Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Game Review: Mario & Luigi : Bowser's Inside Story

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story (DS)
Finished: March 20, 2012

Gameplay: Like the other DS Mario & Luigi RPG, the gameplay here is less about raw stats and dice rolls and more about timed attacks and minigames. I personally would have preferred a little more min-maxing and dice rolling (a matter of taste, I know). I'm all for moving a game along and not descending into repetitive grinding, but part of the fun of levelling up a character in an RPG is watching him/her become more powerful over time. Tying attack success to my manual dexterity (not to mention flat-out replacing many battles with mini-games) makes me wonder what I was allocating all those points for each level-up. Another annoyance? This game tries its damnedest to use everything at its disposal on the DS system. For example, you're forced to blow into the DS mic to complete more than one compulsory piece of the game. How clever, you think, except that I felt like a tool playing this around other adults. I ended up retreating to my bedroom to complete these segments after the first time someone walked in on me blowing on (which I'm sure looked more like making out with) my DS in the living room. Is this a sign that I've outgrown the platform? 

Story: Quirky. The main villain talks like the "all your base are belong to us" guy. Plot drives the game and the unlock of new abilities and areas; you switch between characters/viewpoints often, and there are a lot of conversations. I found it excessive: for the first few hours of the game, it felt like I seldom fought more than 4-5 creatures in a row before being pulled away to play a minigame or listen to a conversation or switch to a different character.  

Difficulty: Lightweight (as can probably be expected for a game geared to a younger audience). You pick up items that let you retry battles if you lose, and save points are never far away. The timed attacks still require some skill, though. 

Overall rating: 3 / 5


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