy them and I'm a huge JRPG fan so I thought it was a good choice for a first game on my SNES Mini.
It's great to pop on and play for a couple of hours at the end of a long day; it's been a bunch of fun & a nice change to the epic scale of most JRPGs I've played. The dialogue is very tongue in cheek, you get the feeling that they had a lot of fun writing it. It's all a bit childish, in a way that's charming rather than obnoxious or banal.
The combat is cool, when you defeat an enemy they kind of disappear in a puff of smoke and a coin pops out with that iconic sound; it's really satisfying, especially if you take out a batch with one move. You press the 'B' button right before a hit to get a critical, it's simple yet effective. You can also dodge attacks in a similar fashion, I think you are meant to press B just as you are hit, before the damage shows, it's a wee bit tricky and I'm having some trouble mastering it but so far it hasn't really mattered.
The special moves are bit more varied, Bowser's special moves tell you to "rotate the control pad", this led to me twirling my SNES mini controller in the air a few times before I realised how stupid I was being.
It isn't a very challenging game, I've barely had to heal at all as your characters get max health when they level up or beat a boss and sometimes it's gifted to you when you hit an enemy.
There isn't loads to talk about with the cast. Bowser joining the party was a nice surprise, he's an insecure, wannabe-tough guy and it's quite funny, even if it's cliche. Mario is Mario, it's fun watching him communicate by bouncing around the room acting things out. The animations in general are really good and make each scene a joy to watch, Bowser's cry face is my favourite.
The enemies are the usual for a Mario game. The bosses so far have been standard slapstick buffoons and a cake (evil or just badly treated depending on your perspective).
It's much more linear than a standard Square game, you always know what you are doing next and travelling between worlds/towns is done in the Mario way, travelling back to any town takes a few seconds of moving around the board and this adds to how easy it is to jump in and out. The game never drags, you just hop from place to place and do the business.
There isn't too much to say about the look of most of the towns, they are pretty generic; however, they are inhabited by some funny characters that make it worth taking a quick tour.
The dungeons are much more varied and fun to explore. All of them contain some nice puzzles and platforming sections, it helps to alleviate the monotony that sometimes starts to sink in when you've been exploring an area for awhile in RPGs. it obviously isn't like playing any other Mario game because you can only die in a battle, there isn't any real pressure when you're attempting a jump etc. The enemies are all visible so you can avoid them if you want and if you get a star you can just run through them and pick up the experience, which is great
My favourite bit of the game so far has been Star Hill, this is where all of people's wishes lie around in the form of smiley stars. You can walk around reading the different wishes, it's a nice touch. A bit before this in the story you come across some comical German bakers who have made a cake that turns out to be sentient and evil (or possibly just acting in self defense since you hit it first, you bastard!) I didn't find the cliche German accent thing funny at first but I have to admit that coming across a star that said "I vant to be the vald's greatest baker" caught me off guard and made me chuckle.
So yeah I'm glad I've given this a go, I'm not sure if it will take me into the Paper Mario series but I'm thoroughly enjoying it.