SUPER Mario RPG is out now for the Nintendo Switch. Review copy provided by Nintendo.

There are few video games that deserve a remake as much as Super Mario RPG – a childhood favourite of mine.

The 1996 Super Nintendo title was not released in Australia or Europe, and remained hard to obtain until 2008. This new version is the first time we’ll be able to access a wide release, and hold a physical copy in our hands.

It’s a role-playing game (RPG) developed by Square, who are most famous for the Final Fantasy series, and it shows in the feel of this adventure. This is a streamlined version of a traditional RPG that incorporates Mario elements, and made to be more accessible than other games in the genre.

Fans of the Super Nintendo version will absolutely love this almost flawless rendition, but what about new players? There’s now no better way to try Super Mario RPG. It has an old school feel, but it doesn’t feel ‘dated’ – it’s just as fun to play today, thanks to the quality of life additions.

The new changes include a handful of new tweaks to the combat, an autosave function and post-game content. The graphics are fully 3D and redone in high definition – it looks beautiful. The characters still look like toys, and the environments are bright and vibrant.

This game was one of the first Mario spin-offs to expand the lore with a more in-depth story and add many new locations and odd characters. It’s an epic story for a Mario game, but it doesn’t take itself seriously thanks to its funny writing. The plot sees the evil Smithy Gang crash into the Mushroom Kingdom with a giant sword through Bowser’s Keep, and Mario and his friends must stop them to save the world. Mario explores a dense forest, a volcano, a sky world, and a sunken ship, to name a few. It’s great to see fan-favourite party members return; Mallow the loveable marshmallow thing who thinks he’s a tadpole, and the mysterious Geno, who hails from above. Neither have made a major reappearance in any Mario game since.

Gameplay involves roaming around in the overworld and switching to an easy-to-understand turn-based battle system when an enemy is encountered. Future Mario role-playing series such as Mario & Luigi and Paper Mario borrowed the ‘action-command’ concept from this game, which simply involves pressing the ‘A’ button at the right time when attacking to increase damage, or to decrease damage from enemies. There may not be much to it, but that button press alone makes the battles more engaging.

There’s not an overwhelming number of game mechanics or systems; there’s no class system, skill tree or crafting. Your characters level up, you have physical attack attributes, and magic attack attributes, and that’s pretty much it. You learn new special attacks as you level up, and find stronger weapons and armour fairly naturally throughout the game.

The remake’s new changes to combat are skill-based, and make the game easier, but not ridiculously so. The battles are certainly faster as a result of regular attacks now able to hit multiple foes at once. In general, this game isn’t very difficult, so you won’t have to engage in grinding (battling over and over to level up) to proceed.

The platforming sections of the original are still here, but the game’s isometric view was never suited to jumping challenges, as it’s difficult to aim Mario’s landing. It’s a minor frustration, but a shame it wasn’t adjusted.

The soundtrack of this game is legendary – many of the songs are instantly recognisable to me. Original composer Yoko Shimomura has returned to create a remastered soundtrack, with her new renditions capturing the magic of the original tracks and then some – adding new instrumental layers, sometimes completely new passages you haven’t heard before. You can switch to the original soundtrack from the pause menu.

Progression in this game is fairly linear – you beat one area and move onto the next. This is not a long game – most will finish it in about 10-20 hours. I’d say it’s a the perfect length – the simplistic mechanics never get the chance to overstay their welcome.

The only real reason to revisit the old version of this game would be if you think Switch version is too easy, but aside from that, this is the superior way to play Super Mario RPG in almost every way imaginable. It’s a charming, well-paced and addictive RPG that you shouldn’t miss.

The 26-year-old game has been given a graphical refresh, captures the spirit of the original.