Mario & Luigi: Dream Team ReviewJustin Ling
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is the latest entry in the popular Mario & Luigi RPG series and the first of the games to make the jump to the Nintendo 3DS, which it does with quite a bit of gusto. The game has undergone quite a few changes in order to take advantage of the Nintendo 3DSfs capabilities and the end product is a game that is not only very fun to watch and play but also retains many of the traits from previous games that made the RPG series such a big hit in the first place.
The gamefs story is relatively simple: a living nightmare named Antasma seeks the Dream Stone in order to gain unlimited power and has teamed up with the Mario Bros.f archnemesis Bowser in order to do so. What makes this story engaging is the characters and their interactions, especially the interactions between the Mario Bros. This is one of the games that directly shows just how much the brothers care about each other, especially on Luigifs side. This is best shown during the times in Luigifs dream world where Luigi, even when asleep, does whatever he can to help his brother in traversing the dreamy landscape and fighting off hostile forces, ventures deep into his own subconscious to ensure Mario is safe, and will even will himself to become a gigantic fighting force when Mario is forced to face a foe much too big for himself to handle.
The gameplay is very creative and fun to play around, especially during the dream world where players must interact with the sleeping Luigifs face in certain ways to help Mario navigate the dream world; such interactions range from pulling Luigifs mustache so that Mario can use mustache-like plants to catapult across great distances, to tickling Luigifs nose so that his sneezes cause great winds in the dream world to blow objects in the distance closer for Mario to interact with. The gamefs battle system is also relatively the same as the previous games though there are a few more action commands to use now: players not only have to be able to jump or hammer attacks, some enemies will force them to move around in order to fully dodge certain attacks. The added battle challenges that reward players for completing them will also have players striving to perfect their skills at action commands.
The gamefs setting is beautifully done; the resort island that the game takes place in is colorful and lively while the dream worlds range from whimsical and full of color to dark and filled with eerie silence; the sheer variety of landscapes make for a grandiose world for players to have fun in. The music, courtesy of Yoko Shimomura, is also very pleasing to the ear, ranging from etropical paradisef type music for the island resort hub to frantic instrumentals for epic boss battles filled with madcap action.
There are a few things that might cause players some headaches, however. Some of the more powerful moves in the game make use of the Nintendo 3DSfs gyro controls; this means that less dexterous players will not be doing as much damage as they could be and will also have a hard time completing challenges that require them to pull off the moves perfectly. The Giant Battles can also be a bit frustrating to those who arenft quite used to the mechanics yet; the battles themselves are not affected by the playersf levels and stats so that means that the only way for players to defeat a particularly difficult giant boss is to retry again and again since there is no way to make the boss easier.
Still, even with the flaws, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is a very fun game to play and a promising preview of how the series, if it gets more sequels in the near future, can further evolve. A good combination of story, gameplay, and music makes this one particular game a definite gem. It has enough callbacks to the previous games for longtime fans to enjoy and also makes for quite an introduction for newcomers. Fans of the Super Mario Bros. will definitely want to check this one out.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.