Review by FiftyTen

"A Charming and Delightful Little Masterpiece"

Games like these are perfect examples of why I love playing Nintendo games- and why I love playing them on the DS. Bowser's Inside Story manages to succeed on so many levels that it serves a reminder as to why we're never going to see an end to Mario games, or an end to Nintendo being one of the very best game developers out there.

Story

The story this time, if you couldn't already guess, involves Bowser the whole way through.. literally. Without spoiling too much: the Mario Bros (and some of the Mushroom Kingdom) find themselves actually inside Bowser's body- thanks to an evil scheme cooked up by Fawful, an evil bean creature who has kidnapped Peach and is trying to take over the Mushroom Kingdom to awaken a dark power.

By traveling to different places in Bowser's body, the Bros can trigger different abilities and strengths to aid Bowser as the story progresses. The idea is completely absurd, but it doesn't really seem to matter in a Mario game; especially when the writing is as clever and witty as this. Yes, everyone seems to agree that this is a funny game from beginning to end. It is not just the dialogue; it is also the way the characters have so much expression during the dialogue scenes that makes them all the more charming and hilarious. Every character will have you laughing at some point both by what they say and do.

Sound

The sounds and music in this game is as good as you could want it. Mario and Luigi speak Italian gibberish, Bowser sounds menacing, and Fawful's chortle is as delightful as ever.

Graphics

Bowser's Inside Story is colorful and beautiful 2D game.

Gameplay

Like the previous two Mario and Luigi games, this is another RPG/Platformer/Action game- which is an excellent combination to start with. This time it has been perfected (or at least is close), and it is thanks largely from the strength of Bowser being a playable character. Between the action with Bowser in the Mushroom Kingdom, the platforming and mini-games with the Bros inside of him, and the satisfying turn-based battles they both endure, the gameplay has a lot of variation that keeps everything moving at the speed of pure fun. As the game progresses, both Bowser and the Bros gain abilities that enable them to explore new areas or execute new powerful moves for use in battles.

Enemies seen in the environment can be preemtively attacked (or they can attack you) which opens the game into a turn-based battle. The player must use timed button presses to land attacks with accuracy, defend or counter attacks from enemies, and execute special attacks. The Bros and Bowser both have a lethal array of attacks at their disposal. The Bros can jump, hammer, or perform one of many special bro attacks. Bowser can breathe fire, throw a wicked punch, and even suck certain enemies into his body to have the Bros finish them off. Boswer also has his own special attacks in which he calls upon a troop of minions to barrage his opponents. These minion attacks are executed on the touch screen and are quite fun to perform (as are the bro attacks).

Controls
The controls are quite simply, perfect. I can't remember a single moment where I was frustrated due to some annoying control decision. Mario and his actions are controlled with A, Luigi with B. X and Y are reserved for Bowser's actions. Out-of-battle actions are changed with R, and L resets them to the default actions which are used the most. The Bros mini games, some of which are controlled with the stylus, are also quite simple to control and should pose no issue to anyone.

Lasting Appeal
This game should last the average gamer 20-22 hours depending on how much extra time is spent collecting missed treasures and unexplored areas. The pacing of the game is so spot-on that boredom never becomes an issue for any of that time, and this is one Mario adventure I'll definitely be coming back to one day.

Throughout Bowser's Inside Story, the gameplay stays varied, the story stays fresh and funny, and you can't help falling in love with the Mushroom Kingdom, and another Nintendo game, all over again.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/28/09

Game Release: Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story (US, 09/14/09)


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