The lights are on
The outrageous success that the Mario franchise has soaked in over the years has taken the plumber bros. many places, but few have ever been as hilariously funny and enjoyable as the siblings’s RPG series games. Completing the loosely connected Mario and Luigi handheld trilogy, “Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story” on the DS showcases the best humor and most inventive gameplay that Mario has had in a while and should please any loyal fan of slapstick humor, cartoon-bashing, and Koopa hysteria.
Once again, crisis has struck the Mushroom Kingdom in the form of a pandemic. Toads are inflating to massive sizes and Bowser has accidentally inhaled the now shrunken Italian plumbers of Mario and Luigi into his belly. Meanwhile, the returning evil Lord Fawful hijacks the kingdom’s Princess Peach and the throne while inside Bowser's girth, Mario and Luigi must somehow find ways to repair and manipulate Bowser’s bod to use the Koopa villain as a means of fighting the villain and saving the day again.
While still a 2d cartoon, the game complements itself with the best graphic coloring and shading the trilogy has seen and brings a surprising detail and tone to the characters’s looks. Bowser’s surly and pompous expressions are vividly captured and Mario and Luigi are caricatured contrasts and emotions are surely to be loved.
From the get-go, this intriguingly absurd story ingeniously combines some of the best body humor and situation comedy for the full enjoyment of audiences. Though while the game features many great character old and new, from the ever lovable Mario bros. to the over-the-top Fawful, Bowser is the true star. Throughout the plot, Bowser makes a remarkably journey from pure villain to likable, but reluctant hero, making every move with his comedic ego and temper. The full length of the story has an even and engaging pacing and cleverly links itself toprevious installments in many subtle twists the player should surely pay attention to.
More than any of the other games in the series, Bowser’s Inside Story makes the best utilization of the DS stylus controls and perhaps more than most recent DS titles. The entirety of Bowser’s body innards, no matter how gross it might initially sound, can be pulled, moved, and beaten-up with the taps and drags of the stylus (in a CARTOON way, of course) and Bowser’s brutal fighting moves can be done with various button and stylus presses. Controls mix great timing and touch screen mechanics to impressive degrees, but the games special events, particularly boss battles, bring them out to perfection. Flipping and slamming enemies thrown in mid-air might be exciting, but the game’s biggest spectacle can be described as Bowser literally growing to hundreds of feet taking on a whole building, firing fireballs and punches with the move of the stylus.
Mario and Luigi is certainly one of the franchise’s best RPGs to date, but makes an important point of creativity and ingenuity to current handhelds. Its new changes succeed in not only making an old series feel fresh, but making a game that's wacky, weird, and pure fun all at the same time. Mario fans and those who appreciate any kind of charming, kiddy humor should look into this title and you're DS collection won't be worse off for it.
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