Review by MLenne

"A must-have."

Having played the previous M&L titles, I expected nothing less from Dream Team. And I'm glad I didn't expect nothing less, because this game delivers.

PLOT
The basic plot is common to many Mario games; Dream Team is no different. The Pi'illo folk have been imprisoned and it's up to Mario and Luigi to rescue them. Along the way they meet villains, old and new, as well as hearing that Princess Peach has been kidnapped YET again. However simple the plot is, however, the game does twist it in a few ways that I certainly didn't see coming, and keeps you on your toes.

GAMEPLAY
In short, Dream Team takes everything Inside Story did right and multiplies it by a hundred. In the real world, you control Mario and Luigi, solve puzzles together, and navigate through terrain using various Bros. Moves. The dream world is what's really awesome. You still control Mario, but instead of Luigi you control his dreamy counterpart, who can "possess" an object such as a tree or a propeller. To an extent, you also control Starlow; she can, for example, pull the real Luigi's mustache to launch Mario higher within the dream. I found this gimmick really fun to use and it never got boring. At a certain point you can also use Luiginary abilities in the field, such as a whirlwind or a rolling ball to solve more puzzles.

BATTLE SYSTEM
Fantastic. Again it borrows from Inside Story, but it's tons of fun battling, especially in the dream world. The real world has your basic jump and hammer, and instead of the bros sharing moves, each gets five of his own (gained through Attack Pieces). The Bros. Attacks are fairly simple to use, with the exception of some of the gyro-controlled ones; you have to be pretty precise or else you could miss entirely. The dream world still has the jump and hammer, but instead of attacking once, you essentially attack multiple times in a turn with the help of the Luiginoids. (You also get a stat boost at the start of each battle.) The special attacks are ridiculously fun to use as well. If you're ever feeling unsure, you can always practice special attacks at any time. Giant Battles make a return, and while I believe them to be a bit more challenging this time around, it's still good fun.

SOUNDTRACK
Yoko Shimomura has done it again. The composer of the previous M&L titles and Kingdom Hearts series nails it with Dream Team. The battle themes and boss themes are awesome, the music for each location is perfect, and what's even cooler is the dream world music is essentially a remix of the respective real world music (i.e. Wakeport and Dreamy Wakeport), again borrowed from Inside Story. Some of the standouts for me are Dreamy Pi'illo Castle, Mushrise Park, the Boss Theme, Dream's Deep, and both versions of Somnom Woods. Outstanding.

REPLAY VALUE
A lot, if you want everything. For me, what was most important was getting to the Battle Ring (regular bosses only). A regular playthough, on average, will take about 40 hours. Getting everything else may take you at least another 10-20, depending on how thorough you want to be. Besides the Battle Ring (where you challenge stronger bosses you've already faced - giant bosses included), there's the Mad Skillathon and Broque Madame's challenge, where you try to achieve the highest score with your special attacks. There's bean collecting as well, and bean farming (Farmer's Boots can essentially break the game but make the Boss Medley much easier), as well as completing all Expert Challenges (which is essentially a test to see if you can dodge every single enemy's attack and consistently get Excellents). I preferred Superstar Saga's minigames, but the Battle Ring here is simply fantastic. (Plus there's a secret boss waiting at the end!)

OVERVIEW
This game is fantastic. You will not be disappointed. For veteran M&L players, there are a TON of cameos (one of which you get to fight!) and references to past Mario titles, and for newcomers, it's like a breath of fresh air. The writing is hilarious as usual, the gameplay is fantastic, everything about this game is awesome.

SO GO GET IT. ^_^


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/28/13

Game Release: Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (US, 08/11/13)


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