Mario & Luigi Dream Team Review


Mario & Luigi has been a fun series to play through. Each game throws in some new elements and adds in another villain for the heroes to go up against. Dream Team doesn’t manage to capture the amazing dialogue of Bowser’s Inside Story though and the plot isn’t quite as hype as Partners in Time. It gets close at times and the climax is great but ultimately the game drags itself a little too long to reach that elusive next level of gaming.

We start out with the Mario bros and Peach being invited to a resort for a vacation. It sounds innocent enough but it turns out that there are some shady circumstances at work here. On the island all of the Pillows around are actually sentient creatures from hibernation. A villain known as Antasma intends to bring the world to darkness and cause everybody to go into an endless slumber. Clearly he is not the kind of villain you want to mess with. Starlow is back to help out but the heroes will need more than that if they are to win. This villain manipulates dreams but fortunately Luigi is good at going to sleep. Now the heroes have a fighting chance.

It’s a pretty interesting plot at face value and this is also a perfect way for Luigi to contribute. In the real world he may not be as skilled as Mario but there is nothing to say that the same would be true in the dream world right? There Luigi’s power is matched only by his imagination and he gets some pretty solid moments. At times you have “Mega” boss battles like in Inside Story. Only this time instead of Bowser turning giant it’s Luigi who does this. It makes for some fun visuals like when Luigi and Bowser have an actual fist collision. Luigi’s also a lot more confident in his dream world as he consistently steps up to help Mario out. Imagine if he was always this secure, I think Luigi would be a great ally to have around.

In the real world he is still as nervous as ever though, but at least this allowed him to showcase some more of his skills. In the dream world Luigi also has a lot of extra skills such as the ability to turn into a wrecking ball, tornado, etc. The game uses this as extra gameplay mechanics as you use these abilities to solve puzzles. The gameplay in the real world is a straight forward platformer with turn based gameplay while the dream world adds a lot of different styles like the ability to slow down time roll over enemies, and things of that nature.

It’s pretty fun how both worlds have such different gameplay methods. Both are pretty enjoyable to be sure. The actual combat is also as good as ever. The only thing I wasn’t a big fan of were the motion control aspects of some of the attacks. You can’t exactly play lying down when you have to be spinning around. Still, it’s not very often and you can always choose not to use those attacks and stick to non motion ones. The game’s difficulty level is considerable though so you may not be at liberty to do that. Dream Team does not pull any punches, especially with the final bosses.

This is where you really need to make sure you are good at dodging, have a good badge setup, and are at a high level. I had to do quite a bit of EXP grinding near the end of the game and it still got close. The best badge set to have here is either the one that makes you invincible for several turns or the one that just freezes Bowser for multiple moves as well. He can’t go on healing himself if he isn’t able to move after all so it’s definitely a tactic that works nicely.

As with previous Mario & Luigi games my one main negative here is just that leveling up can take so long. I wish the enemies were a little more balanced with the EXP. It’s something that the game series has always struggled with next to most other adventures. Not sure why but the pattern definitely stuck so leveling up can definitely hurt to an extent. At least you’ve also got the Beans to collect which amp up your stars permanently. Also, there are some extra variables to consider because when leveling up you are given the option of advancing one stat in particular by a few points. Depending on what you focus it on will be key. Even the equipment have a lot of variables since you can choose to wear items that boost attack, defense, or something else.

I do like the fact that there is so much to think about. The gameplay is also very smooth for travelling the worlds. I had fun running around and trying to locate all of the beans and Pillows. I nearly completed the game 100% as I was close to grabbing them all but it wasn’t to be. The various warp pipes around definitely help for convenience and I also like that you can save at any point now. That’s a big positive. The game also has some bonus activities which were pretty fun like the puzzle assemblies. It’s been a while since I had to try and connect puzzles together so that was definitely a blast.

The soundtrack is also dynamite. There are a lot of great tunes here. Danger themes, villain themes, and the whole thing feels like an RPG. The boss themes go all in and you can easily forget that this is a Mario soundtrack early on. It would fit right in with something like Kingdom Hearts or Final Fantasy. Additionally the graphics certainly look very good. You can definitely tell that this is a modern adventure with all the trimmings. It’s a fitting way to continue the series.

Naturally the story will take you a long while. It took me close to 40 hours and if you intend to grab the rest of the beans and pillows then this will easily take you over that milestone. It’s a long game and that’s definitely pretty admirable. You will not be finishing this game in the blink of an eye so you’ve got a lot of content. As mentioned, the story is a bit weaker than the last two though so that part might make you shake your head a bit. Until the climax occurs it can just be rather boring. Bowser steals the show whenever he appears so you’ll be waiting for him to arrive. He gets a ton of hype here so the writers must clearly like the character a lot.

Overall, Dream Team takes a major step back in terms of story but the rest of the game’s areas are all handled quite strongly so this one is still a great title that I would recommend. While Antasma gets consistently outshined by Bowser, I would still say that he is a pretty solid game. His best appearance was probably in a dream near the beginning of the game. I was glad Peach also got to contribute in the climax. She’s done well in this series. I’ve already talked about how Luigi and Bowser look really good here and Mario’s a solid lead as always. If you want to see the Mario gang fighting it out in a pretty serious context then this is definitely the title to check out. You won’t be forgetting the ultimate dream team. I’m hoping Paper Jam can keep up the great gameplay even if the story ends up faltering as well.

Overall 8/10

Mario & Luigi Dream Team Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 38h 16m
Total Pillows 41/52
Total Beans 106/143
Mario Level 35
Luigi Level 35
Excellent Rate 83%
Block-recovery Rate 75%
Enemies Defeated 1757
Escapes 90
Times KO’d 27
Times Damaged 526
Mushrooms Eaten 208

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr’s Journey Review


The Mario & Luigi series has been a fun one to play through. Bowser’s Inside Story has often been known as the best one in the series and I can see why. The story is a blast and it’s just nice to see Bowser getting a star role like how he is here. The game does have a few new mechanics in there that aren’t my favorite but for the most part this takes everything from Partners in Time and improves upon them. Making this a very complete Mario game that you’ve got to check out at some point. Then you’ve also got the new bonus game Bowser Jr’s Journey which is surprisingly substantial considering that it’s a bonus experience.

In Bowser’s Inside Story the plot starts with a pandemic going across the planet. Everyone is turning into Blorbs which is a fancy way of saying they are all swelling up like balloons. Peach calls an emergency meeting but did not invite Bowser. He isn’t happy about that and bursts in. Shortly afterwards he eats a poisoned mushroom and sucks everyone inside himself. Now there is nobody to stop Fawful from taking over the Kingdom and ruling the world. Nobody except…Bowser! Little does he know that Mario and Luigi will still be providing some help though from inside his belly.

There’s quite a lot more story to go through here but that’s the general premise. It’s nice to really see Bowser’s side of things here. Finally you have a lead going straight after the villains instead of going to a bunch of different castles the whole time. Bowser’s just a lot of fun. Mario and Luigi still can’t really talk here while Bowser constantly gets a ton of great lines and moments which really helps him out here. You have to love his confidence. A lot of things go over his head but the guy just seems very genuine. He’s a villain, but one who at least does care about his minions which is always good to see.

The gameplay is your classic turn based adventure. You can use special combo attacks (Which are much, much stronger than normal moves so you really need to use them) hammers, or jumps. You also can move around the overworld and enemies appear so by jumping on them or hitting them with hammers you can get a pre-emptive strike which is very useful in battle. The only parts of the gameplay that I found to be pretty weak were the moments in Bowser’s stomach when you have to jump up and down to make him wake up and blasting the orbs to make Bowser giant. These moments happened a little too often and always took forever. Not a big thing of course but a minor area where things could have been improved.

Beyond that, I had no real complaints with the game. The story was a lot of fun and the gameplay was smooth. I felt like leveling up wasn’t quite as daunting as the previous games. In part because this time I actually understood how the bonus multipliers worked this time around so I didn’t waste it all in HP. Definitely not a fun moment that time. Fawful also works really well as the main villain. I loved his catch phrase “I have chortles” as he starts laughing. Basically his grammar is majorly messed up but in a pretty fun way. He certainly enjoys mocking Bowser so you know the main character will get his revenge at some point. His second in command Midbus was also pretty impressive. A guy who can fight with Bowser toe to toe has got to be crazy strong. It also helps raise the stakes in the game which were already pretty high. Having an end of the world threat was great. Also quick shoutout to Peach for actually having telekinetic powers in this game. She only used this in one scene but it was impressive. I guess she has been training.

In Bowser Jr’s Journey we see the events of the main game from his perspective. Bowser Jr is a pretty ungrateful guy who really does as he pleases. He’s not here to make friends and all the Koopalings get upset as he continues to disregard their opinions as he searches for a very sketchy “cure” to the Blorbs. One by one the Koopalings leave until Bowser Jr’s group consists of him and Morton. When a trio of new villains working under Fawful appear Bowser Jr must rethink his approach. Is he really going to be able to save Bowser if none of the minions want to work for him anymore?

The story is pretty emotional in large part because we’ve already seen how polite and heart warming Bowser can be. The guy’s just fun to hang around and he does treat his minions well. Bowser Jr is the opposite and is incredibly unlikable. I was not expecting him to be quite so mean all the time so that did come as a bit of a shock. Regardless, I would definitely have to say that the game had some good story arcs going. The story was actually crafted really well which helped the game succeed.

The gameplay is pretty different as it’s more like an automatic game where you watch your minions fight. You can cheer them on and issue several special attacks/power their moves up but it’s not super interactive. Prepare to play old levels quite a lot here in order to get their levels up to snuff. Playing the elements here is most important. Flying minions beat ground minions. Ground beat throwers and throwers beat flyers. If you put your team in a good formation that makes the most of this then you will be in a good position to do a lot of good. Tactics are more important than level ups but if you really just want to skate by just find a level that you can beat without having to help out at all and have them run it over and over again. Before long you’ll have made it to the end of the game. It’s surprisingly tough but as with every game that has a level up system, you can ultimately persevere.

I liked the game. It’s a pretty simple title that doesn’t have a lot to it in terms of gameplay variation and such but that’s fine. It’s really just a side adventure you’re playing around with. If anything you could play it during the main game to try and keep them in sync. What was particularly impressive was the story since it was actually pretty engaging. I never would have thought Bowser Jr would be the one to be able to lead his own adventure but here we are.

The graphics are pretty good. The character models are very sharp and the backgrounds really stand out. The whole thing looks really modern. Then you’ve got a catchy soundtrack as well. The best theme in the game for me has to either me the final boss of Inside Story or the general Bowser encounter theme. Both themes are actually pretty intense. The final boss even sounds like a Kingdom Hearts theme. You can really hear the usual instruments and themes at least. It helped really make the game feel like a big deal. In terms of replay value, I’d say this game has a good amount. Keep in mind that the main stories for the two combined should take you around 40 hours. (It took me 43) If you then work on getting all levels ups and beating all levels then this would probably get you to around 47 hours.

Overall, This is a game with mountains of content. It’s clear why this has always been a standout game for the Mario series. I’ll be starting Dream Team pretty soon but it’s definitely got big boots to fill this time around. I have little doubts that it will be another good installment though as the series has been consistent. The fact that this is really two games in one just makes the whole thing even better. Jr’s Journey gameplay may take some getting used to but it can quickly become addicting once you’re into it. I almost went and 100% completed the game just because I felt like it so there’s that. Sometimes you just never know when a game’s going to just go off like that.

Overall 8/10

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr’s Journey Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 43h

Bowser’s Inside Story

Battles 242
Enemies Defeated 570
Battles Fled 34
Excellent Ratings 971
Badges Used 40
Blocks 49%
Beans 20%
Music 79%

Character Levels

Mario 33
Luigi 33
Bowser 30

Bowser Jr’s Journey

Allies 90% Complete
Enemies 100% Complete
Challenges 73% Complete
Formations 100% Complete
Quests Cleared 197
Battles Won 616
Enemies Defeated 5205
Excellent Ratings 1236
Minions Recruited 398

Character Levels

Bowser Jr 43
Kamek 44
Koopa 47
Boo 47
Parakoopa 45
Hammer Bro 46
Spiny 45
Spike Top 45
Lemmy 28
Morton 34
Roy 33
Captain Koopa 31
Captain Goomba 31
Big Tail Goomba 37
Goomba Tower 37
Iggy 25
Wendy 31
Larry 28
Ludwig 25

Yoshi’s New Island Review


It’s time to look at a game that I conquered really quickly. The whole game was over in one day which makes sense because the game is only about 3-4 hours. It’s also extremely easy to the point where you won’t lose much at all. Even if you do lose you can get back to where you were at within a minute or two tops. The levels are short and since you have endless health as long as you get to the baby in time there’s not a whole lot for you to worry about. There are no big gimmicks to worry about either so half the time you can keep running and jumping.

The plot of the game is that the stork actually delivered Mario and Luigi to the wrong house. Yoshi and his clan must now get them to the right place. If I were the Yoshis I would definitely be a little upset at this. Seriously they have to do this again? Well, at least they have a lot of experience in doing so. They will have to get past Kamaek and all of his minions in order to do this though. The heroes can’t lower their guard and must press on at all costs!

The gameplay is your classic 2D platformer. You jump past enemies and obstacles to get to the goal. Along the way you will see a lot of collectibles and may even solve a few puzzles. You can eat enemies and turn them into eggs. The eggs you shoot are used to activate controls and things like that. I guess the game’s main gimmick would be that Yoshi can turn into several vehicles. This doesn’t happen a whole lot though and even seems to be optional at times. Those controls were a bit weaker so I’m definitely cool with this not being a regular occurrence. I feel like that would not have been a good idea for the game long term. Part of why this game succeeds is because it’s going back to basics. It’s basically a Mario game just with the ability to throw eggs. It is fun to throw the large ones as well and it’s all well thought out. I had no issue with the gameplay.

The bosses also have a lot of variety. The Kamek bosses tend to be similar but even those switch up the background elements which is nice. Changing up the bosses so much is what separates Nintendo platformers from others. The final boss is also intense with quite a lot of forms and even a plot twist I didn’t see coming. It’s probably the most impressive part of the game because it feels like this is a moment when the game decided to go further than expected. It also had more difficulty than the rest of the game since falling into the lava would instantly cause you to lose a life. I imagine you would have to restart all of the phases again but fortunately I didn’t lose during the climax.

The level designs are on point as well. The levels are pretty short and you’re still given a checkpoint during the game so it never feels like you’re going to lose a lot of progress. It may feel unnecessary since the game is pretty easy but it’s the kind of quality of life enhancement that I always like to see. It’s important to have this kind of thing because it’s just a lot more convenient for the player. Who actually wants to have to replay a large chunk of a game that they have already cleared? It helps you improve but since this game is going for a relaxing feel then it works out quite nicely I’d say. You can play a few levels before bed or just blast through the whole thing at once.

The soundtrack is definitely very different compared to most of the big Nintendo titles. It uses the Kazoo a lot and most of the tunes sound like they’re just complete parodies of the normal themes. I suppose they would all technically be considered remixes but it had to be a little self aware. The soundtrack is just very unique. It works well enough I suppose but does make the game feel like it’s aiming even younger than usual. It does support the game’s low difficulty level though. The graphics look fine. It’s not exactly Nintendo’s A game but I think it’s going for a retro look so it succeeds in that approach. I’d rather they go with traditional graphics though because Nintendo games can look really amazing when they try.

There is a decent amount of replay value to be found here though. Each level has a number of collectibles. You can grab the red coins, flowers, and even medals. The medals are RNG though which sounds annoying to me. Fortunately the game made it so that you don’t need to grab these to complete the game which I thought was a really good move. Things like that should always be optional if you ask me. That way you don’t feel like you were penalized for trying to pay the game your way. It is part of why I cleared the game so quickly because I didn’t need to worry about stopping. If you want to explore then that’s fine but it shouldn’t be mandatory. So the main game is about 3 hours and if you try for all collectibles you can probably stretch this to about 7 I’d say.

Overall, Yoshi’s New Island is a pretty fun game. It feels like a standard platformer. It’s true that this game doesn’t really do anything new nor does it try to shatter its own limits, but that’s fine. I still would feel like i got my money’s worth on this one. It’s not the kind of game that I can find a lot of fault with. The level designs are on point and while the story is the bare minimum, I’ll give the title props for the final boss and actually having dialogue between each world. They’re little touches but things that add up. This feels like more of a complete experience than the Squeak Squad game I played for example because of this. The game may be short but it feels fleshed out. I’d recommend this one if you like platformers.

Overall 7/10

Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Review


This game has been waiting its turn for a very long time at this point. Well, I finally took the plunge and got it. Surprisingly the game doesn’t beat the originals though. Mainly this is due to the length being a lot shorter and the plot not being as interesting. I beat this game in around 2.5 hours compared to the Wii U one which took 7 and the 3DS original which I played for 14 hours although the story was more in line with 7. This one seems like they had to rush it out because otherwise I do feel like a lot of effort was put into it. There are a good amount of cutscenes and things of that nature.

The plot of the game is that Eggman is trying to build the Eggbot racers that can be even faster than Sonic. To this end he builds a robot that can attract the rare kind of metal he needs. The bot tries his best but Sonic and friends prove to be too much for him. Unfortunately this makes Eggman turn on him as well. The bot really wants to prove himself to Eggman so he’s going to continue to try and grab the metals. Meanwhile Sonic and friends are trying to stop the elemental geysers being produced as part of this and are forced to travel the globe. Can they save the planet from ecological disaster?

So there isn’t really much of a story here. Still, it’s very nostalgic to see the ole Sonic Boom cast once more. I did greatly enjoy the show and felt like it should have gotten another season. The cutscenes are really solid to the point where the cutscenes look like they could have been from the actual show. This is the level of detail I like to see and shows this was not some simple cash in. A real effort was made here and I definitely appreciate that. They should have found a way to squeeze Shadow into the story though. I think that would have been a really good idea to raise the stakes. We do get a fun climax though where Eggman is actually forced to ask Sonic for help. Sonic and Eggman is the big team up we’ve been waiting for so that was definitely pretty hype.

The gameplay is a 2D platformer like most Sonic games. You navigate your way through obstacles and grab collectibles as you make it to the goal. The new wrinkle to this game is that you now have the ability to use fire and ice thanks to the ecological phenomenons going on around the world. The fire ability allows you to melt ice while the ice power lets you freeze water. They’re fun little abilities. I wouldn’t say they change the gameplay experience all that much so it’s a pretty harmless gimmick which I can definitely roll with. This is the kind of experimentation that I’d say works rather well.

As I mentioned though, the game is really short. At a little over 2 hours that’s just not a whole lot of time. It has more replay value than Kirby though as each world has several bonus levels as opposed to just one. It’s part of why the game is so short though as you just don’t need to play most of the levels. That should add a good amount of play time in. Then you’ve also got the bonus racing mode where you can even play as an Egg bot. You use the gems you collect to buy more suits so that’s pretty fun. There are also 3 upgrades as well. It’ll probably take you a while to buy them all though. There are 6 upgrades and completing the game just gave me enough money to buy 1. Buying all 6 would definitely be difficult but maybe the bonus levels have more gems than the normal ones.

I already talked about how great the graphics are so I don’t need to go on that for very long. The in-game graphics are just as solid. There are a few different playable characters who all have their own strengths and abilities which is nice for variety. The soundtrack is less memorable though and in general you’ll probably forget it as soon as you finish the playthrough. I would have liked some remixed tracks or something to spice it up. There aren’t a lot of boss battles either which could be the reason. Surprisingly it would seem like not every world had a boss unless some of the bosses are optional.

The boss fights themselves are pretty fun although most of them play in a very similar way. I’d say that it’s just the gameplay not being able to change things up much but that’s not really true. I think there’s more they could have done with it. Each boss battle has 2 phases. One phase you use Sonic to home attack the enemy while the other has your partner use their signature skill. Since all of the partners are different that part is always unique but Sonic is the one where his gameplay is exactly the same all the time. Switching that one up a bit would definitely have gone a long way if you ask me. Still, I’ll give the game props for the tag system. I thought that was pretty fun.

Overall, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice is a worthy sequel to the original Sonic Boom. that being said, I wouldn’t say it was particularly noteworthy or knocking it out of the park either. It’s a fun game that will keep you busy until you complete it. Afterwards even with the replay value you won’t have much to do though so this is definitely the kind of game you just playthrough once and keep it moving. If you like platformers then I recommend checking this one out. The cutscenes help make the game feel a little more special as well. A little more length would have been nice but I’ll take what we can get. Hopefully we get a new Sonic game soon because I miss that series.

Overall 7/10

Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 2h 26m
Game Complete 26%
Upgrades 1/6

World stats

Kodiak Frontier

0/12 Hammers
2/12 Coils
0/6 Pictures

Seaside Island

2/12 Hammers
0/12 Coils
0/6 Pictures

Paleo Tarpits

0/12 Hammers
2/12 Coils
0/7 Pictures

Gothic Gardens

4/12 Hammers
3/12 Coils
0/7 Pictures

Cutthroat Cove

1/12 Hammers
2/12 Coils
0/7 Pictures

Ragna Rock

0/0 Hammers
0/0 Coils
0/3 Pictures

Metroid II: Return of Samus Review


It’s time to look at the next installment in the Metroid series. As you may recall I was definitely not a big fan of the first game. The maze system is far too vague and you can get lost in hours. Major props to people who beat this game back in the day without save states or guides. I don’t think I would have been completing that game. This one improves upon the original for sure, but I still wouldn’t say it’s quite at the level where I could give it a positive score either. I like that the game is a bit more direct with the structure and the goals of the game but we don’t yet have a good map system in play.

The game starts with Samus landing on another planet. It’s time to exterminate all of the Metroids on this planet and there are quite a few of them so it won’t be easy. You’ve got a Metroid counter on the screen letting you know how many enemies are still on the planet. Gradually you have to take them all down. After you’ve beaten a good number of the metroids you unlock new paths to find the rest. Needless to say, without a map you could be here for a very long time. Another tricky thing is when you run out of missiles. Without missiles you can’t defeat the Metroids so you will have to backtrack and find a refill machine or beat a ton of enemies. The drop rate on the enemies isn’t too great though.

It’s always interesting playing a game in black and white. I haven’t played may of those at all so it’s really very different. Kind of cool in a nostalgia sense although I definitely miss the color. The graphics are okay but I can’t say they are particularly good in this state. The soundtrack is also pretty limited, the series didn’t hit the next level until Super Metroid. At that point is when we got an incredible soundtrack with all of the iconic tunes. This is right before that hype era.

The campaign is fairly short, but again that’s not considering that you should get lost quite a few times. It took me close to 6 hours to beat the game and that’s considering that I had a map with me. The game does have a real ending which ties into Super Metroid which is cool though. I like how the game is structured even if it is ultimately held back by how the game mechanics work. If this game had a real map then I dare say it would have been pretty good right off the bat.

It’s very challenging though so gamers who like to really work for their wins will definitely appreciate that. Some of the Metroids take numerous hits to take down. You’ll really have to be strategic here as even with a lot of life tanks you may quickly end up getting overwhelmed. You can’t really just run in and start swinging. Admittedly that’s usually how I like to roll but you gotta roll with the game sometimes and this is definitely one of those times. You either fight strategic or you lose.

There’s no real replay value to be found here. Once you beat the game that’s it. There’s no true post game. I suppose you can try to beat the game with a quicker clear time to get a different ending but that’s about it. It’s not personally enough incentive for me to go back in but if you really like the gameplay style then it’s a nice way to challenge yourself.

Overall, There’s not a whole lot more to say about this one. It’s a very similar game to the original Metroid except it’s less of a maze adventure as you’ve got more of a solid goal to achieve. You know from the start that you have to beat all of the Metroids so you find and blast them. Metroid is one of those series that I like a lot but mainly thanks to the later games. I’m still not impressed with these early titles. I’ll try out Super Metroid soon though and that one should be a big improvement. If you really like Metroid then maybe check this one out, but I’d recommend getting the 3DS remake instead. I imagine that the enhancements should help fix some of this title’s issues.

Overall 5/10