Mario and Luigi fight in the Dream World!
Mario and Luigi Dream Team is a videogame for the Nintendo 3DS focusing on the adventures of the Mario Brothers. It's the fourth game in the Mario and Luigi series of RPGs, coming after Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga (for the Game Boy Advance), Mario and Luigi Back in Time and Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story (these last two for the Nintendo DS)
The story focuses on the duo's trip to Pi'illo Island, where they have been invited to a leisure trip by Dr Snoozemore. Once there, they discover a pillow-like creature called Prince Dreambert of the Pi'illo. They learn that the fabled Pi'illo species is real and they are trapped in the dream world, where they lie in a dormant state as a result of the war with superbaddie Antasma.
Now, Antasma is back and is plotting to take over the real and dream worlds using a powerful MacGuffin (the Dream Stone) and it's up to the mustachioed duo to save the day!
- Title: Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Release dates:
- EU: July 12, 2013
- AU: July 13, 2013
- JP: July 18, 2013
- NA: August 11, 2013
- Composer: Yoko Shimomura
What's this game like?
Following the tradition of previous M&L games, the player controls Mario and Luigi at the same time using different buttons (A controls Mario, B controls Luigi) both in the Overworld and during Battle. In this particular setting, Luigi is able to function as a portal between the Real World and the Dream World (due to the doubtful virtue of being a heavy sleeper), both with unique characteristics.
Under appropriate circumstances, Mario can enter the Dream World where he can pair up with the dream version of Luigi (Dreamy Luigi) who has special powers not available in the real world, including but not limited to, altering the flow of time, the weather and gravity.
There are two big premises to the M&L game battles: 1) When it's your turn, attack with good timing to dish as much damage as possible; and 2) when it's the enemies' turn to attack, look closely for clues and study their attack patterns so that you may dodge or counterattack. A really good player can pretty much go the entire game without taking a single point of damage, although that requires not only a lot of skill, but a lot of luck (as some attack patterns aren't obvious and some are meant to confuse the player).
There are three main battle sequences in this game
- Overworld: This setting is almost identical to previous installments of the game. The Bros. are equipped with a pair of boots and a hammer that can be used to dish out damage to baddies. There are Bros. Attacks, that use both brothers in a combined attack for greater lulz and damage. For reference, picture Mario and Luigi setting up an Acme-like giant slingshot and then going full Wile E. Coyote on the enemies' collective arse.
- Dream World: In the Dream World, Mario is "alone" by virtue of Luigi being the dreamer-portal. However, the dream version of Luigi joins Mario in battle, along with several Dreamy powers. Enemies in the DW usually come in groups of ten or more, which seems like a great disadvantage to our hero, except for the fact that (Dreamy) Luigi is able to momentarily clone himself multiple times. This group of clones (Luiginoids) is able to organize into multiple structures to help Mario overcome any foes. For reference, picture a group of Luiginoids riding piggyback in a human tower of sorts and then jumping en masse over a group of goombas.
- Giant Luigi: Some formidable foes are too much for Mario to take on, and in these rare circumstances the Luiginoids assemble Power Rangers-style to form a Giant Dreamy Luigi, who engages in special battles with foes his size.
Other game mechanics
- Badges: Each brother can equip one badge and "charge" it every time they do damage with normal attacks and their special ability can be released once a "Badge meter" is full (or saved for later use). What are these special abilities? It depends on what pair of badges is equipped: some pairs will restore HP, some will inflict damage or status effects and so and so. There are 12 badges in total, six for every brother, making a grand total of 36 different pairs.
- Rank: At fixed levels, you may choose a passive bonus for every brother, five in total for each. These bonuses cannot be changed later and it's not possible to have all bonuses in a single game (as there are at least six bonuses available and only five bonus slots). These bonuses include extra HP gained per level up, extra badge uses, extra damage for normal attacks, etc.
- Expert rank: As the player advances through the game, several Challenges are unlocked, like "Finish a battle in location X without taking damage" and "Dodge/counterattack 10 attacks in a row". Every challenge has an Expert score attached to it and once it's completed, the score is added to the Expert Rank. Every hundred points of Expert Rank or so gives the player items and some weapons base their damage on this same score.
What's your opinion, Andy?
I've been a sucker for Mario RPGs since Super Mario RPG came out for the SNES. They give a good contrast to more serious storylines such as classic Final Fantasy games, Valkyrie Profile and more recent RPG-crossover games like the Mass Effect series. the M&L games always have silly cartoonlike humor, simple stories and colorful characters, so they're perfect to pick up and go without getting los in countless sidequests. This simplicity might be a downside for some, which makes sense once you realize how far we've come in storytelling games since the 80s.
Another particular thing I like about M&L:DT is the fact that success is heavily based in player skill rather than having a Infinity+1 sword or level grinding. As I said before, you could go all the game with your basic equipment and come out victorious, if you're skilled enough. This gives me a greater psychological reward than a game relying entirely on a Random Number God.
The skill component of this game also means that you always have to be on the lookout for what your enemies are doing. With a few exceptions, no two attack patterns are the same and some enemies will crush you easily if you don't pay attention and learn how to avoid the attacks.
There are challenges beyond the main storyline, a few sidequests and the reward of Hard Mode for those who finish the game, which gives it some degree of replayability. This is a good thing to me, but your mileage may vary. If you're looking for an RPG without having to spend lots of brainpower deciding over your party minutiae, this is the perfect game for you.