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Review Scores

VGChartz Score



Alternative Names

Mario & Luigi RPG 3



AlphaDream Corporation



Release Dates

09/14/09 Nintendo
02/11/09 Nintendo
10/09/09 Nintendo

Community Stats

Owners: 323
Favorite: 33
Tracked: 9
Wishlist: 43
Now Playing: 17

Avg Community Rating:



User Score

Presentation - 9.5
Gameplay - 10
Value - 9.5

In 2003, Nintendo took the Italian behemoths Mario and Luigi into their very own role-playing game on the Game Boy Advance known as Superstar Saga.  Despite the lack of a back story to build from, the developers at Alpha Dream came up with their own as well as a whole new world to explore.  In terms of gameplay, the game had the two brothers traversing the world in using them at the same time while also using different Mario elements that traversed very well into the over world.  As of 2009, Bowser’s Inside Story is the third Mario RPG since Superstar Saga as well as quite possibly the best game on the Nintendo DS to date.  Quite simply put if you plan on buying a DS any time soon, Mario & Luigi: Boswer’s Inside Story is the one you should plan on picking up ASAP!

Today’s scenario in place for the two legendary brothers in gaming is something pretty out of the ordinary to say the least.  The story begins when the toads of the Mushroom Kingdom have all of a sudden come down with an illness known as “the blorbs”, a disease that causes the victim to become so big and round that they won’t be able to move.  It is then revealed that Fawful has returned from Superstar Saga to begin his own reign of terror on the Mushroom Kingdom, which he puts into action by tricking Bowser into eating a mushroom that causes him to devour a huge portion of the Kingdom’s inhabitants as well as Mario and Luigi.  With this in mind, it is now up to the two brothers to right this incredible wrong and stop Fawful from achieving his evil plan.  The story itself doesn’t really have much substance to it, but like it’s predecessor it makes up for that with clever humor and dialogue and the characters manage to make the story flow at an enjoyable pace.  Another neat thing about the story is that it’s as much Mario and Luigi’s story as it is Bowser’s story, since not only do you control Mario and Luigi in the game but Bowser himself as well but more will be touched on that later.

The graphics in Inside Story are much like the ones you’ve seen in Superstar Saga, but through the power of the DS, the sprites are actually more colorful and animate even better than before.  The game doesn’t feel like you’re watching a cartoon, but the animations are very pleasant no matter what environment you traverse through.  In terms of technical aspects, there’s nothing to complain about since there’s no lag or glitches that will hamper the game.  During the battle sequences, the battle takes up both of the DS screens and it may make the battle seem a bit frantic since some enemies like to attack from above.  Otherwise, there’s practically nothing to complain about in the graphics department.

There’s not much voice acting besides Bowser’s grunts and the one liners from Mario and Luigi like, “Let’s a go!” and “Okey Dokey!”  Perhaps it’s for the better since the voice acting isn’t what makes the dialogue enjoyable, but rather the writing itself, which is guaranteed to get a few laughs out of you at least.  Despite the lack of voice acting, the actors still feel in place and remind you of the usual Mario setting.  The game more than makes up for this however with catchy sound effects and engaging music that any Mario game wouldn’t be complete without. 

Finally, the part that makes Bowser’s Inside Story the great addition to the DS library that it is, the gameplay simply excels in practically every respect.  This can be the case whether you’re looking for a good RPG or something fun and unique in the gameplay department at the same time.  As said before, Bowser’s Inside Story is as much Mario and Luigi’s story as it is Bowsers.  As a result, half of the game revolves around playing as Bowser in his attempts to reclaim his castle from Fawful with his own special abilities like Mario and Luigi’s abilities. 

When you play the Mario Bros. inside Bowser, you’re in side scrolling mode but pressing X or Y will allow you to control Bowser in the over world.  Despite the reliance on this mechanic, you don’t do so once in a while about every hour and a half or so.  And this mechanic isn’t just a simple gimmick either, it’s a mechanic that makes a lot of use on the puzzles planned out.  There are puzzles that only Mario and Luigi are capable of passing when they exit Bowser, there are ones that only Bowser can solve when he gains special abilities.

Mario and Luigi control much like they did in Superstar Saga by controlling them with the D-pad and actions are given by using the A and B buttons.  They still use jumps and hammering like in prior Mario games which are both used in battles.  Not only this, but there are several special attacks for the two brothers to use in order to provide more damage for the enemies.

Bowser is capable of punching his way through the rocks, breathing fire on burnable objects, and in some cases you’ll be required to give Bowser an extra boost in power to best an obstacle.  This is done by having Mario and Luigi performing functions that alter Bowser’s body in many ways.  This can allow Bowser to jump up the walls to reach an enemy or gain enough strength to punch through a tough object, or possibly the ability to make Bowser bigger than life for particularly big boss battles.  This is the part of the game where you hold the DS vertically and the stylus and microphone become the primary use of battle.

There’s a ton of stuff to do and a ton of stuff to explain about Bowser’s Inside Story, but that’s how you get so much enjoyment out of the game.  The game has a ton of cool mechanics, and it manages to be enticing and diverse enough to keep the game from feeling repetitive.  This is something pretty rare in a lot of turn-based role playing games, but Mario manages to pull it off.

Overall, Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story provides a lot of variety and entertainment value to allow someone to resist squeezing some ounce of fun out of.  There isn’t much incentive to replay the game, but there is a ton of stuff to collect be it hidden treasures, blocats, badges, beans, just plenty of things to collect during the game.  Even if you manage to dodge these parts of the game though, the game is guaranteed to give you about 20 to 22 hours of game time. 

When it comes to trying to find a good handheld game in general, Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story is one that will allow you to see that Mario RPGs exist for a good reason.  To date Inside Story is easily one of if not the best game on the Nintendo DS, and quite possibly one of the best Mario games period.  Defiantly worth a buy if you find it in stores anywhere whether you like RPGs or not.

Shipping Total

4,560,000 Units
As of: December 2014

Opinion (101)

No9tro posted 03/04/2019, 01:01
@Lynx_7 Not anymore :)
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Lynx_7 posted 18/05/2014, 07:17
Waaaaay undertracked.
According to Nintendo, this has sold at least 4.13m as of April 2011. Probably more since then.
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ROFLMAO posted 26/06/2012, 02:23
I loved the Bowser sections of the game. Probably my favourite RPG outside of Pokemon.
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oniyide posted 10/10/2011, 12:50
Any game that makes me CARE about Bowser on a character level is a 9.5 for me. This puts console JRPGs to shame
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oniyide posted 10/10/2011, 12:50
Any game that makes me CARE about Bowser on a character level is a 9.5 for me. This puts console JRPGs to shame
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fedfed posted 07/06/2011, 01:58
A truly inspirtional funny game. 9.2
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