A midsummer plumber's dream

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Valery Aloyants
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Fourth episode of the saga that debuted in 2003 on Gameboy Advance and which later continued with two chapters for Nintendo DS much loved by the public, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. is therefore the first of his family to tread the territories of the 3DS, arriving moreover, in a historical period that saw the decisive relaunch on the scene of the less famous brother of the mythical duo: and after the roles of absolute protagonist in Luigi's Mansion 2 and New Super Luigi U, also in this case the plumber with the green hat ends almost to steal the show from his colleague Mario, carving out a fundamental role in the plot and gameplay of the title that we are now going to review.



Inkubak vacation

The new adventure of Mario and Luigi begins in an unexpected way, that is when the two, together with Princess Peach and all her Toad court, are invited for a relaxing stay on the Guanciale Island, receiving a warm welcome upon their arrival. which does not portend anything dangerous.

The ever vigilant Mario however begins to become suspicious in the face of some oddities, such as the mysterious absence of the resort owner, Dr. Abbiocco, and the almost schizophrenic behavior of some of his collaborators: the fact is that, after some events that we leave the pleasure to discover to the players, the princess inevitably ends up being kidnapped, this time by the evil bat lord Inkubak who drags her with him into the Dream World. The key to resolving the matter this time is in the possession of the good Luigi, more precisely in his ability to fall almost on command into a deep sleep: sleeping on special stone cushions scattered around the Guanciale island, Luigi is able to open portals on the Dream World into which Mario can dive to look for clues about the disappearance of Peach and at the same time to free the Guancialini, ancient inhabitants of the place imprisoned by an Inkubak spell. As you can see, the plot of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. is rather full of events and characters (among whose ranks we point out some illustrious returns such as Dorastella's), while remaining very simple and light-hearted in its narration: the The result is the usual, very pleasant, development to which Nintendo has accustomed us, embellished with an excellent Spanish translation, capable of maintaining the brilliance of the dialogues unchanged - if not even highlighting -. It must be said that the smoothness of the adventure, especially in the initial stages, is a bit burdened by the excessive use of dialogues for their own sake and tutorial screens that can appear really redundant, especially for users already accustomed to gameplay of the series.



Traditionalist but with some new features, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. is one of the best RPGs for 3DS

In this regard, anyone with even the slightest familiarity with the mechanics of the previous episodes will have no difficulty in orienting themselves in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros., but at the same time new users will be introduced in a comfortable and progressive way to the understanding of all. the facets of the play structure: in the best Nintendo practice, the game proves to be a balanced mix between the maintenance of tradition and the addition of new game elements capable of differentiating this last adventure from the previous ones. So here's what the foundations of the gameplay have remained substantially unchanged, for a product that starts from the premises of the classic oriental RPGs to then add a touch of more action and dynamism. On the one hand there are therefore all the essential aspects of a member of the genre, such as the exploration of the environments, the dialogues with the characters, the presence of the inventory and the improvement of the statistics of the two protagonists through the accumulation of experience points; on the other hand there is an evident push to interact with the scenario, since the two plumbers start with the possibility of jumping freely and as the adventure continues they learn new techniques with which to face the environmental puzzles offered by the island Jowls.


Things take a different turn in the Dream World, with the levels taking on a two-dimensional structure, stimulating Mario to brush up on his skills as a platform hero: a solution already experimented in the previous Journey to the Center by Bowser, but which here is enriched with a strong contribution from Luigi. Since these sections are nothing more than a projection of the unconscious of the protagonist in the green jacket, he does not physically accompany his brother, but presents himself in a psychic form - appropriately called Oniriluigi - endowed with special powers. These translate first of all into the interaction with the so-called Magiluigi mechanisms, that is the elements of the scenario with which Luigi can literally join to give Mario a hand and whose activation often requires the user to interact with the figure of the real sleeping Luigi. that stands out on the touchscreen: here, therefore, Oniriluigi can, for example, turn into a shrub whose fronds move by pulling the protagonist's mustache with the finger in the desired direction and can be used by Mario to reach otherwise inaccessible places. The Magiluigi mechanisms found in the adventure are different, and the pleasure of their discovery is perhaps even more satisfying than their use itself, which is solved most of the time in environmental puzzles so simple that they become more of a routine than an element of gameplay. really inspiring.



The 3D effect

With its mix of two-dimensional characters and polygonal backdrops framed from above, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. perhaps will not go down in history as the most impressive showcase for the stereoscopic effect of the Nintendo console (so much so that by completely lowering the slider you certainly can't say that you get lost very much), but it is undoubtedly noteworthy for the inventiveness of the developers able to exploit the feeling of depth especially during fights: especially when performing special attacks or during the clashes with bosses, there are numerous solutions adopted to divert the action towards the screen or away from it, with effects technically perhaps not exceptional but always very pleasant and nice.

One, one hundred, one thousand Louis

A self-respecting RPG, however, is also made up of turn-based combat, and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. obviously does not escape the rule, proposing the typical formula of the series with a few more touches of color. In their battles on the Pillow Island, the two plumbers can hit enemies using the jump or hammer, perform a special attack that consumes Skill Points, or use an item in their inventory. With the exclusion of the latter, all the actions indicated provide for an active control by the user, since by pressing the indicated key at the right time it is possible to maximize the damage inflicted. Even when it is the opponent's turn it is advisable to be on guard, given that a punctual pressure allows you to avoid the blows or even to produce an effective counter move, actions these made less trivial by the fact that each enemy has a couple of types of attack. , which, moreover, performs with different timing and methods. As in the previous chapters of the series, the result is a combat system that is always dynamic and fun, but which this time takes on a new connotation in the Dream World: here we find ourselves facing real hosts of enemies, but benefiting from the fact that Oniriluigi is it literally merges with Mario, enhancing his characteristics and improving his offensive capabilities.


The blows struck in these situations take advantage of the psychic plumber's ability to divide himself into multiple copies of himself, each of which will inflict extra damage on one of the opponents; in the same way, the special attacks are also modified, allowing you to take advantage of the multitude of Oniriluigi on the screen in decidedly original ways and cause great losses among the enemy ranks. All elements that contribute to making Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. a certainly rich and satisfying experience, with a truly enviable balance. Not only for what concerns the rhythm of the gameplay, well distributed between exploratory phases and more eventful situations, but also and above all for a level of challenge that is indulgent with newcomers but does not hesitate to give satisfactions to the most hardcore players. In addition to the element of the duration of the adventure (which stands at 25-30 hours) increases exponentially if you go in search of all the secrets, a greater number of boss fights than in previous episodes urged the developers to insert a 'option that allows you to repeat a fight in easier conditions in the event of a game over. At the same time, finishing the game unlocks an extra mode thanks to which you can restart the adventure at a higher level of difficulty that promises to give even the most experienced a hard time.

In short, there is something for all tastes, even if looking for a nit could be attributed to Nintendo a certain lack of courage in the exploitation of the features of 3DS, relegated to little more than a mere outline. Beyond the stereoscopic effect described in the dedicated box, the gyroscope and the touchscreen itself are also intended for standard use, without any acute detail. Also for what concerns the graphic profile, the transition to polygonal backdrops is undoubtedly a pleasant novelty, which however has perhaps led to a slight loss of personality in the same, which have become much more conventional than in the past. Nothing to say instead about the excellent work done on the two-dimensional characters, with attention to the smallest detail and with incredibly fluid and varied animations. The developers' labor file also stands out in almost imperceptible details, such as in the jolts of the sleeping Luigi framed by the touchscreen, which reacts dynamically to the events of the Dream World taken from the main screen.

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8.6

Readers (73)

8.5

Your vote

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. avoids overdoing it and presents itself as a diligent and very competent fourth chapter of the series, keeping unchanged a basic structure now super tested and adding that extra bit of panache guaranteed by the presence of the Dream World and everything what gravitates around you. It could be argued that the features of 3DS are used almost only as a function of secondary aspects of the gameplay, but it is still a criticism that is broken without a hit on an RPG that by extension, variety and simple playfulness currently has very few rivals. on the Nintendo laptop.

PRO

  • Fun, long-lived and rich in content
  • Excellent balance in gameplay and difficulty level
  • The Dream World adds an innovative touch ...
AGAINST
  • ... but many of its implications remain marginal
  • Often tutorials and dialogues are too verbose
  • You could have dared a little more with the features of 3DS
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