Wait, Bowser's Inside Story? Yes, that's right, a Mario game that actually features Bowser as the main character. You will still play as Mario and Luigi during parts, but instead of stealing Princess Toadstool, Bowser will be stealing the show. It seems like a bold move for Alpha Dream to create a game based around everyone's favourite enemy being the hero, but they do it well and create one of, if not the best RPG on the Nintendo DS.
The Mario & Luigi games, like any good RPG, are known for their fabulous story lines and Bowser's Inside Story does not disappoint. In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, the Mushroom Kingdom is dealing with an outbreak of a disease called the 'Blorbs'. This disease causes the residents of the Mushroom Kingdom to blow up like balloons. Bowser eats a tainted mushroom while in the Mushroom Kingdom that causes him to inhale Mario, Luigi, Peach, and a little creature name Chippy. It's now everyone's goal to save Princess Peach and the Mushroom Kingdom. During this adventure you'll be put in some desperate situations and lots of hilarious situations while never getting bored.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story introduces only a few new characters to the series, but it follows the old saying of 'if it ain't broken, don't fix it'. You have your regular series characters Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Bowser.
The main enemy of the game is Fawful, who diehard Mario & Luigi fans will remember as the main enemy's assistant in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. Fawful also had a very small part in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time as a shop owner who was planning a come back.
As for completely new characters, you have Chippy, Midbus, and Broque Monsieur. Chippy is the other character who gets swallowed by Bowser and acts as your guide throughout the game and your gateway for talking to Bowser. Chippy is a great character who you will learn to love. As for Midbus, he is who Fawful usually sends out to fight against Bowser. Other than that, there is really no depth to this character. Finally, there is Broque Monsieur. He is a french shop keeper made entirely of '?' bricks. His broken English is hilarious and adds a lot to his character. While he can sometimes be annoying, you'll have too many entertaining moments with him to notice.
The gameplay in Bowser's Inside Story is just how series fans remember it. For battles, it's a turn based RPG battle system, but with a twist. Each attack is timed and requires you to hit buttons perfectly, or swipe the
touch screen to pull off the attack. This is a really fun variation of the normal JRPG battle system that has become a staple for games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Even though this particular battle system is the same as before, it still stays very fresh.
There are some special battles in the game where you have to turn your DS vertically in order to fight. These consist of very basic 'Punch' or 'Shoot fire' attacks. Once again, they are a lot of fun, but they certainly don't offer the same amount of depth that the other battles do.
When you are on the world map, it's also the same as previous Mario & Luigi games. You can walk around a set area, and there are enemies throughout. This is perfect because it stops the prospect of random battles. You can interact with which ever enemy you want to fight, and a battle plays out.
The game is also filled with lots of puzzles. Most of them are quiet easy, but some will have you sitting for a few minutes pondering what to do. All of the puzzles can be finished without too much trouble which is good for those who just want to progress the story. There are also many minigames that take advantage of the different aspects of the DS. These are really fun and never take too long, so they never break up the gameplay.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story uses the exact same graphics as it's predecessor. They are cartoony and look very nice and smooth. However,
during the battles in which players must turn their DS' vertically, the picture is zoomed in so it looks very pixelated. It's not a big deal, but it can be a bit of an eye sore after seeing the other pretty visuals.
The sound in Bowser's Inside Story is superb. You will enjoy every little sound you hear while playing. The soundtrack for the game is also great. It's full of upbeat songs that really can really effect your mood while playing. When fighting a boss, the music becomes much darker and somber which changes your mood again and also adds a sense of desperation. The muffled, fake-Italian that Mario & Luigi speak is a high-point and will definitely have players laughing.
Like most other JRPGs, Bowser's Inside Story doesn't have much replay value. The game should last around 25 hours if you aim to complete everything. It took me 18 hours and 44 minutes, but I mostly rushed
through. After you beat the game, there is nothing to do other than replay it. Although that isn't necessarily a bad thing as this game is worth a second play-through.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story is a game that all DS RPG fans should own. It's a fresh, fun-filled experience that all DS owners will find at least one rewarding quality for. If you haven't already played it, I highly recommend you do. You will not regret it.
- Great, over-the-top story
- Fun and hilarious characters
- Fresh, exciting gameplay
- Superb sound
- Best yet of the Mario & Luigi RPG series
- Vertical battles look pixelated
- Not much replay value