Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

The fourth instalment of the handheld Mario & Luigi RPGs sends our plumbing heroes into dreams. Luigi’s dreams to be exact.

The Mario & Luigi RPGs have always been a favourite of mine, as they offer a nice open mushroom kingdom world that's suprisingly rich in depth and lore. AlphaDream manages to use the Nintendo franchise to tell a fun and interesting story and invites you to explore. The trademark Mario moveset is integrated cleverly in an RPG overworld setting that makes it feel like a Golden Era 16-bit game. In addition the turn based combat system turns every move in a mini-game that enables the player to actively do more damage, dodge or counter enemy attacks – which makes it feel more engaging and action packed than any other turn based combat system I’ve ever played.

The 3DS’ features like the microphone and gyroscope as well as touchscreen are used in special battles which gives the game the extra dramatic push at the right moments, but the gyroscope sensitive parts can sometimes be jittery and frustrating – thankfully the game offers an ‘Easy Mode’ after some failed attempts, but it doesn’t remedy the feeling that it’s the games fault rather than the players lack of skill.

The game leads the player through standard but very well crafted RPG environments like forests, deserts, mountains and caves, while the growing skill set enables Mario and Luigi to get access to more areas as well and use more moves in combat. There are the usual amount of side quests and collectables which all in all offers a great package of content that clocks in between 30 hours for normal and up to 50 for the completionist.

Overall Dream Team another great Mario & Luigi RPG with good value and content, the usual funny and creative world that offers something for players of every age, clever but not too heavy use of the tilt and touchscreen controls, no big innovations.