Mario & Luigi Dream Team, Nintendo 3DS, 2013, Nintendo.
Full disclore here,
I’ll admit I’ve haven’t played the first Mario & Luigi instalments on the GBA and Nintendo DS. Dream Team for the 3DS seemed to be a good place for me to start.
I had heard wonderful things about the series, it’s humour and how it’s in some ways the successor of the cult classic Super Mario RPG Legend of the 7 stars for SNES. I was pleased to discover that it really is an rpg based game and that it also keeps element of Mario games and the Mushroom Kingdom intact.
The 3DS doesn’t have a plethora of RPGs, Mario & Luigi Dream Tram is one of the few. The attacks are turn-based and the animation while not incredible suits the RPG mold and gives it a cool obscure game feel. The battles are a lot of fun and probably the best part of the game. It’s not terribly unique as an RPG in case you’re wondering, but it’s simultaneously unique to the Mario library and carries the torch for Super Mario RPG. In Dream Team you deal with XP points and level ups, buying clothes that provide stronger levels or armour, and learning new attacks.
Dream Team doesn’t have your traditional levels typically found in a Mario game. Instead, it’s a free-roaming environment where you often get drawn into the dream world which is where the levels occur. You engage in battles with magical and otherworld beings as well, but in the dream world the goal is to free trapped innocent creatures.
You get to dream world whenever you encounter a pillow. Every time you do, Luigi goes to sleep and becomes “Dream Luigi” where he had superpowers that help Mario, well mostly just his moustache. This works to comical effects and is good for a few chuckles. Sometimes the dream are demanding and demand some critical thinking and problem solving (as is the case throughout most of the gams), sometimes it’s very short and relatively easy.
One of the problems I have is there is SO MUCH TEXT! It’s hard to follow everything and quite frankly some of it is unnecessary and it gets tiring and boring to be honest. You can’t skip text either, although you can accelerate it. Tutorials are abundant as well, you can’t escape them. The game also can’t remind you enough that you control Mario and Luigi jointly and are responsible to control them both.These things to me, level down the game. It feels aimed more at children for those reasons than longtime fans.
The main issue with Mario & Luigi Dream Team is there is strong conpetition from other Mario titles for the 3DS. This one doesn’t stand out and it doesn’t compete all that well. If you want something similar with some RPG elements that offers a better experience, try Paper Mario Sticker Star or another RPG title. I feel if the game had less text/tutorials and offered slightly more Dream Team could’ve gone from being a good title that’s slightly annoying to a great one. It it was faster and had a better flow my rating would’ve been that much higher.
As it stands, I think it’s a fun game, I love the RPG elements. Obviously the concept worked well enough to warrant three sequels. It’s charming, it’s funny, it has adventure and it offers something different for a Mario game which is wonderful. Nintendo just needs to get to the drawing board and do better with the next Mario & Luigi game. 3/5 stars.