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Joseph Rositano
27 Oct, 2009

Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story Review

DS Review | Anything but Fawful.
The Mario & Luigi series has become a huge success for Nintendo. Everything from the wacky characters and visual style, to the light-hearted humour and engaging gameplay all blend in perfectly to give players a unique experience. Perhaps the most appealing factor throughout these adventures though is that they’re never taken too seriously, so you’ll often see a new side to characters that isn’t often explored in the standard Mario platformers. Bowser’s Inside Story takes this to the next level by letting players control Bowser and experience first hand what the Koopa King gets up to while on his quest for dominance in the Mushroom Kingdom. The end result is another quality Mario game that brings something new to table while staying true to the foundations of the series.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story kicks off with a mysterious virus known as the Blorbs spreading throughout the Mushroom Kingdom. The virus causes citizens to swell up to gigantic proportions and helplessly roll around. Concerned by the crisis, Princess Peach hosts a summit to discuss the plague and any possible cures but half-way through the meeting Bowser charges in. Before he can kidnap the Princess however he’s defeated by Mario and is dispelled into the woods. There the fiend encounters a cloaked figure who hands him a mushroom, promising it will help him defeat Mario. Upon swallowing it the Koopa King begins to inhale everyone around him, eventually leading to the Princess, Mario, Luigi and various Toad servants becoming trapped inside his body. The cloaked figure turns out to be none other than Fawful, an old nemesis from Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga, who is seeking revenge on the plumber duo by taking over the Mushroom Kingdom. Within Bowser’s body players must find an escape route, put a stop to Fawful’s plans and above all else, find a cure for the Blorbs virus.

  
Rule #1: Don't mess with Bowser.

Rule #1: Don't mess with Bowser.
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If you’ve played previous games in the series then you’ll instantly be in familiar territory. Battles are turn-based and are initiated by making contact with an enemy. Rather than just selecting options from a menu battles are fought with interactivity from the player. For example, by timing and pressing the A button you can perform a double jump maneuver on the heads of enemies which causes extra damage. Mario and Luigi typically have the same move sets from previous entries, however Bowser’s Inside Story does implement a number of new ideas. The most significant change is the developers have had to design levels and gameplay mechanics to accommodate Bowser’s playability. Being the big and brawley guy that he is, Bowser fights alone which can be a little daunting at first, but you quickly realise just how powerful the Koopa King really is. He’s meaner, stronger and can take a lot more punishment than the Mario Bros. One moment you’ll feel empowered as you walk in the shoes of this beast, the next you’ll become alert as you switch back to the more vulnerable Mario and Luigi.

When playing as Bowser levels are presented in a top-down view, while inside Bowser’s body Mario and Luigi explore their surroundings like a traditional side-scrolling platformer – a nod to their classic adventures. By doing this the developers have been able to not only integrate different puzzles but also keep environments feeling fresh and engaging. A little later in the game Mario and Luigi will be able to enter and exit Bowser’s body at their leisure, and so the top-down view environments reflect on the unique abilities of each character. Bowser for instance is unable to jump onto ledges and has to go the long way around or create his own shortcuts by burning trees and punching through boulders. Likewise, there are some areas Mario and Luigi are unable to access since they lack Bowser’s strength. It’s all integrated extremely well and demonstrates excellent level design.

Rule #2: Giant Bowser is full of win.

Rule #2: Giant Bowser is full of win.
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One thing many fans felt wasn’t integrated enough in Partners in Time was the use of touch screen controls. Thankfully this has been addressed in Bowser’s Inside Story and is utilised in several mini-games and even a few core gameplay mechanics. All of Bowser’s special attacks utilise the touch screen in some shape or form, such as powering up a spin attack by sliding the stylus or simply directing his flames by tapping on a target. There are even a few boss battles which are entirely fought using the touch screen. During these moments Bowser becomes a Godzilla-sized monster and players must turn their console sideways. On the touch screen you’ll see and control Bowser, while the other screen displays your foe. These battles are a little generic, but they’re never overused and provide a welcome change of pace.

The developers also need to be commended for making the game friendly towards both veterans and newcomers to the series. Whenever you learn a new ability you have the option of skipping the tutorial entirely, which is nice considering most of Mario and Luigi’s moves have been featured in previous games. Additionally you can jump in and out of tutorials for special attacks, so you’re able watch videos of the attack being performed or practice without worry about your health metre or SP points.

Unfortunately there are a few minor hiccups with Bowser’s Inside Story. The story, while well written and humorous, can sometimes become too wordy for its own good. Occasionally you may even find yourself skipping walls of text just to get back to the gameplay, but it comes down to your enthusiasm towards the individual characters more than anything else. Some mini-games are also a little annoying, particularly one where you have to make Bowser sneeze by spreading pollen through his nose. The mini-game was functional, but the controls were a little too finicky for our liking. These points aren’t game breaking and can be ignored almost entirely, but they’re there and it’s something you should be aware of.

  
Rule #3: Plumbers are tough to digest.

Rule #3: Plumbers are tough to digest.
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Like previous entries in the series the game features bright and vibrant 2D graphics. All character sprites have received a makeover from Partners in Time, and for the most part they look incredible moving about on your screen and are a step up in presentation. The music is what you have come to expect from a Mario games; everything blends in perfectly with the game world and is suitably toned to match the events that are transpiring.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story is the perfect example of how a sequel should be made. It doesn’t necessarily change the core elements which made previous entries so appealing, but adds to the experience by taking new directions. This third entry will appease both new and old Mario fans, and is a game that should not be passed up by RPG fans.
The Score
Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story is a wonderful new adventure that takes new directions while also maintaining the foundations set by its predecessors. There are a few minor hiccups here and there, but otherwise it should not be missed by any Mario or RPG fan. 9
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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10 Comments
4 years ago
Was pretty reluctant to pick this up, but now I may just have to.

...after exams.
4 years ago
I really enjoyed the previous installments in this series and this one is no exception. I love the dialogue and how the battle system keeps yous you on alert during enemy turns. I hope we see more games in this series.
4 years ago
Azza wrote
...after exams.
ditto
4 years ago
My only gripe is there are too many "scripted sequences". It gets a bit MGS at times.
4 years ago
Just popping in to wish Joseph a congratulations on his 100th review, and to tell him to get stuffed for making me want Mario & Luigi so much more.
4 years ago
I was wondering if anyone would notice. Thanks Steven, you're a great friend, and I'll always be telling you about awesome bargains and games just to be annoying. icon_wink.gif
4 years ago
Joseph, we need Nismo back so you're going to have to hit milestones of some kind on a daily basis. It's cool, I know you can handle it.

Also so far I'm agreeing with your review, this game is awesome.
4 years ago
Who said I ever left?
4 years ago
NismoR34 wrote
Who said I ever left?
You did, multiple times, on IRC.
4 years ago
Nah, that must have been the imposter Nismo. Why would I lie? I'm Canberran. icon_shifty.gif
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| More
  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  22/10/2009 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  Nintendo
Genre:
  RPG
Year Made:
  2009

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