“I have a dream…” and so does Luigi.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team review (Nintendo 3DS),
developed by Alpha Team, published by Nintendo
In the fourth instalment in the Mario & Luigi RPG series our favorite plumber brothers venture to dreams and reality trying to stop the fierce bat king Antasma and -for the first time in the series- Bowser, who of course long to acquire world domination. As “Dream Team” is part of the “Year of Luigi” which celebrates his 30th birthday, our green garbed friend plays an important role in the game.
Arguably, something isn’t right with the Mushroom Kingdom’s spam mail filters. First Peach’s “cake letter” in Super Mario 64, which yells “click here for massive cake”, and leads Mario into one of Bowser’s traps, then Fawful’s Vaccuum Mushroom he sells to Bowser promising him being invincible after eating it and now an invitation to an island far away from the Mushroom Kingdom by a guy named Dr. Snoozemore. Naivety is not a word to describe that anymore. But, oh well, be it as is. Somehow the story needs to start.
And that is exactly what “Dream Team” is lacking in my opinion – a proper story. The premise is basically similar to Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. An evil has been banished and now it comes free.
There once was an ancient tribe who could freely wander between dreams and reality, the Pi’illo. But one day, the bat king Antasma stole the Dark Stone to fulfill his dark and evil dreams. However, by using all of their power the Pi’illo sealed him away in the Dreamworld where he would wait for his return to take revenge on the Pi’illo and do what he previously could not.
Yeah, in my opinion a very generic story. The second Paper Mario game did this a lot better. But you can hardly compare Mario & Luigi games with the Paper Mario series. For a Mario & Luigi game the story is okay, but it does not quite reach the magnificence of its predecessor, “Bowser’s Inside Story”. Speaking of predecessors, some characters from the last DS instalment of the series make an appearance in “Dream Team” but since it’s not a direct sequel to the previous game, none of them really know that. There are some loose references and allusions though, which makes it even more fun to play, when you know your way around the Mario universe and the Mario & Luigi series.
So, how does that dream thing work, actually? Again, if you have played “Bowser’s Inside Story” that feature is nothing new to you. The same in green, so to speak. Whenever you find a place where Luigi can go to sleep a portal to the Dreamworld appears above him making Mario able to venture into his brother’s dreams. But, wait! Does that mean that Luigi is not available in the dreams? Well, Luigi himself is busy snoring but there is a replacement for him, who is almost as good as the original – Dreamy Luigi. And Dreamy Luigi has some of the most awesome skills ever to be seen in a Mario & Luigi game although they can only be accessed at specific points in the Dreamworld, the so-called “Luiginary Works”. Depending on which one Dreamy Luigi “possesses” various actions can be made using the touch screen on which you control sleeping Luigi with the help of Starlow (also known from “Bowser’s Inside Story” as Chippy). For example there is a pinwheel in the Dreamworld that Dreamy Luigi can jump into which causes wind by Starlow spinning Luigi’s nose. Or there is a constellation in the background resembling Luigi’s head which will spawn tons of clones of Dreamy Luigi which will form a tower with Mario on top of it. With it you can ground pound or do the well-known spin jump such as the brothers can do out of battle in the real world.
Graphically, there are some things that bug me, though. Although the style of the game with various colorful settings is still as lovable as in its predecessors, “Dream Team” has a few graphical flaws. The biggest one is, that the characters merely are sprites despite the 3DS’s capacity of what it could muster. That, however, is seen in the recurring “giant battles” where Mario and Luigi are actually 3D render models.
Music-wise, nothing has changed at all. Don’t get me wrong, though. By “nothing has changed” I mean that the soundtrack is still as good and catchy as before. No wonder, because composer was none other than famous Yoko Shimomura who did the music for Mario RPGs since Super Mario RPG, excluding the Paper Mario series.
Alright, that would be it for my review of “Mario & Luigi: Dream Team”. Personally, I really enjoy the game despite its little flaws here and there. But it got the most important thing right. It is fun. And when a game is fun, no “bad” graphics or “bad” story can ruin that for me. The game has been made with love and that alone is worth buying it, if you are a fan of (Mario) RPGs and you can take back on the story a little bit. I mean, in which other game have you ever felt the urge to dance to the boss battle music? Totally worth it.
~ EU – July 12, 2013
~ AU – July 13, 2013
~ JP – July 18, 2013
~ NA – August 11, 2013
~ ESRB – E10+
~ PEGI – 3
~ CERO – A
~ ACB – PG
~ USK – 6
One little note at the end here: I only own the German version of the game and for the English (EU) names I consulted Mariowiki. If there happen to be some inconsistencies with your version, please excuse.
Furthermore, the opinion in this article is mine and mine alone. Just because I say, I like the game it is not assured that you will like it as well. I recommend watching a few trailers or gameplay footage first if you are unsure about buying the game.
– King Madness (~ Benji)