A hybrid between SuperStar Saga and Partners in Time that both excites and disappoints.

User Rating: 7 | Mario & Luigi RPG 3!!! DS
Being a great fan of the Mario and Luigi Role-Playing Game Series, it's no surprise that I have played all three of the games in the series: the original "SuperStar Saga", "Partners in Time", and now "Bowser's Inside Story". However, with Partners in Time being a big disappointment, in my opinion, how would B.I.S. match up? I won't beat around the bush when I say that I wasn't completely in love with B.I.S., as opposed to my utter fandom of (the legendary) SuperStar Saga. Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story is a game that inspired "mixed reactions" because, in short, it is a much more satisfying experience than Partners in Time, but lackluster in comparison to SuperStar Saga. Here are the top 5 best and worst things about the game.

Top 5 Best Things about Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story:
1. The whole "Mario Bros. inside Bowser" setting. As you've probably read from the game's descriptions (found here, at Gamespot, and on the game's online shopping page), the story involves Bowser swallowing Mario and Luigi and housing them inside his body. The game fully and seamlessly revolves around this unique setting. Outside, where Bowser is located, the Koopa King can walk everywhere, punch, and shoot flames to battle and get around. However, he cannot jump – which makes sense, since this is exclusive and signature to the Mario Bros. Bowser's attitude is remarkably accurate: it's ruthless, selfish, vain, angry, impatient, etc., and his dialogue reflects that. Inside, in Bowser's Body, Mario and Luigi can easily navigate by foot or across a cartoonish map. The Bros. can hit veins, battle white blood cells, unclog arteries, and aid Bowser in order to escape from his body – of course, in a very cartoonish fashion (so there isn't any gore). Furthermore, in combat, when Bowser, in the outside world, battles a small enemy, Bowser can inhale the enemy and have Mario and Luigi fight the enemy for him! Also, Bowser's actions outside (for example, drinking water) affects the Mario Bros. inside (such as flooding the area) so, overall, it is very unique how the two worlds directly and seamlessly affect and transition from each other. Very original. And it all works well.

2. Beautiful Music. The exciting and catchy combat theme, and the looped area tunes, sound excellent and are very appropriate to the setting from which they are played. The music quality is nearly as good as SuperStar Saga! (Of course, SuperStar is still better. Duh!)

3. Beautiful Combat Aesthetics. The colors of the enemies, main characters, and even the background are very colorful and cartoony. It helps make the game feel like a funny Mario game while still being of high(er) quality graphics.

4. Varying, but manageable, puzzles. The game has a variety of challenges to complete, to advance in the story, such as hitting certain veins with hammers, cooperating with Bowser, searching areas, or just talking with certain characters. None of the puzzles are terribly difficult to complete - even the "timed" challenges. However, you can get stuck at certain areas for only a short while. In my opinion, no strategy guide is needed to beat the game.

5. The return of "special attack points". In the original SuperStar Saga, the Mario Bros. could attack together, as a special attack, using a limited number of "Bros. Points". In Partners in Time, these special attacks and points were completely replaced with "items": objects you collect and use as special attacks. This made me very upset, because, often times in Partners in Time, my bag would be full of redundant "special attack items" that cluttered everything, and I liked it better when the special attacks and items stayed separate. In Bowser's Inside Story, the points return and attack items are no more, which is better. Unfortunately, the special attacks aren't as seamless as SuperStar Saga, which I will cover in the next section.

Top 5 Worst Things about Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story:
1. Cumbersome Special Attacks. As mentioned, even though the special attacks are better in this game, with the return of special attack points, the special attacks themselves are cumbersome to use, in my opinion. For example, many of Bowser's special attacks rely heavily on the touch screen and microphone, which is not very responsive and accurate as button input. Even Mario and Luigi's Special Attacks have problems. Or, I should say, Mario and Luigi's Special ATTACKK. You see, for the majority of the story, Mario and Luigi only have one (1) special attack to use! This is pretty disappointing, since it gets boring after a short while. In addition, Mario and Luigi's special attack, hitting an enemy with a green shell, is surprisingly weak throughout the majority of the game. All of this brings me to my next point.

2. Too much emphasis on Bowser and not enough attention to the Mario Bros. Yes, I understand that the game is called "Bowser's Inside Story". However, let's be real: when we buy a Mario and Luigi RPG, we want it to be more about Mario and Luigi, and not so much about the "other characters" like Bowser. In B.I.S., you are required to play an unfair amount of time with Bowser. For instance, since this is a leveling-up RPG, Mario, Luigi, and Bowser level up as you battle. And, in this game, Bowser is usually double the level of the Mario Bros.! This is because the game constantly requires you to fight using Bowser, and the Bros. are left out of shape. I've personally always found the Mario Bros.'s fighting style much more comical and fun. So using Bowser all the time made the game a bit boring and unfair, in my opinion.

3. Redundant Enemies. The whole world of Bowser's Inside Story is split up into different regions which Bowser walks into. It turns out that the enemies, in each of these regions, are all identical for a good distance. So I'd usually spend about an hour fighting the exact same enemies in a certain region. This is certainly a let-down in comparison to SuperStar Saga's variety of creative enemies. B.I.S.'s redundant enemies feels worse than Pokemon Red and Blue's Pidgey and Rattata-only enemies. (If you have played the original Pokemon games, you will know what I meant by that.)

4. Overpowered Enemies. In addition to B.I.S.'s awfully redundant enemies, the game also has a problem with overpowered enemies. For instance, many enemies will attack several times before you can heal or attack back, and these enemies can take away one-third of your hit points. I even faced a boss-enemy who could hit and kill me (Bowser, at the time) in just one hit! This seemed totally unfair and overkill. It also made me feel like Bowser, as well as Mario and Luigi, were pretty weak and lackluster.

5. Many dumb dialogues. What I mean is that the dialogues are pretty random, nonsensical, and unimportant many times. For example, in one scene, the Wiggler will ask you to eat a carrot, as a minigame, and then get mad at you for doing what he said and attack you. In another scene, you will attack the bad-guy Midbus, who you seem to pummel until the game ends your match early – saying (randomly), "Bowser feels weakened" (for no good reason). I don't need to list anymore examples – you've probably got the picture and you can decide for yourself.

Overall, The Most Memorable Thing about Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story:
The story's situational setting. It was very unique and original to make a game where Mario, Luigi, and Bowser's worlds were so connected and dependent on each other. However, there are many fatal flaws with this game that has made it lose its overall luster.