They have taken on the Bean Bean Kingdom, traveled through time, been swallowed hole by their arch-nemesis, now they are venturing into dreams. The overqualified plumbers RPG saga is back with Mario & Luigi: Dream team.
Those who have played the Mario & Luigi games should know what to expect from the story of Dream Team. For those who don’t I’ll give you a quick run down. Princess Peach, Mario and Lugi. Get invited to the Pi’llo Island tropical resort. Through a series of events, Princess Peach gets kidnapped, an Ancient Evil is awakened, and you have to save the Pi’llo Kingdom. More or less standard stuff. While the story itself is not all that interesting, it does enough to drive you from Point A to Point B, and your journey to accomplish your goal is the best thing about the story.
The hilarious and insane characters you meet along the way, the bizarre situations it puts you in is all hilarious and charming and it kept me smiling, giggling and interested from start to finish. Granted the humour is subjective and I might have a really immature sense of humour, none the less I loved the journey to the end with all these characters over the actual story, but honestly I was constantly looking forward to the next interactions with the characters that the simplistic story never really detracted from it.
Man, Oh man. So, this is the first Mario & Luigi game on the 3DS, and it does not hold any punches. It is absolutely beautiful. Pil’llo Island Island is a very diverse place. It has a desert, a forest, a beach front, a spring time garden area, shopping district, mystical caves and a mountain that has lava down bottom, and snowy up high. This place is Bear Grylls worst nightmare. It’s mother nature wanting to know what happens when EVERY CLIMATE POSSIBLE IS THROWN TOGETHER.
But hey, it makes for a lot of visual variety,as soon as you think you’re done with an area, it moves you to a dream world equivalent of an area, which takes a new perspective and turns everything bizarre, or it moves you somewhere else completely. You will revisit areas, but you with all the real world and dream world jumping you will be doing, focusing on how to fight new enemies, and finding collectables to really feel that you have been in an area for too long. The games art style is a bit mixed, the characters still retain their sprite based stylistic look, however much more detailed then before. While the world itself has much more depth and detail then previous instalments.
One thing I have to mention are the Giant Luigi fights. In this situation the entire games art style changes to a polygonal cel shaded look. I have to mention this because visually, these are my favourite points in the game. It really opens you’re eyes to what the 3DS is capable of. I have to give them a lot of credit, it’s been over 2 years since the 3DS came out and these segments really showed me how much I underestimated the system. I’m not joking. It is beautiful with a capital gorgeous. Who needs technical brute force when a change in art style can go a long way?
I used 3D for a short time, it looked nice but since some of the attacks use the gyroscope, I thought it best to just leave it turned off. The music is fitting for each of the different areas you explore, with the exception of the battle music, none of it felt memorable or seemed to stand out.
When I’m talking to my friends about Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, I explain it as “Baby’s first RPG” that’s not to put down or insult the game. It’s just very accessible, everything is clear, there are no vague terms. The game makes sure you know what you need to know, and if you’re having trouble the game does have options to make it easier, should you need it.
At it’s core, the game is a turned based RPG but the creativity spills over into the gameplay as well, the series staple active combat makes a return. Timing your attacks and learning the attack patterns of enemies is as fun as ever. Especially in the dream world when all the attacks are super powered by Luigi. New gimmicks, such as the gyroscope are implemented in some of the attacks. For the most part, the combat is unchanged from the previous games.
The game also has a few puzzles, but most of them are so simplistic it’s hard to really call them “Puzzles”. Since most of the “Puzzles” use dream world abilities, you get to see more of that creativity we see everywhere else in the game spill over, giant Luigi Balls, springs, drills, and all sorts of wacky power-ups. It’s great.
You have the typical side-quests and collectables you see in these sorts of RPG’s are present. Unlike the most games seem to be doing with their collectables, these ones are actually worth doing. Supermoves, rare items and gear. They don’t really feel pointless. Some of them feel like typical fetch quests, which is a bit disappointing, but you still get some humorous situations none-the-less.
Overall, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is a great game. The active combat is as fun as ever, they take advantage of the 3DS hardware. It’s gorgeous, sure the soundtrack and story isn’t all that great. On the other hand, the journey as a whole is a fun time. For those who love RPGs or want to get into them, I couldn’t recommend it more.