Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. (Nintendo 3DS) Review

Review for Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

After the sheer class of Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga on Game Boy Advance, and the two Nintendo DS releases, Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time and the 10/10-rated Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Japanese developer AlphaDream is back for a fourth outing. RPG adventure fans can rest easy in the knowledge that Mario and Luigi: Dream Team Bros. on Nintendo 3DS is no misstep…but let us not get too far ahead. Some details emerge!

The hapless duo returns! Well, 'hapless' seems harsh, since, after all, Mario and Luigi are the saviours in pretty much every game they star in. However, the comical spin in the Mario and Luigi series of RPGs makes them extremely amusing in their bumbling, over-the-top Italian muttering way, with all manner of weird and wacky antics to help the action flow nicely. This fourth in the turned-based role-playing series sees Princess Peach being kidnapped by an evil bat king called King Antasma, with the damsel in distress being whisked off from the resort of Pi'illo Island to a place called Dream World.

It is then up to the Mario Brothers to scour the land, looking for special pillows that Luigi can rest his head on in order to open up portals for Mario to leap into, at which point he is joined by a 'Dreamy Luigi' and eventually delve deeper and deeper into Luigi's unconscious mind - Inception style - before freeing her, and triggering Bowser-related events that take the adventure in a different slant. Sounds absolutely mad, right? Well, that is simply because it is a Mario and Luigi RPG! Honestly, after the antics of controlling both grown up and baby Mario and Luigis in Partners in Time and being actually within Bowser's body for Bowser's Inside Story, merely going into Luigi's head and meeting his inner self is relatively normal, all things considered!

Screenshot for Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Whatever the case, any excuse to resume the fantastical fun of this series is acceptable, since the core gameplay mechanics of old are back and as enjoyable as ever, as is the hilarity of past titles (that sadly is now absent from the Paper Mario games), and the stunning soundtrack. The fact that the visuals almost hark back to the pseudo-3D modelling of Super Mario RPG is just the icing on what is already a delicious cake that never becomes sickly. Some may forget that AlphaDream consists of former Squaresoft members that worked on the SNES Mario role-playing title - Tetsuo Mizuno and Chihiro Fujioka - as well as many other Square classics from the 16-bit era. This is potentially why older fans enjoy this series more than the Paper Mario titles from Intelligent Systems.

Wander around the playing field and strike enemies to gain a head start advantage, and then proceed to time jumps and hammer hits perfectly to inflict extra damage each turn, or fend off damage sustained when opponents get their turn. Build up extra bonuses each round when Badges are equipped that can help turn the tide of longer boss fights, and make best use of the powerful Bros. attacks that again rely on good timing to smash home with the strongest of hits. The added beauty here is that the 3D actually plays a useful part. Okay, it is not mandatory, and even is encouraged to be turned off when using moves that require smart gyroscope movement, but when on, attacks that take place going into or coming out of the screen are wondrous. Equally, the 3D helps when checking if an enemy is about to attack Mario or Luigi, with their little telltale signs being moderately more apparent thanks to the added depth.

Screenshot for Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Dream Team Bros. is everything that Bowser's Inside Story was, with all manner of creative new features, most in the form of 'Luiginary' features, such as throwing the lean, green brother into constellations in the sky of the dreamy land and then interacting with his sleeping face on the touch screen to make Mario latch on to parts of his moustache in order to launch him - slingshot style - to new, unreachable areas, or even tickling Luigi's schnozzle to make him sneeze, thus blowing objects from the background to the foreground, as well as spin platforms around. It does not stop there, either, since piles and piles of Luigis can be built up in a ladder form to carry Mario around where it necessitates, or even use a tornado of green folk to traverse gaps in platforms. Mario can even jump aboard a ball of his brothers and roll around to collect more before slamming an enemy with a barrage of green or use a giant Luigi-made hammer, all in an attempt to free all the Pi'illo folk from the confines of Dark Stone fragments that Antasma trapped them in before scattering them all over.

Ultimately, Mario and Luigi must travel far and wide to prevent the Dream Stone artefact from falling into the wrong hands, since it will grant Bowser and Antasma the power to rule the world. Along the way there are the usual antics expected from the series, with quirky characters, hilarious situations throughout, amazing reactions from characters and the brothers Mario themselves that always raise a smile, plus the standard gorgeous soundtrack full of melodious tunes that stay lodged in the mind long after switching the 3DS off.

Screenshot for Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Mario and Luigi: Dream Team Bros. is the sort of adventure that just keeps on giving, with the transition from world to world being smoother than in Bowser's Inside Story, and although it does not come with that fresh feeling of the second DS game, that is simply because rather than coming off the back of a slightly disappointing game, it is the successor to a marvellous title that was amongst the best on the Nintendo DS, full stop.

With humour, stacks of extras, wonderful presentation values, and a refined version of the gameplay of old (some features of the game become readily available earlier on to prevent 'collect-a-thon' boredom kicking in towards the final stages), this fourth entry lifts itself right up to the top of the tree of 3DS smash hits already out on the market right now. This, without a doubt, deserves to follow in the footsteps of the strong selling Bowser's Inside Story.

Screenshot for Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. on Nintendo 3DS- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Tried and tested, polished to perfection, but with a few tweaks to the old formula that brings some of the more tiresome elements back into the realm of 'interesting' instead (long-winded collecting quests arrive earlier, and spreading them out over the main adventure works far better). This is as close as people are likely to get to Super Mario RPG 2.


The use of 3D is really well implemented, which comes as quite the pleasant surprise, as it offers up all sorts of uses, from general attacks coming out of, or going into, the screen, through to helping identify which brother enemies are to attack. The little pseudo-3D character models are as lively and wacky as their 2D counterparts of old, meaning none of the charm of yore is lost.


Simply stunning tunes that lodge themselves in the mind long after the 3DS has been closed; another triumph of the aural variety! Also, as per usual, the sound effects - especially the Mario Bros. chattering away in dodgy Italian accents - really add to the light-hearted, more often than not comical, ambience throughout.


Aimlessly wandering around is great fun as nearly all non-playable characters have something amusing to add, but the game does not leave players to get lost, offering enough hand-holding to keep progress on the right track. With plenty of side missions to complement the already meaty adventure, it will be tough to take the Mario and Luigi: Dream Team Bros. cartridge out of its slot!

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

An absolutely resounding success that follows on superbly from the amazing Bowser's Inside Story. Whilst not coming off as quite as fresh as the Nintendo DS adventure, Mario and Luigi: Dream Team Bros. takes everything that made its predecessor so majestic and throws in a brand new crazy storyline full to the brim with thrills, spills, and stacks of hilarity. In the midst of such sterling efforts on 3DS lately, AlphaDream's latest really deserves to shine bright.

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Also known as

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team






Turn Based RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Can't wait to play this one. If it's anywhere near as good as Bowser's Inside Story, I'm gonna love every minute of it =p

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

THIS is the Mario RPG I'd been waiting for. After the massive disappointment of Paper Mario Sticker Star, this more than makes amends!

Loved Bowser's Inside Story, and love this to bits Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I was a big fan of Paper Mario on the N64, and missed the follow up (which is damn impossible to find in shops) So like you said I was disappointed to hear the reviews of Sticker Star.

I only recently seen the trailer for this and it did excite me to see some simularities to the PM. I have not played the other ones though so shall I get those first? Or will it be okay for me to hope straight into this one?

.....or I could just borrow yours Raz Smilie

<:: Lee Sanders :: Cubed-3 :: News Reporter :: Writer :: Head Of Secret Operations:: Resisdentual Slacker ::> On Twitter = LeeTSanders I have a Cubed3 limited Edition mug!
DO YOU! So Cute -
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

There's no story connection - maybe a few in jokes but no more - so you're safe to try in any order'

Really pleased to see this start so strong in the UK this week!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Petey (guest) 17.07.2013 17:59#5

When is due in the US? I can't wait! Sticker Star was okay, but lacked the fun of 64 and TTYD.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

11th August, under the name 'Mario and Luigi: Dream Team' rather than Dream Team Bros.

I'm surprised we got it so early!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Spectacular game! Nintendo and AlphaDream need to make more RPGs, they have a nack for it!

( Edited 20.07.2013 02:36 by jb )

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer
Eggbert the Seventh (guest) 20.07.2013 02:37#8

Love Dream Team. If only you could play as Waluigi and Wario as a bonus lol

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

AlphaDream definitely needs to be given a chance to release other RPGs. I'd love to see another Tomato Adventure. It was such a shame that GBA game never got localised.

Eggbert the Seventh (guest) said:
Love Dream Team. If only you could play as Waluigi and Wario as a bonus lol

I always thought a Wario & Waluigi adventure would be hilarious. Maybe one day it will become a reality...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Staff Member

This is one 3DS game I still need to pick up, among others such as Luigi's Mansion 2, Paper Mario: SS, Code of Princess and maybe others which I forgot about too.

Keanu (guest) 08.08.2013 11:43#11

Why isn't it on the normal ds?!

Staff Member

Keanu (guest) said:
Why isn't it on the normal ds?!
Because Nintendo has to focus on their current platforms. The DS had around 5 years of limelight, it irks me when people say "Why couldn't they do this on the DS?" when a whole new generation has been around for a couple of years now. I understand that not everyone can afford a 3DS, but that still doesn't excuse their ignorance regarding the evolution of console generations.

But whens the GBA verison out?

<:: Lee Sanders :: Cubed-3 :: News Reporter :: Writer :: Head Of Secret Operations:: Resisdentual Slacker ::> On Twitter = LeeTSanders I have a Cubed3 limited Edition mug!
DO YOU! So Cute -
jimmy (guest) 10.02.2014 14:28#14

i love this game

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

What surprises me about this is that it has failed to hit the dizzy heights that the third game on DS did. Such a shame. In Japan it's sold less than Sticker Star. Hopefully Nintendo doesn't take that as a sign...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
ian (guest) 04.03.2014 14:25#16

ive beaten the game and tried out hard mode its really hard you cant die

oh yeah if you die you start from the last save pointSmilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Wow, that would be frustrating if you'd forgot to save for quite some time and then died!! Smilie

Have you also played Bowser's Inside Story?

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Staff Member

I've decided that the incessant tutorials are possibly a side effect of people being unwilling to fail, or to learn through failure. We have 5 minute tutorials for one minute mini-games and battle tutorials where heavy concepts like "Jump on the enemies!" are dropped on us because everyone has to succeed at everything all the time. It's simply not acceptable to lose a mini-game or, even worse, die in battle.

Opening the game with an "Are you paying attention" quiz which immediately launches into a unskippable tutorial makes Dream Team almost unplayable for me. Tutorials default to "Yes,"* and, to highlight my previous point, the annoying Toad will ask you if you want the tutorial *every time you fail* the timed attack or fail to dodge the attack. It's totally unacceptable to just keep trying until you get it right. No, we MUST have an exposition fairy telling players what to do.

I'd really love it if developers would remember that the average gamer isn't an australopithicus that time warped to the modern world and can't figure out "Jump on enemies to attack them!" without help in a Mario game.

* Which makes two elements actively trying to keep me from getting further into the game, where I can figure things out of my own accord. There's the attention quiz, which is a not-so-subtle warning that spamming the A button is a bad idea, and tutorials defaulting to "Yes, please tell me how to Jump".

I just... want... to play the game...

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