Play Time 28h 13m
Paper Toads 100%
Item Patches 94%
Paper Mario 38
Expert Challenges Complete
Play Time 28h 13m
Paper Toads 100%
Item Patches 94%
Paper Mario 38
Expert Challenges Complete
At long last I’ve made it to the final entry in the Mario & Luigi series. It’s definitely been quite the journey playing through all of the installments. To date my favorite one has to be Bowser’s Inside Story. That one just had the perfect blend of humor and fun gameplay. Each game has its own charm though. Paper Jam does end up feeling like a big step down from the last games with its story but it’s nice that we have Paper Mario around. I would still say it beats the original game in the series which was Superstar Saga but it ends up losing to all of the sequels.
The game starts with Luigi trying to fix a hole in the library but unfortunately he ends up opening a book to the paper universe. Everyone comes flying out of it including Paper Bowser. Now the Mario bros have an extra enemy to worry about and a lot of scared toads. Fortunately Paper Mario is here to help out as well. From there the plot goes in a rather standard fashion as both of the Princess Peach versions are kidnapped by their respective Bowsers. Can the Mario Bros and Paper Mario save them?
There’s one thing this game can’t capitalize on unfortunately and that’s the whole crossover aspect. The issue for this game is really that none of the main characters can talk and Peach isn’t around a whole lot. Usually in a crossover I want to say at least 50% of the fun is from seeing the unique character interactions. You can’t get any of that here. Both Marios basically act the same and Paper Luigi doesn’t even appear so we can’t see what he’s up to. Paper Mario does outshine the standard version a lot here though as he saves their lives multiple times. He is the guest star though so it makes sense. To balance things out I would say that Bowser does perform better than his paper version though.
When we do get dialogue it’s typically pretty fun though. The best scenes are naturally involving Bowser as he continues to act as a supportive father to Junior. I’ve really enjoyed how this series has humanized Bowser. He’s still a villain but he has a lot of personality now. When you think about it, the plot here is almost literally the same as every big Mario game as it’s just Bowser kidnapping Peach. That’s the most unfortunate part about this but at least the script is good so the story won’t drag on or anything.
The gameplay is your standard turn based system from the previous games. You can jump, use your hammer, special abilities, and other such techniques as needed to win out in the levels. I like how the system is active so you can actually learn enemy movements and attempt to dodge their blows. It gives a little more life to the system although at the expense of each battle taking longer. It’s always been a pro/con kind of thing. The only thing I don’t like that has always been the case for the series is that leveling up takes forever. This is due in part to the enemies not dropping enough EXP and the battles taking a long time. I spent at least 5 hours just on leveling up, possibly more time than that. I’m cool with leveling up for the most part as I just zone out and have music playing while leveling up or things like that but it takes really long to get anywhere at times.
For this game’s new gameplay feature we have giant paper mache battles where you get to take control of a figure and attack your opponents. I admit this one isn’t very fun but you don’t have to do a whole lot of them to it’s not bad. Each game always has some kind of backup gameplay and I’ll take this over the Dream Luigi style from the last one. It uses whole new gameplay mechanics and such so I can definitely appreciate the work there.
Paper Jam is shorter than the last few Mario & Luigi games but it’s still a reasonable length. It should take you 20 hours or so to beat this one. There is also a lot of replay value as you try to earn a lot of collectibles and beat the Arcade missions. I expect doing all of this will take you a very long time to be sure. At the very least you should reach 30 hours and that’s a pretty generously low estimate. Considering that you can get this game for a pretty good price now, it’s definitely worth the purchase price.
The graphics look good as expected. The level designs are very likely. The character models are on point and the soundtrack is also decent. It may not have the same pop as the last two games but it works well enough. You still feel a good amount of energy in the stages which is the important thing. It does feel a lot safer though which is inline with the more standard story. The last games had final boss themes like something out of Final Fantasy but the themes here don’t have that grand scale anymore. It’s too bad since Mario & Luigi used to really be able to go all out.
Overall, Paper Jam is a solid finale to the series. I can see why a lot of fans may have felt disappointed when the game’s trailers first came out since it is a big downgrade story-wise but the gameplay is as sharp as ever. If you look at this game on its own merits then it certainly holds its own. You’ll have a good time playing through the game and at the end of the day that’s what counts. I definitely hope we do get a new Mario & Luigi game at some point. There’s certainly more you can continue to do with this style.
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.
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.
Play Time 43h
Bowser’s Inside Story
Enemies Defeated 570
Battles Fled 34
Excellent Ratings 971
Badges Used 40
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
Bowser Jr 43
Hammer Bro 46
Spike Top 45
Captain Koopa 31
Captain Goomba 31
Big Tail Goomba 37
Goomba Tower 37
Play Time 15h 23m
Baby Mario 23
Baby Luigi 23
Mario’s certainly had quite a few RPGs over the years. It’s always been interesting to see Nintendo balance having both the Paper Mario series as well as the M&L titles. It used to be that the former would have the darker plots while M&L would have the hype dialogue. Gradually the Paper Mario games turned into the more fun titles without much of a plot and I’m not deep enough in this franchise to see if it’ll go the same way. Well, this is definitely a fun sequel and I would put it above the first game. The story is a little on the short side for an RPG but at around 15 hours I can’t reasonably say that it’s super short either. It’s long enough and gets the job done.
The game starts with the team deciding to time travel to the past for fun. Apparently that’s the kind of thing you do when you’re bored now. Peach heads to the past but when the time machine returns there is a monster in there instead of Peach. The Mario bros are able to barely take him out and head to the past. There they are quickly defeated by the Shroobs. Fortunately they are saved by Baby Bowser as well as Baby Mario/Baby Luigi. Now these guys are going to need to team up to find out where the present Peach is and save her. The stakes are high because this group is also looking to conquer the kingdom in general. They already own the Mushroom Kingdom in the past and Mario must now stop this from happening in the present.
Of course along the way a lot of hijinks ensues and you know Bowser will want to have a word in. Surprisingly Bowser’s role here is rather small. He gets a solid role at the end of the game though which was pretty tense. I was definitely not expecting things to go that way. The game does not disappoint with the climax. It’s pretty high-end as you would expect from an RPG experience. The boss has more than one phase and it’ll take everything you had to win. The game is rather difficult if you don’t stop to get some extra level ups along the way. I spent a few hours just going back to get level ups and the final boss was still pretty tough.
The best advice I can give it to really spam the Copy Flower and the Mix Flower. These are really your best options if you ultimately want to score the win. You can deal hundreds of damage just by using the flower once and at the same level my standard attack would do around 70. I don’t see how you can beat the final bosses without these items. I ran out of items the first time I tried to challenge the final boss and ultimately that put me in a real spot. I wouldn’t lose since I was good at dodging the attacks but I couldn’t deal enough damage to ever win. See, the boss has 3,000 HP and she is protected by a lot of other parts. The idea is to destroy the shields and then attack her but the shields regenerate every few turns. So by the time I would destroy 2 shields another would pop up so I would never get to the actual villain. You need the items for this fight. I can tell you that right now.
Also, it’s important to use the roulette to increase other attributes. Initially I was putting everything into Health but I didn’t realize that the roulette gets worse and worse if you focus on just one stat. You’ve got to increase them all to really put yourself in a good spot. It’s the only way to get far here. I recommend always increasing HP, Attack, or Defense. They’re the only 3 stats that really matter if you ask me. Earning XP isn’t super easy in this game though. Enemies don’t respawn unless you time travel so it can take a while to get anywhere. Additionally the EXP amounts just aren’t great. I beat the game at Level 25 and just getting to that point took quite a long while.
The gameplay is classic turn based although it’s fairly interactive. Pressing buttons at the right times will allow you to extend a combo or deal extra damage. You are also given the option to dodge enemy attacks if you time the buttons correctly. It’s a nice little touch that keeps you sharp the whole time. You can’t just space out as the enemy uses their moves. It’s not quite as crisp as your average RPG but I’ll give Nintendo props for keeping things different here. I do think it’s a pretty good idea.
As for the graphics, I’d say that the game looks pretty clear. The character sprites are on point. The animations are a little limited along with the sound effects so you’ll see and hear the characters do the same things a lot but at the end of the day it always feels pretty in character. The soundtrack is okay but the game was really lacking a danger theme. As a result even during the really serious moments you would have a happy theme play and it could dampen the mood a bit. The game could have really used a dark theme or something with a little rock for these moments.
There isn’t much replay value in this case because there isn’t anything to do after beating the game. You can earn more level ups I suppose but there isn’t much of a reason to do so with no post game. It’s short for an RPG as I mentioned but you can get it for a decent price nowadays and 15 hours is nothing to sneeze at. Additionally, the game is just a lot of fun. The dialogue is on point. Now, Luigi does get thrown into the dirt quite a bit as the series always love making fun at his expense. If you’re a big Luigi fan then this could be a rough ride for you. For the most part it’s all done in good fun but you may have doubts.
Overall, Mario & Luigi Partners in Time is a solid sequel to the first game. I thought that the story was a little better and I do love time travel adventures. It’s not a game that will stick with you for long as it’s off to the next thing right away but it’s a solid title nonetheless. I look forward to playing the next one soon. I feel like back in the day Bowser’s Inside Story was known as the best game in the series so I’ll be interested in seeing if that’s the case. I’m definitely expecting another really solid adventure. Mario hasn’t let me down before and I don’t expect he’ll start now.