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Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story review

Bitter enemies come together in one of 2009's wittiest adventures

Okay, okay, we've been pretty positive to this game and deservedly so, but there has to be something that irked us even a little, right? Well, only a few. It might be too short for some genre fans, as we beat the game and completed all the sidequests in just over 23 hours. We're not complaining, as every RPG doesn't need to be 40+ hours long to be great, though others will disagree.

Though we will complain it was a little too easy. We died maybe four times, and two were during the aforementioned giant-Bowser stages. And to soften up the game even more for noobs, you'll find multiple Reset Clocks throughout the game which let you retry a battle you lost instead of reverting to your last save. Not bad per se, because no one’s making you use them, but it’s still a sign of dumbing down the challenge.

Never did the game feel more easy then when we collected the "hidden" items. Normally the collecting of junk to unlock a powerful special attack rarely feels worth the pain, but we found roughly 80 percent of the collectables without really trying. We almost appreciated not going mad on an Easter egg hunt, but then we felt like Nintendo was just patronizing us.

Above: Broque (left)loves the easy to collect Blitties

But that's about the worst our wretched hearts felt about the game. There are many worse gaming sins than "maybe too easy, perhaps a little short, you won't go mad treasure hunting." Otherwise we can't think of any reasons for any DS owner to skip this, especially when it’s the only Mario option for the fall.

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood? Yes. Leaving aside the tired debate of Mario vs Sonic, Inside Story is better in nearly every way. Sonic Chronicles is a great game with classy graphics and gameplay that took advantage of what Sonic does best, but Inside Story is on a whole other level.

? Yes and no. Even on their third game Mario and Luigi are fresher than the infinitely rereleased FFIV. And Inside Story has a Fat Chocobo's weight in new ideas to counter FFIV playing nearly the same as it did in 1991. Still FFIV is more mature and has a current look to go with the timeless story, while Mario and Luigi look pretty similar to themselves in the first game for GBA.

The World Ends With You? Yes. WEWY has some inventive ideas for making RPG battles more action packed and exciting, but usually it was just too much information to figure out at once. Plus Bowser’s Inside Story is 200 times less emo, which is always appreciated, even if Mario and Luigi don’t rock the latest Shibuya fashion.

Takes the winning formula of the previous games and adds many new and addictive concepts to it. A refreshing sequel bursting with charm, wit and personality.

Sep 11, 2009

More Info

GenreRole Playing

One of the best DS RPGs all year has Mario, Luigi and Bowser working together to save the Princess as the Bros manipulate the Koopa King from the inside.

Franchise nameMario
UK franchise nameMario
US censor ratingEveryone
UK censor rating3+
Alternative namesMario and Luigi 3
Release date14 September 2009 (US), (UK)


Henry moved from the suburbs of northern Florida to work at GR+, and hasn't looked back once in seven years. When not collecting Mario toys, you can find him constantly checking his Twitter.
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