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Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Review

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Review

Outside of spin-off titles like Luigi’s Mansion, Mario’s younger brother, Luigi, has been in the shadow of his older brother, always tagging alongside him. We get to see how Luigi’s feels on the outside, but we haven’t gotten a chance yet to see what he’s thinking on the inside. Following up on Bowser’s Inside Story, which gave us an “inside” look into Bowser, Alphadream and Nintendo have a new follow-up featuring a look into Luigi’s dreams with the wonderfully ironic subtitle “Dream Team”. Taking cues from the prior games and adding in its own new features, Dream Team aims to rise above its predecessors with some changes being better than others.

Two of the prior Mario & Luigi games already featured the Mushroom Kingdom, so Dream Team moves the location to a new area called Pi’illo Island by the way of Princess Peach getting an invitation to explore the island, bringing along the Mario Bros. in tow. Things aren’t what they seem after Luigi opens up a mysterious dream portal after sleeping on an ancient stone pillow. The Princess then gets captured by a mysterious bat-like creature called Antasma. One things leads to another and the brothers end up having to trek around the island using Luigi’s new dream ability to track down and stop Antasma from taking over the island.

While not quite at the same level as some of the prior games, the Western localization for Dream Team is still very good. The game features a nice mix of serious, silly and downright comedic scenes in equal measure and there’s more eccentric characters present than you could shake a stick at. There are some faults, like Antasma being left feeling one-dimensional as the character and the fact he plays second-fiddle to Bowser later in the game, but returning characters like Broque Monsieur with his hilarious French accent from Bowser’s Inside Story helps to even out the flaws.

As far as gameplay goes, one of the major issues present in Dream Team is the incessant amount of tutorials that occur almost every half-hour until you get past the first third of the game. Nintendo was criticized for the lack of tutorials and explanations that made Paper Mario: Sticker Star a chore to figure out what to do next, but instead of hitting a nice middle ground, Dream Team assumes the player can’t figure anything out and basically gives away the early puzzles by explaining them step-by-step. It feels incredibly patronizing to the player, especially if one played any of the prior games. It’s understandable to include it for newer players, but the option to skip these entirely should have been available.

For those who aren’t already familiar with the series, the Mario & Luigi series is a mix of RPG elements and the platforming aspects the Mario series is known for. Players can either touch the enemy on the map to instigate a battle or attack them for a pre-emptive attack. Initial battles feature the use of jumping and swinging hammers at foes, but as the game progresses various items and special moves are introduced to spice things up.

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