Review – Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

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Sorry for the weeklong hiatus guys. I’ve been terribly busy with work, school, my new Dungeons and Dragons campaign, and even a small illness. I tried to update my Twitter as often as I could so everyone could keep up with me, but even that feel through. I know it’s not much, but I wrote a review for you all :c

So, if you were involved in RPGs to any degree back in the Gameboy Advance era, you would probably know that the GBA had some great titles going for it. Golden Sun, Fire Emblem, Pokemon, Breath of Fire, Megaman Battle Network, and even a few Final Fantasy ports all made the Gameboy Advance a formidable foe in the RPG department, but one game that turned out much better than I expected was Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga. Superstar Saga quickly went to a game I had no interest in to one of my all time favorite RPGs after spending countless hours on multiple playthroughs.

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Superstar Saga was the first title in the Mario & Luigi series of RPGs made by AlphaDream starring the famous sibling plumbers, with Partners in Time and Bowser’s Inside Story following along with their respective numerical labels. Sadly, even though I loved the first game, I never got to play Partners In Time or Bowser’s Inside Story; however, after determining that I needed a new game for my 3DS, I decided to pick up Mario & Luigi: Dream Team about a week ago. What do I think of it?

Well, so far I’m about 15 hours into the game, with me taking my time on everything, so while I don’t have a complete experience, I can share what I know so far. Up to this point, it’s actually not as bad as I expected to be; in fact, I quite enjoy it. Normally I’m quite hesitant to spend more than $40 on games these days, but I went with my gut on this buy and I don’t completely hate myself for it. You play as the adventurous duo in their quest do find the Dream Stone located somewhere on Pi’illo Island all while the antagonist, Antasma, plots to destroy the world. The game features your standard Mario & Luigi RPG style combat, consisting of individual attacks, coordinated Bros. Attacks and Luiginary techniques, and action-like dodging and counterattacking. While fighting in the real world is  what you’ll be doing most of the time, there’s a new fighting mechanic only used in the Dream World. Being a realm under Luigi’s dream influence, Mario can team up with Luigi’s dream representation to unleash new, augmented attacks and powerful Luiginary techniques.

The Dream World aspect is utilized to a tolerable degree in a sense that it doesn’t smother you, but it’s not a super infrequent thing, which makes for a nice sense of balance. The game also does a nice job with environments, although so far I haven’t seen a lot of variety compared to Superstar Saga. The story is the worn out “find X before Y takes over the world” nonsense that I just kind of drown out due to being unoriginal, but the use of dream sequences kind of spices it up, making it so I don’t want to leave as big of a mess after I kill myself. The gameplay so far has been enough to keep it afloat, as some boss battles are really fun and creative. I haven’t run into a difficulty spike beyond learning monster patterns, so for the most part, the game is fair and doesn’t take any cheap shots it could have, but I have been focusing on pouring EVERY bonus roll to stats on Power, so I might adversely be steamrolling through the game without knowing it…

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Being a Mario game, colorful graphics and great music is kind of a standard for the series. While featuring some nice sprite work, it’s not exactly ground breaking graphics like some other 3DS titles, which was a little disappointing. Sure, not every game has to be 3D model based, but besides the few 3D CG scenes like cutscenes or Giant Luigi battles, it really doesn’t have much going for it. Colorful, but still not pretty. Like puking after eating a bowl of Captain Crunch.

Overall, if you’re okay with an overdone plot and some mediocre graphics, you’ll find a game with good substance and some lovable characters. Honestly, and this might be the poor college kid in me speaking, but I wouldn’t pay $40 for this, but if you can get it for $25, or even $30, or just enjoy the Mario & Luigi series, I’d say give it a go.

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