Mario & Luigi RPG 3!!! (Hands-On) (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 13.03.2009

Review for Mario & Luigi RPG 3!!! (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

There have been massive cries of anguish at the fact Nintendo and Square Enix have yet to team up for a true sequel to Super Mario RPG from the SNES, yet some fans were satiated with the Intelligent Systems-developed N64 twist on the theme, 'Paper Mario'. However, an even better replacement came along on the Game Boy Advance in the form of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga from Japanese 2nd Party AlphaDream - a game many still hold in high regard, claiming it to be one of the best GBA games of all-time. After stumbling slightly with Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time early in the DS's lifetime, the development group is back with what everyone is hoping will be a fantastic return to form. Time to check out Mario & Luigi RPG 3!!! and see what people have to look forward to…

There is somewhat of a crisis in the Mushroom Kingdom - everyone is growing exceedingly huge and rolling around. Unsure exactly what is going on, Princess Peach decides to hold an emergency meeting, in which the Italian plumbing duo of Mario and Luigi are called into attendance. As it happens, a creature called 'Yellow Star' announces it has uncovered the cause of what is being deemed as 'Metakoro Disease', but before more can be said or done on the matter, the scene changes and players are shown Bowser being caught unawares and fed what he believes to be a 'Lucky Mushroom'. It, in fact, turns out to be nothing more than an elaborate trap crafted by Fawful (the foe from past Mario & Luigi outings) in an effort to control the King of the Koopas. Fawful consequently manipulates the giant beast, making him head to Peach's castle and suck everyone and everything right up, the Mario brothers included. This starts the adventure off with Bowser appearing on his lonesome on the top screen, whilst Mario and Luigi are relegated to the inner parts of Bowser's body, shown on the touch-screen.

The basics of previous Mario RPG outings are all present and correct once more, with characters under your control wandering around the world and being able to avoid enemies, or even jump on / hit them in order to knock a few extra health points off before the main battle begins. Once the fight is underway, players take it in turns using Mario and Luigi to jump on an enemy's head (once again pressing the attack button a split second before landing to sneak in an extra bonus hit), whack them with their hammer (if they have spikes that cause harm if jumped upon, for instance - and again, timing the attack as they swing their hammers over their heads is vital to increasing the attack power), or use their special weapons (like fireballs and green turtle shells). The twist this time is that whilst Mario and Luigi are battling enemies in Bowser's stomach, play can be switched (outside of battle) to the Koopa King, who also comes across monsters whilst wandering in the overworld. His standard attack techniques are 'Punch' and 'Breath Fire', whilst he also has special attacks, such as hurling flaming Goombas at foes. In an interesting spin, Bowser can also suck some enemies into his stomach, at which point Mario and Luigi can takeover the pounding session.

Screenshot for Mario & Luigi RPG 3!!! (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

There are some definite new touches of class, even early on in the experience. For example, at one point Bowser must munch his way through a massive carrot, and the only way to get more down his humongous throat is for Mario and Luigi to help him digest the grub as quickly as possible. To carry out the task, players must tap on the carrot segments to continuously break them down into smaller and smaller pieces, before they eventually disappear. Another especially ingenious addition is a musical timing element that plays exactly like something lifted from Nintendo's own Rhythm Heaven. Bowser must pull a large carrot out of the ground (yes, the same carrot he munches on a short while later), but his muscles need a little encouragement to work to their highest capacity. Therefore, sparks are sent flying out of the muscle inside his body, red ones heading towards Mario, blue ones at Luigi, each time being spurted out in small bursts with different rhythmic timing. The player must then tap the appropriate buttons to mimic that rhythm, resulting in the brothers hitting the energy sparks back into the muscle, thus enlarging it and making Bowser stronger.

With the mixture of tried-and-tested gameplay, as well as innovative new twists to the old school formula, Mario & Luigi RPG 3!!! is already shaping up to be a great new adventure, complete with vibrant, well-detailed visuals and an extremely addictive soundtrack thrown in for good measure. Sadly there has not been any word on exactly when the game will make an appearance in the Western world, but considering how amusing the script was in both previous outings, the wait will most certainly prove to be worth it. This definitely has the potential to finally usurp Superstar Saga and show why Nintendo has entrusted the lucrative Mario RPG franchise to AlphaDream…

Screenshot for Mario & Luigi RPG 3!!! (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

Mario & Luigi 3!!! is already beginning to look like the best of the three AlphaDream-developed brotherly RPG outings, with wicked humour, the familiar tried-and-tested gameplay, as well as heaps of extra elements that flesh out the experience more than ever. All signs point towards an extremely fun-filled adventure that certainly needs a localisation as soon as possible.






Turn Based RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (4 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Sweet as. Any news on a euro release date?

I also hope they change the name for us westerners.

-Have you any idea what it's like to be a Fembot living in a Manbot's Manputer's world?

I quite like the name, to be honest - 'Superstar Saga' and 'Partners in Time' were a bit so-so. This is such a fun game, but clearly I've been missing out on much of the humour due to the language barrier. Hopefully it will see a Q3 2009 release in the US and Europe.

There are still some funny bits in that don't require translating - such as the Italian-tinged mumbling of the brothers, and how Bowser eats big chicken legs to increase his energy.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I also like how the Mario/Luigi sections are like old school 2D platformers, whilst Bowser has the 3D free-roaming sections. Also, as M&L wander to different parts of Bowser's body, they are affected by what the big guy's doing up-top. For instance, if he guzzles water whilst they're in the stomach section, the levels become water-based and the brothers must swim around...which in turn gives them access to platforms previoulsy unreachable.

The way everything interlinks is very impressive indeed...and, to be honest, I thought more people would have be interested and have thoughts on the game! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

The Bowser mechanic sounds very intriguing! I'm not a massive RPG fan so I'll have to keep a lazy eye on it from time to time, but I wasn't too enamored with Partners In Time. Glad to hear this is seeming like an improvement.

Superstar Saga was fantastic, but Partners in Time did indeed get boring pretty quickly. I like wandering around as Bowser, breathing fire at wooden creatures as he wanders around, thus setting them on fire as you jump into battle. Bowser can also progress through the overworld by burning trees down and punching away rocks. It works FAR better than controlling the Baby Mario Bros in PiT.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses


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