Mario and Luigi: Dream Team Bros review

by Ben Salter Featured

7 Comments 18 Votes 24454 Views 29/07/2013 Back to Reviews

Inside your brother’s deepest thoughts

Mario and Luigi: Dream Team Bros is like a hyperactive three-year-old that mistakenly assumes you’re just as excited and enthusiastic about everything as he is. It’s an effective blend of a turn-based RPG within a platformer, and doesn’t for a second stop to let you bask in the latest addition. It quickly moves on to something else, and proceeds to over-explain it.

After skipping through walls of text about when to press the A button and when B should be used instead, you’ll discover Mario and Luigi: Dream Team Bros is actually a game.

The cutesy story sees Mario and Luigi join Princess Peach on a sightseeing trip to the mysterious Pi’illo Island by a strangely absent fellow named Dr Snoozemore. Apparently not phased by their treacherous past, the gang decide there's nothing sinister about that and embark on the journey. Bad move. Their fun is foiled again when Peach is kidnapped and pulled into a dream world by the bat king Antasma — a new enemy in the Mario world.

After skipping through walls of text about when to press the A button and when B should be used instead, you’ll discover Mario and Luigi: Dream Team Bros is actually a game.

Like Partners in Time before it, Dream Team Bros combines the movement of a platformer with the combat of a RPG. Bopping on an enemy’s head will trigger a turn-based fight, but give you the advantage of first strike.

Encounters become more complex as you progress, but a formula familiar to any Mario RPG or Paper Mario fan remains constant throughout. The recurring challenging is learning how to dodge enemy attacks. It’s all time-based, either moving out of the way of an attack or jumping over the top of it. You’ll need to keep watch of the glaring eyes of your opponent, as they’re the only tell as to which of the Mario Bros it’s going to target at the last moment — or you could just command them both to jump.

Of course, that’s only when Mario and Luigi are together on Pi’illo Island.

Luigi spends most of the game asleep, blissfully unaware of Peach’s peril. But he’s still integral to her rescue within his own subconscious as the creatively named “Dreamy Luigi”. He can open portals in the dream land, and rather than fight separately like they do in the real world, Dreamy Luigi combines his powers with Mario’s during battles. Mario’s fighting prowess skyrockets as he’s energised by a touch of green. Dreamy L also offers “Luiginary Attacks” which sends tens of tiny Luigi’s hurling at a crowd of perplexed bad guys. You see, this is all happening in Luigi’s head, and he likes seeing himself as much as possible

With Luigi snoozing on the touch screen, leaving his moustache vulnerable to attack, Mario is free to explore the depths of his brother’s mind. The world switches to a more traditional 2D side-scroller during the dream sequences, under a subdued hazy filter. It’s essentially a dungeon with tougher enemies for a single-handed Mario and a maze of levels connected by pipes and portals through to the real world.

Mario can call on his dozing brother for help — but Dreamy Luigi isn’t the brother he knows. Taller and more handsome, he’s the bro Luigi wants to be, opening up humorous possibilities that wouldn’t make sense in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Luigi’s new abilities provide the point of difference in what would otherwise be a game that does little to contrast itself from its predecessors. Seeing Luigi 100 feet tall or reinventing himself as a clock is not only ingenious in the context of some of the puzzles, it’s simply fun to go on a journey with Nintendo as it pokes fun at popular tropes about the forgotten brother.

If they weren’t so chatty, you’d want to speak to every character and explore every corner of the very pretty 3D Pi’illo Island — and there are plenty of rewards if you have the time to spare. Mario and Luigi has always had a ‘90s art style, and Dream Team Bros keeps up the charm with a more artistic rendition of Nintendo’s icon — but note that sliding on 3D doesn’t add much.

To get to any of this, you’ll first need to circumvent the lengthy tutorial. Instead of explaining the necessities in the opening minutes, Nintendo drags out proceedings for at least three hours and makes a hash of explaining every minor detail as if you’ve never played a game before. It’s ridiculous, and just when you think the real gameplay has started, the narrator explains something else you could have figured out. If you’re not willing to give Mario and Luigi at least five hours before forming an opinion, don’t bother at all.

The Final Verdict

With some great RPG battles and exploratory platforming, Mario and Luigi: Dream Team Bros offers plenty in 2013’s traditional July gaming lull. Dreamy Luigi in the green man’s subconscious adds flavour to what is otherwise a fairly safe entry in the slowly evolving series. After a slow start, Mario and Luigi fans can’t go wrong.

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros

Got Right
  • + Dreamy Luigi
  • + Some great Nintendo jokes
  • + Fun world to explore
  • + Solid RPG platformer
Got Wrong
  • - It doesn’t change much
  • - The opening is very, very slow — just let me play!
Platform: DS
Similar to: Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
 
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Mario and Luigi: Dream Team Bros review Comments

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As of late I feel like I enjoy the spinoff Nintendo Franchises more than the original core ones. This is purely because they are playing it too safe and are scared to stray away from the basic, tried and true formula. Take a look at the NSMB series or the upcoming Mario 3D world.
The spinoff's still seem to have that creative Nintendo magic that appears to be dying because of simple business structures.
So in other words I'm very excited to pick this game up :)
Wtf.. why have I never even heard of this game? [MOG]

Might have to pick it up, sounds pretty decent.. even if 8/10 is pretty low by Nintendo's recent standards!
Cons -

HANDHOLDING [Rage]
9.0 imo
This game is awesome! I can't stop playing it! I didn't find the begining slow or boring neither... Own a 3DS? Then buy this already!

Harry said: Wtf.. why have I never even heard of this game?
Might have to pick it up, sounds pretty decent.. even if 8/10 is pretty low by Nintendo's recent standards!


I wouldn't say 8/10 is low by any standards. It's a great game.

Can't just be handing out 9s all over the place :P

Gryllis said:

Harry said: Wtf.. why have I never even heard of this game?
Might have to pick it up, sounds pretty decent.. even if 8/10 is pretty low by Nintendo's recent standards!


I wouldn't say 8/10 is low by any standards. It's a great game.
Can't just be handing out 9s all over the place


That's true, but it's been a while since I saw a first-party Nintendo title with an 8. :P
Thinking i might have to pick this one up

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