You can always tell a developer’s talent by the quality of the inevitable RPG they put out, and AlphaDream once again proves their worth in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros..
When Princess Peach invites you to her castle for cake, don’t go. Never go. It’s clearly a trap. In fact, I think this chick is in cahoots with all kinds of villainy, probably to put Mario through some kind of terror following a poor faucet installation in one of her many state rooms.
This time around though, Peach is invited to visit Pi’illo Island in a rare display of civic duty where they meet up with series returning Broque Monsieur, the scarily stereotypical French guy and Starlow who we first met in Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story.
The team are soon introduced to Antasma, a bat king who has teamed up with Bowser to seek the powerful Dream Stone: a magical device that grants its user endless wishes. Mario and Luigi set out to stop the duo, using the power of Luigi’s dreams.
Part of the immense charm and indeed the originality of this and other games in the Mario & Luigi series is the interactive turn-based battle system which has thankfully made its return. The system is not unlike that found in Paper Mario: Sticker Star however you are charged with using both Mario and Luigi in tandem with a button assigned to each character. At first, it’s ridiculously simple however as you play through the game, these battle combinations become harder and require more skill.
Thankfully (or annoyingly, depending on how you look at it), the game holds your hand through much of the action. The start of the game is borderline laborious as an endless waterfall of tutorials and preposition await. Much of the theory can be skipped which should appease veterans.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. is chock-full of content. Levels are extraordinary in their design and Pi’illo Island is massive. The game will take probably in excess of 100 hours to fully wring out every nook and cranny it has to offer. Boss battles can be intense, lasting in excess of 30 minutes at some points.
Pi’illo Island is littered with magical pillows that allow Luigi to snooze and Mario to enter his dreams. These are fantastic, trippy and wildly imaginative levels where all bets are off. Since Luigi is dreaming, he can help out his brother using “Luigination”; a series of powers that allow Luigi to do whatever he wants, such as transform into a tree to throw Mario to new sections.
These are the hallmark of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. and they set the game apart from others in the series so it’s a shame to see these relegated to only a handful of areas, rather than use this as the main mechanic in the game.
One major gripe I personally have concerns the ending. Not from a technical or even creative aspect, but from an enjoyable angle. While it manages to do the job intended, the ending is rather predictable and almost over-worked. If you’ve ever finished a Mario game before, you know what you’re in for. It’s a mighty shame, too, since the game puts you through so many hours of end-goal searching only to end in a way you’ll see coming.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. is an action packed, hilarious RPG with everyones’ favourite video game duo. The game will be fondly remembered for its dream segments and represents serious bang for your buck.