Review by MLenne
Having played the previous Mario & Luigi titles, I expected nothing less from Dream Team. And I'm glad I didn't expect nothing less, because this game delivers.
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, the game does manage to twist it in a few ways that I certainly didn't see coming, and it keeps you on your toes.
In short, Dream Team takes everything Bowser's 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, such as drilling into the ground to get hidden items, high jumping to reach high ledges, and whirling around in a tornado to cross large gaps. 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, or you can gather a lot of Luigis in a new mechanic called the Luiginary ability to form a ball, which Mario can ride on top of. You gain more Bros. Moves and Luiginary abilities throughout the game, which are explained via tutorial. At a certain point you can also use Bros. Moves and Luiginary abilities in the battle, some of which use the 3DS gyroscope. I found this gimmick really fun to use, and it never got boring, especially when using multiple ones in new areas.
Battle System & Mechanics
Fantastic. Again it borrows from Bowser's 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 multiple Luigis, called Luiginoids. You also get a HP and Power 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 in the main menu. Giant Battles make a return, and while I believe them to be a bit more challenging this time around, it's still good fun.
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 (for example Wakeport and its Dream world counterpart), again borrowed from Bowser's 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.
A lot, if you want everything. For me, what was most important was getting to the Battle Ring to fight the regular bosses only. A normal 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 (and this includes Giant Battles), 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, where the Farmer's Boots accessory (Wellington Boots in other versions) can essentially break the game. There's also a new challenge called the Expert Challenges, which is essentially a test to see if you can dodge every single enemy's attack and consistently get Excellents. You get rewarded with several rare items if you complete each challenge; the rarity of the item corresponds to the difficulty of the challenge. While I preferred Superstar Saga's minigames, the minigames here are simply fantastic. Plus, like its predecessor, there's a secret boss waiting at the end, which some players will find surprising.
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. My only gripes with the game are the lengthy tutorials and the gyroscope mechanics, which may fail on occasion and force you to restart a battle. The writing is hilarious as usual, the gameplay is fantastic, and, as I said before, it's simply a must-have.
SO GO GET IT. ^_^
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/28/13, Updated 02/02/15
Game Release: Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (US, 08/11/13)
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