Mario & Luigi: Dream Team US Review

mario_&_luigi_dream_team_box_artThe Mario & Luigi series is known for its charming characters, challenging boss fights and addictive gameplay. Fortunately, for the most part, the fourth installment – Mario & Luigi: Dream Team – is like its predecessors. And unlike another certain Mario role-playing game for Nintendo 3DS, Dream Team stays true to its roots.

The game is set in two main worlds: Pi’illo Island, a vacation spot known as the “real world”, and Luigi’s imagination – the “Dream World”. Its prelude is no different from most Mario games; Princess Peach is kidnapped, serving as the Mario brothers’ main motive for embarking on an adventure.

In the 3D, top-down real world, Mario and Luigi are side-by-side and both are controlled by the player. Mario is assigned the A button, while Luigi is controlled via the B button. The series’ RPG elements remain intact. Enemies are scattered throughout Pi’illo Island, and the brothers must defeat them in order to level up and become stronger. Battles are initiated when either of the brothers comes into contact with a baddie. The turn-based system also makes a return, and the combat is still all about timing; attack an enemy at the right moment to land the most damage, and defend yourself by dodging projectiles in the nick of time. The combat is undoubtedly the game’s strongest point and is simple to learn but difficult to conquer.

Speaking of learning, the game is designed to help players by offering various support features, such as several tutorials and giving directions and descriptions in layman’s terms. While this may be appreciated by beginners, fans of the series and RPG aficionados will quickly get tired of the incessant hand-holding.

What is this "HP" you speak of?
What is this “HP” you speak of?

Mario and Luigi are as adorable as ever in Dream Team. They communicate via hilarious gibberish, while all other characters chat through text bubbles, which are often long and sometimes unnecessarily confusing. Some characters like the Brocks and Starlow aren’t as likable as the bros. For some reason, Brocks – which are a species of Blocks, literally – have accents attributed to their words, making reading their dialogue a chore.

The nagging, fiery Star Sprite Starlow constantly tries to make you view tutorials for the basics, and forcibly takes you to the pause screen several times to show you how to navigate the self-explanatory menu. That’s not to mention Starlow’s smirk, which usually remains constant even during intense moments.

Akin to how characters traverse in the interior of Bowser’s body in Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, Dream Team’s Dream World is set in a 2D side-scrolling environment. In the imaginary world, Mario is accompanied by Dreamy Luigi – Luigi’s dream counterpart who has different abilities designed for the Dream World. Objects in the Dream World can by manipulated by Dreamy Luigi via the real, sleeping Luigi. Luigi’s handsome mug is displayed on the touch screen while Mario is in the Dream World. Players can interact with the green-garbed brother’s face to solve puzzles and reveal hidden items in an intuitive way.

Annoying characters, confusing dialogue and relentless hand-holding aside, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is a great 3DS RPG. Its addictive battle system, challenging boss fights, intuitive controls, catchy music and joyful nature all add up to provide a satisfying experience. The latest entry in the Mario & Luigi series will be enjoyed by beginners and longtime fans alike.



  1. I don’t understand why the “hand-holding” in this game is all of a sudden so offensive… you somehow didn’t mind the exact same thing in Bowser’s Inside Story?

    It’s somehow acceptable among all reviewers to criticize the game for this, but you dare mention how Bowser’s Inside Story has the EXACT same thing: “SHUT UP, U CAN PLAY AS BOWSER IN THIS GAME THEREFORE IT IS THE BEST THING EVER CONCEIVED IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND LOLOLOLOL”

    1. Because i like to PLAY it, not be told what to do, especially 5 hours in, in my 4th game in the series.

      1. Right, just like I wanted to PLAY Bowser’s Inside Story. I couldn’t though, I had to let Starlow solve things for me.

        I mean, if the main criticism is the hand holding, exactly what is it that makes Bowser’s Inside Story a better game? I mean, yes, the Dream Team hand holding is annoying, but the game IS a lot longer and lets you play the damn game more and solve puzzles. I don’t even recall there even BEING puzzles in Bowser’s Inside Story. There could have been, as there WERE many potential puzzles, but you know… Starlow just couldn’t keep quiet, totally solving things for you and ruining the fun of figuring things out.

        All I’m saying is, you can’t go around criticizing Dream Team for these things while giving Bowser’s Inside Story super high marks and basically calling it flawless while it’s guilty of the exact same things, while NOT being inconsistent. It just doesn’t work.

        1. Its better because the story is more interesting, the level design is better, and the pacing is better.
          And it has alot less hand holding in it, but the biggest problem with Dream Team is that you’re always being stopped to be told some bullshit.

    1. Because she really wasn’t funny or charming in Bowser’s Inside Story, she was just an annoying character that loved to PMS. I don’t even care for Partners in Time, but Stuffwell was a much more charming character who had a lot of great dialogue thanks to his modified English. Starlow was just annoying… and it completely saddened me that the developers decided to ditch Stuffwell, a charming character, and bring back one of the most wordy and annoying characters of all, Starlow back in another game.

        1. They both interacted with everyone, though…

          And yes, she was more memorable, but not in a good way. More in the “Her annoying personality is now burned into my brain because I was forced to endure it through the entire game” way.

          1. But she doesn’t have an annoying personality at all.
            She is far more likable then other ‘sidekicks’ & when I mean ‘interacts’ I mean how her personality mingles with other characters’s personalities.

  2. God i hate the “out if 10” rating system so much, it’s so stupid. 6 of the numbers all mean mediocre-bad game, so we’re left with the most sensitive 4 numbers that people don’t even know how to balance anymore, so now we just have games getting 9/10 all the fucking time, it’s dumb.

    System need to change to a medal system, because 1. people are too focused on the idea of “well that only 1 number away from 6, so it’s bad” or visaversa, and a Platinum>Gold>Silver>Bronze>Whatever system is so broad that you can stick games as Silver, where they aren’t looked as being shit, but they aren’t overgloried to fuck, and the sacred top rating can remain sacred, as 1-2 games every 1-2 years get it.

    1. To be honest, I wish grading systems were taken out all together. That way people would actually read/listen to the review instead of scrolling to the bottom of the page and “Oh, 7/10, 3/5, Bronze medal? I’ll pass.”

      1. Yeah but a rating at the end solidifies what it is.

        Yes you have to read/listen to what the review says but you have to have a conclusion to it. The number system or any “out of X” system doesn’t work because our perception of numbers in the rest of the world make number ratings very unstable and never accurate. The difference between and 6/10 game to a 7/10 game could be staggering but they’re only one number apart. That’s why we need a broader rating system, that’s based on a game begin Bad>Decent/Good>Great>Very Good>Near perfect.

        Although the bigger problem is reviewers who can’t do their job properly -.-

        1. Not really, at the end of their review they generally tell you whether it’s worth buying what they’re analyzing or if you should pass on it altogether.

        2. And depending on the reviewer,he might say something as stupidly 1-sided as SuperMarioLand GB not worth buying/playing simply BC it wasn’t made by Miyamoto &therefore didn’t ‘feel’ like other Mario games (same reason he hated ZWW GC, it wasnt familiar).

  3. When I started playing it I thought it was going to be more about Luigi’s dreams & that Antasma was his nightmare. Which is why Dr. Snoozemore said “And that OTHER passenger… He is VERY interesting…Mm-heh…” I thought Dr. Snoozemore was going to use Luigi’s dreams/nightmares to take over the world. I do love the game though but I wish Bowser wasn’t in it.

  4. 8/10? I finally found someone who gave this game a score of almost a 10! I think this game should’ve scored higher though, it’s way better than PM. I’m gonna to keep searching site after site untill I finally find an unbiased score that fits my mentality.

    1. I got it the other day, really wasn’t a fan of it :I It was good, but not as great as people made it out to be.

      1. I thought it reeked of shit the moment I saw the box art. Then the moment I actually gave it a chance and played it, I feel asleep…The music’s pretty soothing…my dream world was far more entertaining than this.

  5. The game is too damn chatty for it’s own good, and the dream world settings were far more interesting than that of the real world’s. Antasma is such a sore loser compared to other antagonists in the series. But despite it’s faults, it was an okay game, not the best nor the wort.

  6. I agree with everything said in this review. It’s a great game, but the constant, often unskippable tutorials and lengthy dialogues really pulled me out. I haven’t played any of the other Mario & Luigi games, but those things make this game a bit of a chore to play.

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