Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story - Staff Review  

Prepare For Chortles
by Billy "madhtr" Young

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
20-40 Hours
+ The chortles
+ Hilarious dialogue
+ Great battle system
+ Top notch soundtrack
- The game ended
Click here for scoring definitions 

   When I first picked up Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, I was expecting humor and a decent game. The game has copious amounts of the former, but how good was the game overall? The game isn't bad, in fact it was one of the best I have played this year. The game keeps you on your toes at all times, whether in battle or in the field.

   When you first look at Bowser's Inside Story, you will notice that the game has lots of bright colors and a lot of cheerful scenery going on. As the game moves on, the scenery changes based on what is going on around the area and certain events even change the landscape considerably. The actions of Bowser, Mario & Luigi, and everyone else in the Mushroom Kingdom are all animated very well and movements are very detailed. Bowser is a large guy, so his movements are fairly slow and jerky, just the way he's expected to move. Mario & Luigi are quick, so they will be jumping all over while trying to save the world from the blorbs, a horrible affliction that has caused many toads to grow to the point of being unable to walk.

   Bowser is at it again, trying to capture Peach, and conquer her kingdom. Fawful is back again, and this evil, chortle-filled villain is really to stop the heroes at every turn. To sum things up nicely, Bowser has swallowed Mario, Luigi, Peach, and a bunch of other characters, and it is up to all of them to find a way out and save the world. This may prove to be a large feat, considering they have to rely on Bowser, who has no love for Mario and Luigi and is always looking out for himself.

Poor trees When flaming goombas attack

   The soundtrack for this game was handled by Yoko Shimomura and the tracks are all pretty well done. At points, I even found myself humming along with tunes, some of which are remixes of past songs, though many are brand new. The battle music was epic at times and overall was very fitting of each individual battle. Also, depending on if the player is controlling either Bowser or Mario & Luigi, the music changes fittingly. While it was good to hear some familiar tracks in the game, the new compositions definitely were the best part. In regards to sound effects in the game, from hammer pounding to fist punching, there were many various effects and all were very well done and added to the feel of the game.

   The battle system in Mario & Luigi pitted Bowser against many different types of enemies in the world, while Mario & Luigi traversed the wonderful world of his insides at the same time. Some battles even required Bowser to suck in enemies or pieces of enemies, with Mario & Luigi taking these opportunities to gain some experience themselves. The battles play out as turn-based with some context sensitive commands required to block some damage or to damage the enemy. Some commands were only available to either Bowser or Mario & Luigi, such as Bowser's fire breath and shell commands, and Mario & Luigi's hammer and jump attacks. There are multiple types of battles on top of the normal turn-based battles, such as what happens when Bowser faces near death situations. These battles require the player to turn their DS systems to the side, and make use of their stylus and the system's mic.

   The game is not difficult in a normal sense of the term, but players can find themselves being challenged in battle due to many of the timing aspects that will be found throughout the game. Most enemies in the game follow a strategy that tips the player off to who will be attacked, but players need to be quick to respond. Taking away from the difficulty is the fact that many save points can be found in the game, most dungeons have a shop cube that heals, and players can find retry clocks, which can be used to start a battle over with full HP and SP. If the player doesn't take the game seriously, though, they will find themselves without a retry clock when it's needed the most and a boss wipes out the party, forcing them back to their last save.

So fat All praise baby, super fat Luigi

   The world of Bowser's Inside Story is pretty compact, and players will find it even easier to travel once they are able to find warp points throughout the world in each area. This comes in handy, since one of the best special attacks in the game requires the player to visit each area and find certain creatures named blitties. These little guys have to be sucked out of enemies throughout the world and then have to be returned to a unique NPC that not only enjoys selling Bowser things, but likes to point out how hefty the large koopa is.

   One of the biggest pluses that players will notice in the game is that the writing is top-notch and the story is hilarious at times. The fact that half the game is played inside of Bowser, and that his biggest rivals are the ones inside him, is ironic in itself. Then there are the little things like jumping in warp pipes that take Mario & Luigi in and out of Bowser, as well as stimulating areas of Bowser to make him stronger, faster, and more limber. And of course, when Bowser is near death, Mario & Luigi go find a way to ensure the koopa king remains on the living side of things.

   When not in battle, players will find themselves traversing a large range of environments from dark caves to sandy beaches, and shiny castles to dank magma-filled ones. There are many skills learned by Mario & Luigi and Bowser that help them reach items and areas normally unattainable. At one point later in the game, the Bros. will learn a skill that allows them to even find stat-boosting beans in the ground.

   The menus in Mario & Luigi make it easy for players to find what they're looking for with items, gear, maps, and character information at their fingertips. As the characters level up from battle, they gain ranks that allow them to wear multiple gear items, and allow them to shop in better shops at the toad mall. Bowser meets someone early in his travels that he must save and becomes his personal shop shortly after. The maps in the game are quite helpful in giving players a quick method to clearly see areas that otherwise would have been very easy to miss.

   When I first started playing the game, I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. The game was humorous and fun to play through, and the story kept me pushing forward. Bowser wants to kidnap Peach, still hates Mario & Luigi; Fawful is forcing everyone to do his will and makes sure that there is always interesting dialogue. In the end, the game was great, and though there isn't much replayability, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story makes you want to play it over from the beginning again, just for the laughs alone.

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