It comes as no surprise that the Nintendo 3DS is continuing to do well, the reason for this is very simple; it has a ton of great games. Each new title on the 3DS brings something else to the table, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is no different. Now that it has been out for a while, (released in August of 2013) those with less spending money have an opportunity to pick it up. Will Mario & Luigi: Dream Team keep you up at night or will it have you seeing stars?
One day Mario and the gang are offered a free vacation to Pi’illo Island. As fate would have it, an ancient evil Antasma is after something on the island known as the Dream Stone. On the island the gang encounters Prince Dreambert, leader of the Pi’illo race that is petrified on the island. Using Luigi’s exceptional ability to fall asleep almost anywhere, the team attempts to free the Pi’illo folk from the dream world while simultaneously saving Peach from the evil clutches of the Bowser.
There exists two different forms of combat (not including giant boss fights). The first of which takes place in the real world and is as expected. Mario and Luigi make up the entire party, they both have their own stats, equipment, and special attacks. When battling in the real world, you can make use of their Bro attacks, which require you to correctly time button presses to successfully finish the attack (all battles have some sort of timed button pressing).
The other form of combat takes place in the dream world and only features Mario in the party. However, that doesn’t mean that Luigi is vacant, actually he is in a dreamy state and as such sticks with Mario to power him up. When Mario’s attacks land successfully in the dream world, a large amount of dream Luigis attack as well. For example, if Mario lands both hits of his jump attack, a ton of Luigis will fall from the sky and damage nearby enemies. Since both Mario and Luigi are required for Bro attacks, they can not be used in the dream world, instead the player can access Luiginary Attacks. These attacks involve Mario manipulating a ton of Luigis to attack the enemy. Both Luiginary and Bro Attacks are learned by obtaining ten Attack Pieces in a specific area. These moves can be missed, yet each piece obtained feels slightly rewarding.
Every once in a while you will encounter Giant Battles. These look really good, but depend heavily on precision timing and tilt mechanics. At times it can feel frustrating because you need quick control and if you are slightly off (which happens due to the low amount of these battles) you might not live to regret it.
The lighthearted tone of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is very much tied to the humor of the game. Luigi is, as expected, the butt of many jokes, but aside from that the game does a great job of establishing comedy in other aspects. The stat screen has luck replaced with Stache, many support characters have their own jokes, and even battles add some action based humor. If the combat isn’t fast paced enough to keep your attention the humor will likely be enough to keep you hammering foes into the ground.
Music lights the environment and sets the stage but the sound effects really steal the show. Combat is dependant upon hitting a button at the correct time, proper sound is critical to this mechanic. Luckily, the sound is on point. After battling a certain type of enemy a few times it becomes apparent what needs to be done to avoid or deal damage, the whole battle system flows very well. Certain items even allow you to practice on enemies without taking damage.
Overall, this game mostly consists of going into the dream world and having Luigi do something related to the mechanics on the bottom screen, battling in turn-based fashion, and dialogue which is more entertaining than not. If you are looking for a delightful journey (roughly 40 hours) of timing based battles, colorful landscapes, and tons of Luigi, please play this. Everything this game attempts it succeeds at, the problem comes from overuse of dream world mechanics, arguably overwhelming boss fights, and giant boss battles (which are too picky to be enjoyable even though they look great). Mario & Luigi: Dream Team 8.5/10