Game Review

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

A never-ending dream

If there was more justice in the world, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team — or Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. as it's known in Europe — would enjoy the same level of hype and anticipation as some of its prestigious predecessors on the 3DS in 2013. And yet, rather like its snoozy subject matter, it drifts into view on a cloud, does a somersault flip off its fluffy platform and executes a well-timed stomp on the release schedule. This may be a quirky and at times utterly bizarre action RPG, but beyond the one-liners and delightful ideas is a game crafted with the utmost care and loving devotion.

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is the fourth entry in this handheld-only series; after a positive start on the Game Boy Advance the franchise ran into sales trouble with Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time on DS, and the formula needed a fresh angle to draw gamers into what are, ultimately, involving and lengthy game experiences. Bowser's Inside Story delivered that, bringing Mario's arch-nemesis not just into the story, but also making him a playable character; it was a title bursting with creativity and fun characters. It helped to solidify what the AlphaDream-developed series is all about, which is to exist in its own peculiar version of a fictional video game world where a duo of chubby mustachioed brothers run around fighting monsters, only to talk over their next moves in Italian. That brazen creativity is important, and perhaps unlike rather conservative 3DS contemporary Paper Mario: Sticker Star, this new entry doesn't fall back and rely on established characters. Dream Team brings the crazy, which is a relief.

We do have a returning cast, of course, with Princess Peach once again a damsel in distress, Toadsworth the erudite and aged little companion and Starlow, the yellow Star Sprite that first appeared in Bowser's Inside Story; and of course, the brilliantly self-obsessed Bowser, with an almost frat boy-like personality, naturally has a role to play. Aside from that, it's a fresh location and cast of characters: Prince Dreambert is an earnest ancient creature that seeks help rescuing fellow pillow-type creatures; the Bat King Antasma is a new villain, a squeaking caricature with an inability to speak his Ws properly. Dreambert has his moments but isn't the strongest character to grace the franchise, but Antasma is a treat, while side characters include a cockney-geezer thief who's wired to the gills, a big flirty yellow cube and an image-obsessed sea horse; the tone is always humorous and bordering on surreal.

Pi’illo Island is broken up into multiple locations that can be considered as "worlds" with their own themes — we go from a tourist park, to a desert area, and at one point climb a mountain, for example. Each area represents its own challenges and native monsters to tackle, and it's in progressing through the world, learning new abilities and exploring that Dream Team strives to maintain our interest.

And it succeeds in that goal. This, rather like its predecessors, is a title that tasks you with gradually leveling up, gaining experience and moves to tackle the increasingly tough challenges. The difficulty curve is almost perfectly judged, as we always felt a little ahead of where we needed to be to vanquish a certain foe or to get past an obstacle in the environment; for those that do struggle or fall behind, it's possible to restart any battle after failure, and an "easy" option beefs up the bros. to have a better chance. There's depth to the setup with obtainable weapons, outfits, badges and buffs — which are found, bought or won by completing tasks — and when you manage these elements along with working on your real-time combat skills, it's unlikely that the "easy" option will be needed. It's worth emphasising, though, that as a result it'd be a stretch to describe this game as challenging, as its focus is on uninterrupted fun; if you want punishment, there's a cruel "Hard" mode unlocked upon completion.

The basics of movement and battles carry over from the earlier titles in the series, which are a proven structure to emphasise the 'fun over frustration' goal of the title. It's all about timing, ultimately, with two basic moves — Jump and Hammer — accompanied by items of various uses, to boost HP (health points) and BP (bros. points), the latter of which are needed for Bros. Attacks; as in the overworld, each brother is controlled separately with A and B. They're turn-based battles, with defence consisting of dodging and possibly countering with a jump or swing of the hammer. The Bros. Attacks are those seen so often in the marketing for the franchise as a whole, with each brother having distinct moves — carried out with their sibling — that are unlocked by finding the relevant Attack Pieces in the overworld. They often use variations of the classic timed button presses, with the occasional bit of Circle Pad control, and for the most part they're creative and intuitive to execute.

The standard double-teaming takes place in the main world, but an area of equal importance is the Dream World. As is obvious with a location called Pi’illo Island that's occupied with fluffy ancient beings of the same name, the quirk here is that Luigi can fall asleep at immediate notice. Pi'illos are trapped in nightmare chunks cast off from an ancient battle between Prince Dreambert and Antasma — we'll leave you to discover the rest of the story — and when Luigi rests his head in key spots Mario can literally leap into his dreams. In these areas we meet Dreamy Luigi, a more self-assured and heroic version of the "green 'Stache'" (as Bowser calls him); though you initially run around with both brothers as normal, things soon shake up.

As you progress through different areas of the Dream World you discover Luiginary powers, in which Luigi is absorbed and offers up vital assistance, often with related interaction on the touch screen. It's in these powers that the developers flex their creative muscles, with environmental puzzles that utilise these abilities; you scratch Luigi's nose to make him sneeze the background to the foreground, manipulate time, temperature and even gravity, roll up dozens of Luigis into a ball, and particularly memorably you can air-swim in an anti-gravity bubble. Those are some examples, and for the most part they're delivered with a sparkling finesse, with puzzles that — like the game as a whole — are clever enough to please without actually providing a stern test. We did say for the most part, as some Dream Worlds — there are so many — do feel overfamiliar or lack a clever touch.

Battles are also shaken up in the Dream World, with Dreamy Luigi merging with Mario to boost his attacks; a Jump is followed by dozens of 'Luiginoids' that dish out follow-up attacks on a wide area, while a hammer strike is similarly buffed to damage a whole line of enemies. Luiginary Attacks, meanwhile, are unlocked in the same way as Bros. Attacks and offer up some of the best fun to be had in the battle arenas. Like the real world equivalents, these special attacks sometimes rely purely on button timing, but can also make use of the 3DS' motion controls. The mention of tilt controls on 3DS can lead to bouts of panic for some, but they work brilliantly here; the required movements are always subtle, and the option to quickly switch the 3D effect off with a tap of the R button makes sense. It says much for how well the tilt controls work that some of our favourite attacks — Luiginary or Bros. equivalents — used them, though it does make playing on the morning commute a rather self-conscious affair.

So the Dream World is an excellent inclusion, replacing the bizarre internal workings of Bowser's Inside Story for a fantastical twist of the related overworld. Luigi is the star here, and no more so than in the rare but outstanding giant battles, where a stressed out Luigi summons his Luiginoids to form one enormous representation of himself, with little Mario riding his cap. As in the previous DS entries, the system is held sideways for these battles, controlled with the stylus on the touch screen — lefties are accommodated, thankfully — and the move set is smaller. Although stereoscopic 3D is inevitably sacrificed, these sections — apparently developed by Good-Feel — look fantastic, with the pixel-based visuals switched up in favour of shiny and appealing polygons. The greater horsepower of the 3DS allows these battles to be more impressive in scope, with far greater movement and animation flair being brought into the action, as a mixture of skilfully implemented swipes and tilts are employed over the course of 15 riotously entertaining minutes each time around.

On paper, that's a lot of variety to pack into one title, with varying graphical styles tallying up with a lot of move-sets and skills to master. It all feels simple and logical, however, and the pacing of the story does a solid job of easing you into the nuances required. It feels meticulously planned, combining chaos with a solid foundation to prevent it all from toppling over like an unbalanced tower of Luiginoids. There's the dichotomy of pixel-based character designs running around a 3D environment in stereoscopic visuals, switches to polygons whenever the game feels like it, terrific music that doesn't irritate despite repeated plays — like the Battle theme that we probably heard hundreds of times — and an approach at accessibility in a campaign likely to last upward of 40 hours.

Oh yes, this is a long game, to the point that it openly mocks itself in later stages for its interminable closing Act — when a character says "This is REALLY the final battle" and you're dubious, you know it's roped you in. That playtime doesn't even account for sub-tasks, collecting everything and replaying favourite battles for prizes; yet it's here that the game slips from whimsy and unfettered creative spirit to self-indulgence. The story is witty, and the gameplay is a lot of fun, but it's an epic undertaking to get to those closing credits, with lots of script and dialogue lines to read as you go. For roughly three quarters of the experience — spread throughout the whole — we feel that the progression, exploration and plot are finely balanced, with the hours melting away. At times it falls short of that ideal, however, with some fetch questing and re-traversal having the potential to test the patience of those without the time or desire to see it through to the end.

And this is our only notable complaint; rather than craft an experience that the masses will happily see to the end — as the balance is so accommodating for all gamers — this feels like a gift for the dedicated, obsessive fans of the franchise. That's a contradiction, and in those occasional spells where the new moves and fresh attacks don't arrive regularly, when it becomes a matter of hunting down items for townsfolk or clambering through environments jumping into dozens of battles, those without stamina for the quest may start to switch off. We don't complain about a 40-hour+ game lightly, but if some of those hours are a slog that only a certain type of gamer will enjoy — and even for that audience there may be some "when will this part end?" moments — it's easy to see why, despite its accessibility, it'll feel like an experience for established fans rather than a title to win over a new audience.

Conclusion

In the hands of Mario & Luigi enthusiasts and those up for an epic but light-hearted quest, this is an indispensable must-have for the 3DS. In a universe apart from any other series starring the famous brothers, this once again shows the merits of a studio investing itself whole-heartedly not just in one game, but a whole franchise. It can be a glorious contradiction at times; simple but complex, accessible but lengthy, varied but familiar. The enthusiasm and unrelenting creativity behind Dream Team means that it flirts with going too far, truly being an adventure for those willing to stick it out over the long haul, which perhaps dents its ability to appeal to all 3DS owners.

Yet such is the obvious talent and commitment in the project, and its unique style in the current games market, that it's an adventure worth embarking upon.

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User Comments (121)

RR529

#3

RR529 said:

So, does this have title differences between regions?

It's just called Mario & Luigi: Dream Team here, while NWR regards it as Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. (multiple times).

ThomasBW84Admin

#4

ThomasBW84 said:

@RR529 It's called Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. here in Europe, but I prefer plain old Dream Team (as it'll be in NA) so stuck with that.

Legodavid18

#5

Legodavid18 said:

@RR529 Dream Team is the game's US title, and Dream Team Bros. is the one for Europe.
I'll be getting the game next week, and I'll be playing the living daylights out of it!

Legodavid18

#6

Legodavid18 said:

Hey Thomas, how is the timing for the hammer? I found the hammer timing in Paper Mario Sticker Star to be a bit... odd, which made me rely solely on the jump for most of the game. Is the timing for the hammer in this game like in Bowser's Inside Story?

GN0LAUM

#7

GN0LAUM said:

I gape in disbelief that North America has to wait an extra month to get this game. What is the deal with that?

citizenerased

#9

citizenerased said:

Bowser's Inside Story is rightfully one of the DS' highest rated games. This'll be one of the reasons I'm picking up a 3DS this year. Hoping this is better than Partners in Time, at least!

DerpSandwich

#10

DerpSandwich said:

So interesting. They take one Mario RPG series and crush it, strip it, dumb it down into something with hardly any worth, all with the intention of making it better suited for handhelds. They take the other and run with it, bringing it to new heights of innovation and creativity, taking nothing away at all and in fact loading it with content.

The greatest protest to the tragedy that is Sticker Star probably isn't not-buying Sticker Star. It's probably buying this game. I've never enjoyed the Mario and Luigi games quite as much as Paper Mario, opting to wait until they're cheap before picking them up, but I might just have to get this sooner than I planned. I want to send the message to Nintendo, "Just because it's on a handheld it doesn't mean you have to dumb it down!"

Also, obviously, it looks really awesome and I want to play it. XD

ThomasBW84Admin

#11

ThomasBW84 said:

@Legodavid18 - The hammer timing seemed good to me, and when I missed it was normally because I was being a bit rubbish or was tired. My copy of Inside Story is loaned out, but I reckon it'll be similar to that.

sinalefa

#13

sinalefa said:

Glad to see that this one is that good, as it will make me wait an extra week for Pikmin 3. This is due that it is cheaper to me to buy two games at the same time than one after the other (shipping costs), so I will get them together.

And I hate to admit it, but this will be my first taste of this franchise.

DestinyMan

#14

DestinyMan said:

I'm so looking forward to playing this game. Listening to the fantastic soundtrack on Youtube is great for hype!

Out of all of this review, the part about the game being long pleased me the most. I feel as though the past two Mario & Luigi games were too limited in their exploration. I loved how vast the BeanBean Kingdom felt in Superstar Saga, so even if Dream Team tries too hard to extend things, at least it tries to put the adventure on a grander scale. We're talking about a world of dreams here.

gaby_gabito

#15

gaby_gabito said:

For those of you that have both games: Would you recommend this or Luigi's Mansion if you had to choose one?

Shiryu

#17

Shiryu said:

Now if only I could drag myself away from "Animal Crossing" long enough to play this and "Project X Zone"... remember when Summer was drought time and there where no new games to play until September / October? Ah, simpler times...

stipey

#18

stipey said:

@DerpSandwich Ah, man, I don't think Sticker Star was any more dumbed down than Super Paper Mario. I think they're just experimenting more with form for the Paper Mario games, and keeping the M&L games fairly similar, and just elaborating on certain things instead of changing the gameplay. Sticker Star was a great experiment, I thought. It wasn't like Thousand Year Door, or as good as that one, in my opinion, but I also didn't think it was a traversty! There's some incredibly clever stuff in Sticker Star.

JamieOStaff

#19

JamieO said:

I really like the sentence "Dream Team brings the crazy, which is a relief", as it sums up the promotional videos I have seen for this title perfectly. Tilt controlled special attacks that work brilliantly too, does the marvellous madness in this game never end?

In regard to the 40 odd hours of gameplay length, my only slight apprehension is that I might buy this and then struggle to find the time to complete it, as I already have a sizeable backlog of games. Finding spare gaming time for longer titles is a bit of an unforeseeable luxury for me at the moment.

You have definitely piqued my interest in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team though, @ThomasBW84. As your introduction examines, I hope this game gets the attention it deserves, the 2013 3DS release calendar is already packed with finery and splendour. Cheers!

Henmii

#20

Henmii said:

Nice review and nice score! I will pick it up today!

And nice to hear that the game is lenghty!

snoox

#25

snoox said:

Thnx for this review. Eurogamer gave it a 7 & it reads like he's bored & jaded. This reads like u genuinely had a blast. I trust NL to score Nintendo games the way I feel about Nintendo games :)

MasterWario

#26

MasterWario said:

Half-way through the review I just felt like it was going to get a 9/10
I'll definitely be looking forward to the 40+ hour playthrough!

Oh hey, this comes out after Pikmin 3! That means I can reserve this game when I go pick up Pikmin 3! Yay!

It is odd how this game sort of just...showed up.

Prof_Elvin_Gadd

#27

Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

@gaby_gabito The only people that would know that right now are the reviewers. This game doesn't come out until tomorrow, and NA next month. The answer, though, is both.

Sigh I'm so excited for this game, but must wait. Hope all my EU friends enjoy it tomorrow! I guess I'll have SMTIV to hold me over. Great review, as usual @ThomasBW84. This next month or so has some nice RPG's of all shapes and sizes. This, SMTIV and Tales of Xillia!

RR529

#28

RR529 said:

Ah, thanks for the replies.

Fantastic review. I'll see if I can get it for Christmas, alongside A Link Between Worlds (or hopefully sooner, if I left a good impression during my job interview today).

BossBattles

#29

BossBattles said:

the Mario & Luigi series is so consistent and so good. I replay them and they are still a blast. I'm so excited for this title. The only problem is that i spend all my time paying ACNL....how will i split my time between the two?....not to mention SMTIV coming next week....

BossBattles

#30

BossBattles said:

@stipey Sticker Star is clever. It's also extremely fun, especially if you are going for 100% collection rate, which was addictive to pursue and attain. I wanted it to keep going on and on, but had to stop.

there are some inconsistent things in the game, but overall, it is such an awesome paper mario game that for some reason fly high over everyone's head. kinda sad.

Austroid

#31

Austroid said:

I hope this game is good. I hold Superstar Saga in such high regards that when I got BIS, I really didn't enjoy it all that much; never bothered with PIT, either.

Hopefully Dream Team can regain my love for the M&L series.

Haxonberik

#32

Haxonberik said:

Stop it, Nintendo, stop it!!! My wallet begs you!!! (I love this turn of events, I always trusted on the potential of the 3DS).

hydeks

#33

hydeks said:

Cab't wait to get this, great review :) One more month for us NA peoples :P

Dark-Luigi

#35

Dark-Luigi said:

Ah, Dream Team my life long friend, I'm sorry but I must wait to get you but it will be so so so worth it. The game I have been waiting for ever since it first got announced. I will get this in a heart beat no matter what it takes!! :D :D :D PERFECT review by the way! :* It made may day honestly!

Stargazer

#36

Stargazer said:

Considering the fact that I always get bored of light-hearted RPGs long before the end, the length of this one is discouraging (to me, anyway). Hope you guys enjoy it!

MrPanic

#37

MrPanic said:

Dammit, totally forgot about this game and now you're telling me it comes out tomorrow? Really wasn't planning on throwing money out this months but I obviously have to make an exception for this must buy.

Tony_342

#38

Tony_342 said:

I bought and enjoyed Superstar Saga and Bowser's Inside Story. But for some reason, I wasn't really excited about this one. Then, I read the Iwata Asks about it. It became clear to me very quickly that AlphaDream really put their blood, sweat, and tears into this game. I suddenly became very excited about it. And this review seals the deal!

Ralizah

#39

Ralizah said:

I'm sure I'll pick it up someday. Nice to hear it's a well-made game. I have no experience with this series, and Sticker Star has soured me on Mario RPGs for a bit.

FleetwoodMackin

#41

FleetwoodMackin said:

Fantastic review man.. Would be the PERFECT birthday present for me tomorrow... But i live in the states!!! Torture... haha

UgliestSoup

#44

UgliestSoup said:

Ever since Bowsers Inside Story I have been hoping this would come to the 3ds. Only one more month to go!

element187

#45

element187 said:

@gaby_gabito its going to be hard to top Luigi' Mansion 2... Although I'll keep an open mind on Dream Team (although I have another month to debate it here in NA)

miiandmario

#46

miiandmario said:

Great review the mario and luigi series is one of my favorite RPGs and I cannot wait to play the new installment.

Pachterkid

#47

Pachterkid said:

Super Mario RPG for the SNES is the best Mario RPG. Period. This series and the Paper Mario series can't even shine that game's shoes. But of course, Nintendo has all but forgotten about that classic. Instead we're given rehash after rehash in these lesser series.

Spoony_Tech

#48

Spoony_Tech said:

Nope don't want to hear it yet! SMT gets all my attention first........well only because this is delayed till august for us!

I really can't wait and its a good goal to beat SMT before it hits!

@Ralizah This is a totally different series then paper mario. It way more rpg then the paper series. I'm sure it won't disappoint

Spoony_Tech

#50

Spoony_Tech said:

@ThomasBW84 your conclusion was epic btw! It really has a nice build up and got me super excited! You should run for President....or is that Prime Minster!!

Pokefanmum82

#51

Pokefanmum82 said:

Already got my pre-order in on this and I got a sweet deal on it through Future Shop when they had their E3 deal. Can't wait to play this game.

Pokefanmum82

#52

Pokefanmum82 said:

Already got my pre-order in on this and I got a sweet deal on it through Future Shop when they had their E3 deal. Can't wait to play this game.

DerpSandwich

#53

DerpSandwich said:

@stipey It had good elements, but there was so much that was just taken out. Super Paper Mario was different, but it still had a great story and characters and such. Sticker Star was different, but at the same time there was just no story, no new characters, no new environments, no anything. And the battling was fun, but it didn't grant experience, so it was better to just avoid almost every battle possible, which defeated the purpose of almost the entire game.

That's how I felt about it at least. It just seemed like less game. A few tweaks would have made it a lot better.

MrZanctom

#54

MrZanctom said:

Bowser's Inside Story is probably one of, if not my favorite game ever. I couldn't be more excited for this game! To bad i'm not in Europe right now. Why do people in NA have to wait until August! Oh well, i'm sure this game will be well worth the wait.

Spoony_Tech

#55

Spoony_Tech said:

@GN0LAUM I believe the wait has a lot to do with SMT IV. Two rpgs coming out in the same week is not good for either but would hurt SMT more. Nintendo does have a brain sometimes!

StephenYap3

#57

StephenYap3 said:

Holy cow! 9/10!? Can't wait until August 11!

I've been worried about the series when Partners in Time and Bowser's Inside Story came to the shelves, but after researching on Dream Team, I think this may bring me back to the Mario & Luigi series!

KodyWB-98

#59

KodyWB-98 said:

At first, I was a little relunctant about purchasing M&L:DT, but after seeing this beautiful cover and reading this terrific review, my interest in this game has piqued.

Oscarsome

#61

Oscarsome said:

Yay! After Sticker Star, we finally get that Mario RPG that we all have been wanting! And boy do we get it. Forty hours? Sounds great to me. :D These games have always been lengthy.

Oscarsome

#62

Oscarsome said:

Hmm, actually, most M&L games seem to be 20 hours. Interesting. They felt longer. They doubled the playtime, wow. I look forward to this!

Shambo

#63

Shambo said:

@gaby_gabito Impossible choice. I'd sell my ps3 or something to be able to get both, if I had to. Luigi's Mansion 2 is perhaps the best 3ds game so far i.m.o., and I just started Dream Team but it's so amazing it might even become the number 1 to me...

Ralizah

#64

Ralizah said:

@OldMan-Tech
I've seen my Nephew play one of the older Mario and Luigi games. The control system, where one button controls Mario's jumping, and the other Luigi's, always seemed incredibly clunky to me.

That said, the game DOES look cute. I like that interacting with Luigi in his sleep affects his dreams. Still, in terms of my to-do list, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon takes precedence. :P

SMT IV is reportedly a huge game. Good luck with that. I'll be making my way through the game at a more leisurely pace, as I don't expect to become too deeply invested in another retail 3DS game until Pokemon X and Y come out in October.

19Robb92

#65

19Robb92 said:

Picking this up today! :D CAN't WAIT!!

One of my most anticipated games this year!

RedYoshi999

#66

RedYoshi999 said:

I'm so glad I'm on holidays right now, or else I'd never find the time to finish this game! Can't wait to download it tonight. Bowser's Inside Story was probably my favourite DS game, I just love this series. :)

Justaguest

#67

Justaguest said:

Why was there like no hype about this. Or was it me not paying attention? Its like this amazing title released TODAY. boom out of nowhere

Ricube

#68

Ricube said:

"...talk over their next moves in Italian". Well, actually they don't really speak italian... Just wanted to say that...

andrea987

#69

andrea987 said:

I loved Inside Story but was on the fence for this one. Needless to say, your review made me buy it! And an excellent review, as usual.

moroboshi

#70

moroboshi said:

@GN0LAUM Now you know how us Europeans have been treated since the dawn of video games. Although we don't usually wait 1 month for releases, it's often 6-12 months.

wasf

#72

wasf said:

these are the reasons we are Nintendo fans...
Nice review ;) gonna play tonight!

Peach64

#74

Peach64 said:

I think I'm going to hold off on this. You knew this was getting an NLife 9 before even opening the page. Eurogamer have given all 3 previous games in the series 9/10, but this one a 7, and another 7 from Edge. I was so excited when this got announced as I love the series, but the trailers haven't excited me at all. I think it will go alongside Sticker Star as a title I'll pick up once it's under £15.

One-Winged-Pit

#75

One-Winged-Pit said:

I did not like Bowser's Inside Story so I will pass unless this offers something more. I will get Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon next.

19Robb92

#76

19Robb92 said:

1h & 20 minutes in, absolutely loving it! The amount of fan service is great! I definitely understand what you mean in the review, this is going to be great if you've played the previous installments (especially BIS it seems). :D

DESS-M-8

#77

DESS-M-8 said:

Damn, I picked Kokuga over this. Excellent game, but can't help but feel I would have loved this

ThomasBW84Admin

#78

ThomasBW84 said:

@Peach64 That's not really the case, it got a 9 because that was my view, different reviewers have different perspectives, it's normal. Other sites have awarded 9, including some that aren't dedicated Nintendo sites. If the score was what you predicted then congrats, but it's not a case of "it's Mario & Luigi so it'll get 9 from NL". That's entirely unfair.

RantingThespian

#79

RantingThespian said:

This review has only gotten me more envious of Europeans right now. I'll go sulk in the corner til next month, I guess. :(

RaylaxStaff

#80

Raylax said:

Official name: Mario & Luigi [RPG 4] [Dream Team [Bros]]
That's that cleared up :3

The fact that this game was allowed to be imaginative and creative (unlike Sticker Star) has me hyped. Too bad I'm broke right now haha.

HeatBombastic

#81

HeatBombastic said:

@DerpSandwich It granted an immense amount of charm and fun.

If the battles are fun and delightful, that's your motivation to go and battle (and perhaps to claim new stickers).

I remember this from the Sticker Star review from Nintendolife: "If there's one thing we can learn from its 3DS catalogue so far, it's that Nintendo is great at the safe sequel... and Paper Mario: Sticker Star feels content with offering largely more of the same."

It also got an 8/10

I think the author of the review said that because Sticker Star (from my knowledge) still has the charm, fun, and humor of the older games. While I don't know if the story has been "dumbed down", we didn't keep playing Paper Mario because the uber-complex story, but rather the charm, fun, dialogue and humor.

GoombaJMR

#82

GoombaJMR said:

@OldMan-Tech Actually I think M&L is more Puzzle based, as Paper Mario is a bit more RPG based. They're both around the same for platforming though. (RPG statement excluding PM SS). Wider variety of items and cooking recipes, bigger hub and overworld with more stuffs, similar battle system but a bit deeper.

Banker-Style

#84

Banker-Style said:

Love Bowsers Inside Story,such Brilliant writing,and gameplay.Hopefully this'll be just as good.
Is Fawful in Dream Team?

Spoony_Tech

#85

Spoony_Tech said:

@GoombaJMR I guess we will just have to disagree on this one. To me this series here has stayed true to its roots more so then the paper mario series has which is a true rpg. Where as paper mario has tried many new things and I like them all but they have been more hit or miss imo. Ill take this series any day over the paper mario one.

Joshers744

#86

Joshers744 said:

I have played all the Mario & Luigi RPG series games, but I have never got through any of them (one of the few Mario related games I have ever not beat actually) but this one looks better than the past ones to me...I'm just not sure if it's that different though. Anybody who's played it, could you compare it to the old ones? I kind of would get stuck in the old ones somehow.

Doge

#87

Doge said:

you lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky lucky, lucky,lucky Europeans

GoombaJMR

#88

GoombaJMR said:

@OldMan-Tech It is true that it stays towards its roots, and its overall series is probably more RPG based, due to SPM and PMSS being different, but I believe the first two games (ttyd being my all time fav game :D) are way more rpg-like...If Paper mario strives to continue the hit and miss thing that you are speaking of (which it did with its last 2 games), then I would probably take this one over time, but with TTYD and PM1 being incredible games imo, I still prefer pm a bit more. Ofc everyone has different opinions, and I'm not as much as a puzzler guy as most of the people here are. Have you played the first two pm games? :)

Spoony_Tech

#91

Spoony_Tech said:

@GoombaJMR Yes I've played all in both series but only played a very little bit of Super Paper Mario. That one just didn't interest me. As for TTYD I thought it was good but something about it just rubbed me the wrong way. For whatever reason I finished about 90% of it and never beat it from there. Can't even tell you why really! SuperStar Saga is my favorite out of both these series though!

GoombaJMR

#92

GoombaJMR said:

@OldMan-Tech I see. SPM is actually rather a hit than a miss imo, as PMSS is probably most disappointing game of all mario rpgs (I've played pm 1234, m&l 23.) Hope to see a Paper Mario Wii U HD game soon! I don't think it's good as a portable game - M&L is better, but Consoles yeah

SuperCharlie78

#93

SuperCharlie78 said:

Thanks Thomas :)

I'm going to pick this one up later, I'll go by car maybe listening to Alice in Chains, just to increase the excitement

suburban_sensei

#94

suburban_sensei said:

Great review! Been waiting to play a good RPG on my 3DS, and I love this series. So happy I have it pre-ordered and paid off...now, it's just a waiting game.

DerpSandwich

#95

DerpSandwich said:

@HeatBombastic I know plenty of people liked it, and I liked parts of it, but people like games for different reasons. For me, yes, I do play it for the story. And it's not about being complex, it's about being there at all. All three past Paper Mario games have had a fun story, and this one just didn't. There was funny dialogue among the nameless characters, which was great, but that's it. Bowser wasn't even really a character. There was no progression. My problem is that it doesn't seem like they made a game that fit the system better--they made a game that just has less than I would expect. And the battles are delightful at first, but I didn't see the point in them after the first few worlds. If there's no actual reward other than stickers and coins (which are everywhere) what's the point in engaging an enemy? It's just going to waste your time. For most of the game I avoided literally every enemy possible, and I still beat the game easily. If you don't actually have to play the game to beat the game, that's just bad game design. The core mechanic can't be optional. That's like taking a 2D Mario platformer and giving you a little path that takes you around all the enemies and platforms and lets you run right to the goal if you feel like it.

But like I said, I understand plenty of people still liked it. With a few tweaks I feel it could have been "good in its own way, yet still not what I want in a Paper Mario game," but right now it just "has its moments."

XyVoX

#96

XyVoX said:

Have just picked this up for £15 well pleased shall start it tomorrow.

MeloMan

#97

MeloMan said:

Paper Mario who? Ever since this series emerged, it has been the main "Mario RPG" that satisfies me. Good to know it's still going strong.

Tobias95

#99

Tobias95 said:

Got this today, its realy great! Much better than Sticker Star, wich also was good. I defeated what I think is the first real boss

Yoshi3DS

#100

Yoshi3DS said:

why does everyone seem to hate paper mario: sticker star? i thought it was brilliant!

Kman389

#102

Kman389 said:

Europe is getting this first! Japan has to wait until 18 July!! Nintendo do appreciate Europe after all.

Dezsi

#103

Dezsi said:

Partners in Time should arrive soon in the post. That will be the third game from the series I play. Since I don't own a 3DS, but crave for M&L, I had to figure something out.

This game alone makes me want to buy a 3DS.

Giygas_95

#104

Giygas_95 said:

@Yoshi3DS I thought it was good too. What people didn't like:

-loss of story
-loss of dynamic characters
-loss of RPG mechanics such as leveling up

It holds a soft spot in my heart for being a very memorable game with fun overall gameplay and great music. It was such a comforting thing to play while I was sick in bed once.

@Kman389 Welcome to Nintendo Life, newcomer! About Dream Team, I'm happy to see ya'll getting it first! Hope you enjoy it!

Varia01

#105

Varia01 said:

Wow. Amazing review. Great job, Mr Thomas. ;)

After reading about the humor and and clever motives for this game, I am actually quite excited to buy and play this. The gameplay certainly does seem clever with an excellent story pace. I also can't wait to experience the humor of this game. :D

DarkKirby

#106

DarkKirby said:

Partners in Time suffered because it WASN'T FUN TO PLAY, it wasn't because the series was getting stale. Partners in Time used a new items based attack system (where previous Mario RPGs used the more common "Special Attack Point" system) THAT WAS TERRIBLE. So it was terrible not for doing the same thing again, it was terrible for using a new battle system that was horrible to play with.

seraphym88

#107

seraphym88 said:

wow....i cant complain about good games, but this is almost frustrating....i buy a good game and another awsome game hits shelves before i make it home...lol i love 3ds

Justaguest

#109

Justaguest said:

I have a mixed feelings about this game so far. 3d effect is really good but gameplay.. Very repetive this time. I dont like how monsters from real world appear in the dream world. Hopefully it gets better as I go on.
edit: Never mind.. it only makes sense for them to reappear.

Dodger

#110

Dodger said:

I'm excited about this one. I'll buy it on the 11th and play it on the plane on the 12th. It doesn't have to be better then Bowser's Inside Story as long as it is a good game.

What I haven't liked about Sticker Star:
The puzzles (all about happening to have the right sticker),
the battles (all about having enough stickers, little complexity due to the lack of partners)
the story/characters (both almost completely charmless, especially compared to the other 3 games which had a surprising amount of depth)

What I have liked about Sticker Star:
The graphics,
the music.

Tl;dr It looks and sounds great but isn't any fun to play.

SuperMinusWorld

#112

SuperMinusWorld said:

@DarkKirby To add on to your statement, not only was the battle system boring, but the addition of the babies and general structure of the game was lackluster as well. Baby Mario & Luigi didn't add much to the gameplay. We were still playing as Mario & Luigi (which isn't a bad thing by itself) who were given hammers as an arbitrary way of making it seem like we needed them.

The linearity of Partners in Time also hampered its success quite a lot for me. A huge reason Superstar Saga was so appealing to me was that vast overworld that we could explore, solve puzzles in, find the secrets of, and generally good around in. It acted as another layer of immersion. Partners in Time felt so restrictive and also rather lonely with its corridors as opposed to Superstar Saga's character-and-secret-filled overworld. That's why I'm so glad it made its return in Bowser's Inside Story and Dream Team.

AyeHaley

#113

AyeHaley said:

This year is so expensive! Love it, but I really need to upgrade my 16GB SDcard to 32GB >.< I already had to delete Castlevania and StyleSavvy to make more room.

AutumnShantel

#115

AutumnShantel said:

Man, Sticker Star was good, you just had to pretend like it wasn't a Paper Mario game. But on a relevant note, I just got my copy of this game yesterday and so far I'm loving it! The soundtrack and graphics are unique...

hopesfall

#117

hopesfall said:

I will say that I was a little nervous when I knew this game was going to be released considering how horrible(to me) Paper Mario was to that series honor. I picked the game up last night because I love the Mario and Luigi series, and I have to I love this game. I can't put it down unless I have to charge my 3DS. This review is spot on, and if you like this series then pick this game up!!!!!!!

Slayer

#118

Slayer said:

Nice review, Thomas.
Since I've played Partners in Time I wasn't all that impressed with the Mario and Luigi games. They are much too easy. Especially the combat system. In Mario and Luigi, you basically can dodge every single attack that's thrown at you, and you can easily make it through several battles without taking damage at all. This series never had the right challenge for me, I'm not a M&L gamer.

Joshua_Hylian

#121

Joshua_Hylian said:

Is this worth getting as I have finished Superstar and Partners in Time? Does it matter that I don't have Bowser's Inside Story?

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