Making up for Paper Mario: Sticker Star

User Rating: 8 | Mario & Luigi: Dream Team 3DS
After Paper Mario: Sticker Star deviated from the Mario RPG formula and upset many fans, Mario and Luigi Dream Team, sticks with the "if it ain't broke. Don't fix it." Philosophy. As the 4th M&L installment, it doesn't change up things too drastically and those who played "Bowser's Inside Story" will notice a lot of elements carried over from that game.

This time around our heroes decide to take a vacation to a dreamy resort called Pi'llo Island, a resort founded by a sleep researcher that was once home to an ancient, magical kingdom. Not long after Mario and friends arrive, they stumble into the mysterious temple beneath Pi'llo castle and release Prince Dreambert from exile within the Dream World. It turns out Luigi has a special power of narcolepsy where when he falls asleep, it opens a portal to the Dream World where Prince Dreambert's subjects have been trapped for hundreds of years by the evil nightmare wizard Antasma, who incidentally has escaped and teamed up with Bowser to conquer both the waking and dream worlds.

Much like BiS, Dream Team's gameplay is separated into 2 versions. First you have Mario and Luigi traveling around Pi'llo Island, engaging in turn based battles with timed hits to increase damage and help deflect enemy attacks, which is something I liked about the Mario RPGs. I like having the ability to cause more damage to enemies as well as reduce my own through timed hits. The second part of the gameplay takes place in Luigi's Dreamworld. Luigi falls asleep in certain places and Mario enters his dream accompanied by a "Dreamy Luigi" who morphs with Mario during battles as well as multiple Luigis can be used to navigate the dreamworld including rolling a bunch of Luigis into a giant katamari ball. Starlow returns as well this time, she will do things to sleeping Luigi to activate things in the Dream World to help Mario like pull his mustache, make him sneeze and grab his hat to summon a ton of Luigi's for giant Power Rangers size boss fight sequence.

I will say, this one is a bit on the easy side and at the beginning has a lot of hand holding and I wish at times I could skip over some of it. If you played the other M&L installments, having to sit through battle tactics, item usage and badges feels tiresome. Heck you can use "Boo Biscuits" in battle to help you learn patterns of enemies for your timed hits so you don't take damage and even if you die in battle, the game will let you retry on easy mode if you like. It's nice for kids and beginners though.

Another thing I noticed was despite getting both "Bros. Attacks" and "Dreamy Luigi" attacks, I rarely found myself using them outside of boss fights. Once you learn enemy patterns, it's easy to time your hammer and jump attacks and rarely use special attacks especially if, like me, you're the kind who will grind a lot to build yourself up.

Also carried over from Bowser's Inside Story are the giant battles. This time Luigi summons all the dreamy Luigi's to make himself giant and once again you flip the 3DS sideways to battle. It's still just as fun fighting with a giant Luigi as it was a giant Bowser and you don't have to play a mini game in his crotch to do it.

There's enough side mission stuff to keep you busy as well such as finding all the beans to upgrade stats, saving all the trapped Pi'llo folks and finding pictures to complete puzzles for items though you will find yourself soon getting overloaded with coins and items, once again making the game really easy for seasoned RPG players.

The most surprising thing is how little of the 3DS's features, the game uses. The redesigned models use the 3D, but not much and only a couple times in certain fights does having the 3D on actually help. Also there's no online or street pass feature, but then again, this is a solo player experience and always has been. Though you do use the gyroscope for a couple special attacks which you'll either love or hate.

And still Mario and Luigi: Dream Team is enjoyable. The humor is still in tact. The gameplay is smooth and easy to learn and yet still has depth. In short, if Sticker Star soured your taste for Mario RPGs, this will be a tasty treat.