A while ago, the developers of the Mario series realized they couldn’t just keep repeating the same old platformer formula over and over again and hope to keep players interested – so they expanded the franchise into other genres, such as racing games and even RPGs.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story is the third so far RPG in the series, taking most of what players loved from the previous two and wrapping it in a new package with lots of extra features to spice up the gameplay.

Gameplay

As an interesting addition to the playing experience, you can now control the character of Bowser as well as Mario and Luigi themselves. Playing with the primary two protagonists remains mostly similar to the previous games, where you explore their levels in a platformer-style gameplay.

The title of the game isn’t coincidental though, as the game actually takes place inside Bowser’s body, where Mario and Luigi and trapped alongside their friends and are trying to escape. In a curious twist to the plot, Bowser himself is all but aware of the presence of the others inside of him, only talking to them through Starlow (whom he doesn’t even recognize).

Exploring the world from Bowser’s perspective is vastly different from playing as Mario and Luigi, as you’re given a top-down perspective and a unique combat system. “Bros. Points” have been renamed to “Special Points”, since Mario and Luigi aren’t the only ones who get to use their benefits now, and Bowser can receive boosts from their effects as well.

The minigames included are both hilarious and highly entertaining in terms of gameplay – for example, one of them requires you to stimulate various muscles in Bowser’s body as you control Mario and Luigi, attempting to force Bowser to do a specific task.

Graphics and System Requirements

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story sadly doesn’t look remarkably better than its predecessors, mostly being based on the same graphics formula. This doesn’t mean that the graphics look outdated or anything though – quite the contrary, the game looks as fresh and exciting as every other Mario game out there always has.

The levels inside Bowser have been designed very creatively, and even though you realize they’ve been created to accommodate to a platformer style of gameplay, you’ll still admire how well they blend with the actual environment they’re supposed to represent.

The NDS’s screen has been used wisely and no space is wasted – every element of the HUD is in an intuitive and easily accessible spot, and the controls are easy to learn and handle too.

Other

You may need some time to properly adjust to playing with Bowser, as his style of game can be very different than what you get from playing Mario and Luigi – but it shouldn’t take you more than a few tries (and failures) to get the hang of it.

Conclusion

There was once a point when people were wondering if a Mario-based RPG is such a good idea. Looking at the progress the developers have made so far with the three games that came out of this, we can safely say it was an awesome idea.

Categories: ActionReviews

Lauren Richard

Dr. Patterson's research interests include ethnobiology, community-based conservation, biocultural diversity, and sustainable development. He has worked extensively with the Maijuna and other indigenous groups of the Peruvian Amazon. Dr. Patterson helped the Maijuna establish an indigenous federation in 2004 and has worked with them on community-based biocultural conservation projects since 1999.

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