My best friend and I have very different tastes in video games, but when it comes to the Mario and Luigi series, we have an unhealthy addiction to the zaniness, engaging gameplay, catchy music, and colorful cast of characters. You could imagine how excited we were to get our hands on the latest entry first to be on the 3DS. Taking place after the events of Bowser’s Inside Story, the Mario brothers, Princess Peach and her subjects are invited to take a vacation to a tropical getaway called Pi’illo Island. But there isn’t any relaxing to be had yet. Upon arrival, the Bros. quickly find themselves on an adventure to solve the mystery of it’s past inhabitants.
Mario and Luigi Dream team is a visually pleasing game. It’s a game that I highly recommend to play with the 3D slider all the way up. The overworld is completely 3D, a first for the series, and every time I would enter one of the visually varied new areas I would stop and admire the bright and stylized environments. In contrast, there are times in the game where Mario must enter his drowsy brother’s dreams. These dream sequences are played in a 2D field with platforming and light puzzle solving, just like adventuring through Bowser’s body in the last game. Unlike Bowser’s Inside Story, these sections won’t get stale due to the balanced pacing. Neither the overworld nor the dream world segments felt like one would take more time than the other. It also helps that because there are many different looking locations in game, the dream world would also reflect the different styles of the locations.
Adding to the atmosphere, series composer Yoko Shimomura has created many enjoyable tunes that fit with the atmosphere of every location and situation. The themes range from light and playful, to calm and relaxing, to eerie and mysterious, and energetic and serious. There wasn’t a song in the game that I didn’t find enjoyable.
Throughout the lengthy adventure, Mario and Luigi will face many enemies. Battles are turn-based and do an excellent job at keeping the player on their toes. The brothers can stomp and hammer enemies with the A button for controlling Mario and B for Luigi. They can also use special "bros. attacks" which all require the player to input commands or use the gyroscope in a timely manner for massive damage. It’s possible to play the game without needing to heal much or at all because all enemy attacks are avoidable! Dodging enemies’ attacks takes skill, and like Bros. Attacks, they require Mario and Luigi to jump or hammer bad guys at the right moment. With all this, the battles are fast paced, very engaging and never boring. Also reintroduced from Bowser's Inside Story, are giant battles. Occasionally Luigi will fight giant bosses in his dreams and be giant himself. In these battles, the player must hold the 3DS sideways and execute commands with the touch screen. And because of the scale of the battles, they are very cinematic and a thrill to be a part of.
After recently completing the story, Mario and Luigi Dream Team left me satisfied with having experienced such a truly fun and charming game. The accessible entry felt like the true definitive version of the series bringing new twists and refining the old leaving me confident that the Mario and Luigi series will only get better with the next one!