MARIO & LUIGI : SUPERSTAR SAGA / Nintendo / GBA
With Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario, is there room in this world for yet another Mario RPG spinoff centered around "action commands" in battle? Yeah, actually I guess there is, if it's going to be this polished and entertaining.
This time around the primary antagonist is the evil witch Cackletta from the Bean Bean Kingdom, who has stolen Princess Peach's voice for reasons initially unknown. Bowser is around but only as a tutorial battle at the beginning, he actually gives Mario and Luigi a lift to the Bean Kingdom on his evil space cruiser at the outset. And indeed, this is the first time in a while that the Green Machine steps in to take a co-starring role and actually fight alongside his brother. In the overworld, you've got one button for each brother to jump, and that's also how they attack/dodge in battle. The battle system uses the same sort of timing-based attacks that Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario do, though the system is a little more "loose" in this one (you actually see Mario and Luigi jump when they dodge in this one, and with slow-attacking enemies it is possible to jump multiple times if you mess up the first one). No other party members - you'll be hooked on the brothers all the way through to the end in this one.
The only thing that really mars the game is that bros. control can frequently become more frustrating than fun. Even though it's wittier, I actually don't think it's quite as good as the Paper Mario games, but it is good and definitely more fun than Super Mario RPG.