REVIEW – Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (3DS)

A Game Review by Greg Dabkey

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Game – Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
Version – 3DS
ESRB Rating: ‘E10+’ – Everyone 10 and up
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 8/11/2013
Obtained – Courtesy of my wallet

Will this game be a giant snoozefest or will it be the RPG of your dreams?  Read on to find out how this one stacks up!

Story/Plot

Mario, Luigi, Peach and residents of the Mushroom Kingdom were invited to the Pi’illo Kingdom to improve relations with their kingdom.  On their journey over, Luigi falls asleep and has a nightmare when Antasma invades him dream.  It makes the ship lose control and crash land, thankfully just outside the Pi’illo kingdom.  They discover that some new residents reside in the Pi’illo kingdom as the Pi’illos mysteriously disappeared many years ago.  Mario and Luigi find the ancient Pi’illo artifact and come to discover it was a petrified Pi’illo.  They learn that Antasma had shattered a Nightmare stone and caused the Pi’illos to be encased within their dreams.  They rescue a few different Pi’illos before Bowser arrives.  Bowser then travels to the Dream world and teams up with Antasma and helps him escape the dream world and they both capture Princess Peach.  Can Mario and Luigi save the day again and restore the Pi’illo kingdom and save Peach?

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Gameplay & Controls

Mario and Luigi: Dream Team brings back the same RPG gameplay, and controls.  Fans familiar with the series should feel right at home already having a leg up on the controls and how the game works.  Basically the player controls Mario and Luigi and they traverse through the Pi’illo kingdom.  There are enemies in which triggers a battle sequence when either Mario or Luigi touch the enemy or if the enemy touches them.  The combat is simple and pretty interactive, like the rest of the series.  They have a basic jump and hammer command and the bros attacks also return.  For those that don’t know the bros attacks use bros points (BP) which acts similar to magic points in an RPG.  Basically they are a much more powerful attack.  The combat hasn’t changed, but to those new to the series, you can deal additional damage by using the A (for Mario) or B (for Luigi) buttons at the perfect time.  The game gives you plenty of practice at the beginning to learn the timing.   You can also counter particular enemy attacks or able to dodge if the buttons are pressed at the ideal time.

One of the main things with this game was the excessive hand-holding.  Every time something new is learned it takes you to the pause screen or the demo or some sort of menu.  They also remind you at every opportunity you can review it at any time.  It would be ideal to be able to disable these controls, since afterall this is the 4th game in the series.  Anyways, another new feature to this game is the dream world.  Luigi and lay down on a petrified Pi’illo or at a dream point and instantly fall asleep.  Mario then enters the dream world.  He is then joined by dreamy Luigi.  The ‘real’ world is more 3D, and the dream world is only 2D platforming.  Combat also occurs in the dream world, but dreamy Luigi merges inside of Mario for some additional attack power.  Mario’s attacks also includes Luigi clones if the buttons are timed right and receive a “Great” or “Excellent” causing additional damage.  Instead of bros attacks, Mario learns Luiginary attacks which are basically bros attacks, but with dozens of Luigis replacing the single Luigi.  Also at specific times there is the Dreamy “mega” Luigi battle where they do the epic sized battles found in Bowser’s Inside Story.  Mario acts as a helper and assists Luigi do his attacks, and these are done with the stylus with the 3DS turned on it’s side.

Basically the same gameplay is brought over for Dream Team with the intriguing story line.  The same bean collection and moves return (hammer, small Mario, twirl jump.  The game does include a modified tall jump where the bros become a ball to reach higher platforms.  Also Luigi gets a drill spin move to break rocks and do a quick horizontal twirl.  The bros also can get additional equipment by upgrading their ranks at particular levels, in addition to other custom options.  Overall the gameplay is mostly the same, but it is also very fun as I can’t seem to put the game down.  This added in some particular puzzles that had the player think a little what to do.  There are also a variety of mini-games for additional prizes to be one.  My favorite addition was the expert challenges, causing the player to be on top of their game.  There are three types of challenges and are completed throughout the journey.  There is the No Hitter, where you basically have to win a battle against each and every type of enemy without taking damage, but the enemy must be granted 1 turn to attack you.  Next is the dodge 10 where the player must dodge 10 attack rounds in a row (can be multiple battles) for battles within that region.  If the player misses a dodge, the counter resets and the player must begin again.  Finally there is the excellent 10 where the player must perform 10 excellent attacks in a row (can be multiple battles), this one is also region based.  There are items that increase your attack or defense based on your expert challenge completion.

Visuals & Sound

The visuals are pretty solid for the 3DS and the same text bubbles are shown throughout.  The 3D can make some pretty cool effects, particularly in battle with some of the bros. attacks.  It is not required to complete any part of the game.  All of the characters have plenty of details and the backgrounds fit the environment very well.  It’s the same typical Mario areas that provide the exclusive environments to each region (Mountain, Desert, Water/Beach, Lava, and Forest).  In terms of sound and music,  many of the same sound effects also return in this one.  The music I did not find anything special, but it also was not anything awful to listen to.  Mario and Luigi’s gibberish also returns in this game as well, which I have always enjoyed.  Unfortunately this game is not really voice-acted and has plentiful text bubbles.  Mario and Luigi have very limited sayings (excluding the gibberish), and none of the new characters have a voice.

Conclusion 

Overall the game is very entertaining and can easily take many hours to complete, especially if you are going after all the challenges, rescuing each and every Pi’illo and the famous beans are hidden throughout the many grounds.  It’s an awesome factor that the collectibles are numbered per region, but some of the expert challenges will be up to the player.  While the game isn’t anything spectacular in the visual or music department, they do provide an engaging environment as the story is pretty solid compared the latest Paper Mario entry.  Finally, it’s the suburb controls that remain in this one giving the player plenty of practice with the bros. attacks, achieving “excellents” and plenty of items to assist with healing, bros points, conditions and other needs.

Final Score: 9 out of 10

+ Excellent story
+ New Expert challenges
+ Returning excellent engaging gameplay
+ Fun humor element remains and fresh
+ Giant boss battles are still fun
+ Dream worlds provide some puzzle solving elements
– Mediocre music selection
– Game is easy, and makes you beat it to unlock “hard mode”

About the author:

Greg’s gaming hobby started with the NES when his grandma purchased it for Christmas one year. He started with Super Mario Brothers with Duck Hunt set and Super Mario would become the first game he beat. From there he continued gaming with the SNES, Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Color, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Advance, Game Cube, Nintendo DS (original, Lite, DSi), and then was a first week Wii owner. Most recently he games on the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii U. His favorite series include Mariokart, Legend of Zelda and Metroid. His genres of choice are action/adventure, RPG, puzzle/strategy and platforming. His life long goal of going to E3 was achieved in June 2013 and hopes to return in the future.

Greg has been blogging for NintendoFuse since November 2011. He started off as a knowledgeable contestant for the Ambassador Tournament, and was asked to jump on the team. Currently, he enjoys writing game reviews and occasionally sharing news with the fans and readers. You will also find him on the forums as the Event Moderator.

Greg – who has written posts on NintendoFuse.