Dream A Big Dream With Me
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is not only a part of The Year of Luigi celebration for his thirty years as a character, but it also marks the tenth anniversary of the Mario & Luigi sub-series. Unlike with the other RPG branch of the series in the Paper Mario games has in recent entries, Dream Team rarely strays from its roots, so those that were worried that this new Mario & Luigi game would take a similar drastic departure like Sticker Star did can put those fears to rest. No, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is both a terrific entry in the series but also one of the best RPGs the Nintendo 3DS has to offer.
The story throws the good guys into a soon to be ill-fated vacation destination at Pi'illo Island, a land that is said to have a special power on the island that encourages people to sleep. It also used to be the home of the ancient Pi'illo Kingdom, but it seems like they were all wiped out due to some unrevealed circumstances. Well, it doesn't take long for the new face of evil to show himself and make his presence felt as well as finding out that rumors of the Pi'illo Kingdom's denizens have been greatly exaggerated. Yes, Mario and Luigi are back to go through both the waking and dream worlds to get through their newest adventure. It's because of the two different worlds to explore that the game is very much like the previous entry in the sub-series, Bowser's Inside Story, but make no mistake. Dream Team dwarfs the amount of content that was in BIS and by a good margin to boot!
|Pi'illo Island is the setting of Dream Team.|
|With two plumbers on the job,|
your toilets will never flood!
Bros. Attacks return from past games. These super powerful assaults on enemies have both plumbers teaming up to attack foes. One such attack has Mario and Luigi kicking a shell back and forth between one another. Each successive shot becomes stronger and stronger until the final blast into the baddie. Another Bros. Attack grants both plumbers fire flowers. As the fireballs from each plumber reaches their largest, the player must shoot them at the enemy before they extinguish. Successfully shooting off all fireballs at the largest unleashes the most pain to their targets.
Great balls of fire!
|Interact with Luigi in the real world|
to help Mario in the dream world.
|Look out below!|
|Bowl over this curvy line of Luigis|
to form a powerful ball of green.
|Luigi is large and in charge in these |
larger than life confrontations.
For getting through the real world and dreamy battles, you'll earn experience which will give you the usual level up bonuses. Just like with previous entries in the series you also get to pick which of the six stats (HP, BP, Power, Defense, Speed, Stache or critical hits) you wish to give an additional bonus to. If you keep pumping in bonuses to one stat, your chance of a huge increase goes down greatly. Conversely, if you ignore a category for awhile, don't be surprised to see numbers like a 5 or 6 pop up on the wheel. People that can time these will be reaping the rewards quite well. Moreover, at certain levels, you're allowed to pick a level up bonus. These include having an extra gear slot on your character for equipment, one that I highly recommend in the early going, to stat-up bonuses, lowering the amount of battle points needed to use special moves, and so on.
There are also in-game battle rewards for the first time in the series. For instance, in each new area you go to, you will be asked to perform ten excellent hits in a row or go through a fight without taking damage from an enemy that must attack you at least once. Some areas and enemies are definitely easier than others, but the rewards are well worth it as every challenge that you can complete will earn you points, some higher than others, and eventually offer you rewards when you gain enough total points.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is a mighty fine looker and has an overall stellar presentation. The new models for Mario and Luigi, as well as the various other cast members, such as Princess Peach, Bowser, and various enemies look very sharp. Areas are colorful, crisp, and pop out at you when you have the 3D slider turned up. Battles are silky smooth with no frame-rate drops to speak of. On the sound side, Yoko Shimomura has once again delivered a stellar soundtrack that just fits the overall mood of wherever you are. To me, the highlight of the soundtrack are the boss battle beats that just seemed to put a smile on my face.
|Mt. Pajamaja is but one of the|
many locales in Dream Team.
It's a good thing the writing and combat are mostly superb because this game has a lot of content packed in it. Dream Team took me over 45 hours to complete or just about the combined length of the previous three games combined. Sure, I meandered about for a bit in spots, but the areas in this game are pretty huge overall with plenty of combat to go around. Some might say that the combat is packed too heavily into areas or that the tutorials get out of hand, but I really don't see it that way. If anything, my only true gripe with the length came on a quest that sent you back to previous areas to reach new parts in said areas. These parts didn't really last as long for the most part, and it all culminated with that one boss fight I deplored. It's what keeps the game from being the best in the series, but that's a high bar to reach anyway.
In the end, the Mario Bros. have another outstanding RPG to put under their proverbial belts. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is an amazing RPG with multiple battle systems that are fun to play. The game has a lot to offer, and I think most players will enjoy the majority of what Dream Team does bring to the pillow. It's a definite must-have title for a device that feels like it's had must-have titles for the majority of 2013. It might not be the best the machine has to offer or the best in the series, but Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is a game that was an absolute dream to play and yet another gem for the Nintendo 3DS.
[SPC Says: 9.25/10]