|Release: August 11, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Mild Cartoon Violence|
Behind the usual zaniness are some touching moments that shine the spotlight on Mario and Luigi's relationship as brothers. Although they only speak in unintelligible gobbledegook that is interpreted by other characters, the game's superb sprite work clearly shows their emotions. We see Mario as the devoted older brother who never gives up on Luigi and graciously takes a supporting role when Luigi's dream powers bring him to the forefront. We also see Luigi as the younger brother who idolizes Mario and dreams of throwing off his own reputation as a clumsy screw-up. It's rare that we see sibling relationships explored in games, and it's quite heartwarming to experience this human side of Nintendo's venerable mascots.
The high-quality sprites for Mario, Luigi, and the game's other characters aren't the only bright spots in its audiovisual presentation. Both the 3D Regular World and the 2D Dream World settings are sharp and vivid. Each Dream World is a weird, topsy-turvy version of the area from which it was accessed, giving plenty of diversity to the Dream World environments. Great animation brings everything to life, from the movements of each individual Luigi in a Luigi stack to the over-the-top moves in Giant Battles.
Although it's not up to the standard of Nintendo's best Mario soundtracks (I miss you, Mario Galaxy), the music in Dream Team is high quality and catchy. The sound effects are great, and Charles Martinet's memorable Mario and Luigi voice clips are used to good effect. There's still no real voice acting in the game, but considering the outrageous accents many of the characters have, that's probably just as well. What's funny in text could easily be mauled by a voice actor.
Now in its fourth incarnation, the Mario & Luigi RPG series keeps things fresh by adding crazy new gameplay concepts into each game. The Dream World is the best of these so far, and allows the game's creators to advance Mario and Luigi's character development in a way that's rarely seen from Nintendo. A game that feels fresh and fun throughout, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is recommend for anybody with decent reflexes. Role-playing fans will be happy that unlike Paper Mario: Sticker Star, this game retains its RPG elements. Other gamers will simply enjoy the solid gameplay, colorful world, and the sense of humor and fun that pervades the entire experience.
Date: August 7, 2013