Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

Mario and Luigi share a fourth adventure in the real world and the dream world
SeriousGamer - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Mild Violence

Cartoon violence against non-human enemies, enemies vanish upon defeat, Mario and Luigi fall over motionless when HP is emptied.

Fantasy Magic

Dream-like abilities used by Luigi, evil magic based on nightmares used by antagonist, some enemies use magic wands, plot deals with object that can grant wishes.

Mild Spiritual Content

Character revered almost as a deity.

Mild Suggestive Humor

Character makes mildly suggestive remark played for humor.

You have to admit, you see a lot of weird things in dreams. I know I have. Some were so weird, in fact, that I could never remember what I dreamed about when I woke up. Yeah, dreams are a funny thing. Of course, if we were actually living them, we probably wouldn’t find them as funny. Just ask those two brothers who dress the part but never really do a lot of plumbing.

For three games, Mario and his often forgotten brother Luigi have been teaming up to handle bigger issues with the Mushroom Kingdom, issues that Mario really couldn’t handle on his own. First it was the whole thing with Princess Peach having her voice stolen, then it was an alien invasion (actually that took the younger versions of our heroes too), a whole plot involving bloated Toads, a certain little twerp, and an evil star. Now, they team up once again for the fourth time and the first time on the 3DS in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.

The title says ‘dream’ but is the game really a discerning Christian gamer’s nightmare? Read on.

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Plot Overview

Well, where to begin on this one? For the first time, it looks like Mario and Luigi are finally getting some R&R. They end up being invited to some place called Pi’llio Island, since it seems that the locals are bringing tourism to their humble home. The pair touch down and, with Princess Peach nearby, check into Pi’llio Castle, which apparently doubles as the hotel. Shortly after, they happen to find a stone pillow, and Luigi decides to take a little nap on it. This opens up a dreamy world for Mario to explore. Oh, and it also causes Peach to be kidnapped by a bat-like creature named Antasma.

So, I guess that rest and relaxation (and probably a lot of sleep) are not on the to-do list on Pi’llio Island.

Gameplay

If you’ve played any of the other Mario & Luigi games, you should be in good shape for Dream Team. It’s a standard RPG. Roam around the field, run into an enemy, enter battle, win battle, gain EXP to level up, solve puzzles. Repeat this process until you win the game…or lose all your HP.

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The action also takes place in the dream world, and it’s pretty much the same action, except for one difference. Mario gets some help from a version of Luigi that is apparently how Luigi views himself in his dreams. You’ll see the flesh-and-blood Luigi snoozing on the bottom screen, while the action with Mario takes place on the top screen. By using the stylus, you can manipulate Luigi in the real world and this causes things to happen in the dream world (i.e. touching Luigi’s nose will cause him to sneeze, and this sends a gale-force wind blowing through the dream world).

Offensive Content

Mild Violence

The Mario brothers were never known to be excessively violent, even though fighting is the name of the game. To be more accurate, you’ll have to do a lot of fighting in order to win the game. Combat typically involves either jumping on non-human enemies or pounding them with hammers. Enemies only vanish after you deplete their HP. Both Mario and Luigi can wield powerful attacks called Bros. Attacks that allow you to use objects like bombs and fireballs against enemies. Again, this is all played up as carton-like, so there’s nothing bloody or gory to worry about.

In certain places, you will deal with giant battles against non-human enemies. These also involve jumps and hammer attacks, although you can actually send enemies flying. One battle also requires you to knock your foe into a pool of lava that surrounds the battle arena. Your foe doesn’t suffer any serious damage.

When either Mario or Luigi lose all the HP, they fall over and remain motionless until revived. One particularly bad guy apparently dies by inflating and bursting. That’s the worst of it though, and it’s not at all bloody.

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Fantasy Magic

Dreams and nightmares provide most of the magical content in Dream Team. Certain locations are said to be particularly strong areas of power where sleeping can open dimensional portals into the dream world. Because the dreams belong to Luigi, he can accomplish a wide variety of amazing feats, such as creating duplicates of himself, changing gravity, and manipulating time to speed things up or slow them down. Because this all takes place in a dream, it feels a bit more fantasy-based than other entries in the series, which featured a power-mad witch or an evil star.

That being said, there is a darker side to this in the form of Antasma, the evil bat creature that threatens Pi’llio Island. It’s said that his powers come from nightmares, and he’s shown using them as well. He can also absorb power by feeding on the dreams of sleeping folk, and he uses almost magical means to ensure that people fall into a deep sleep. There is also mention of a dark object that Antasma has also used to grant power to himself.

We also see some of Bower’s familiar minions, the Magikoopas in action. As always, these guys ride around on brooms and wield magic wands.

And of course, no Mario game would be complete without the power of wishes, and in this game, we see this embodied in an item called the Dream Stone, an item which can grant any wish at all, good or evil.

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Mild Spiritual Content

In order to advance, Mario and Luigi are required to seek the aid of a large, bird-like creature called the Zeekeeper. The Zeekeeper is hailed as the guardian of Pi’llio Island and the pillow-like people that provide the name. The amount of praise given to the Zeekeeper seems to boarder on worship, so the bird could be assumed to be some sort of deity.

Mild Suggestive Humor

In order to reach the Zeekeeper, Mario and Luigi seek the assistance of a somewhat-flamboyant Pi’llio. He remarks how much he would like to ‘nap on’ other male characters, including Mario, Luigi, and the Pi’llio prince, Dreambert as well. Now, it could be meant in an entirely different way, given that everything in the game has to do with sleep in some form or another, but it gives the impression that this Pi’llio might have a crush on the individuals he wants to ‘nap on.’

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Positive Content

As always, Mario and Luigi and heroes through and through. They regularly go out on a limb to save not only Princess Peach, but the entire world as well. Prince Dreambert also does his best to aid the two brothers to stop the evil that threatens his people and his home. So, he’s quite a good prince.

On a more practical level, Luigi is shown to be extremely protective of his older brother, even though Mario has always stolen the spotlight. When circumstances force Luigi to grow larger in the dream world, words swirling by show that he cares a lot about Mario and will rise to protect him. That kind of brotherly love really has to be applauded.

Lastly, there’s an indirect praise for hard work as Pi’llio Island is forced to quit relying on the east path to fulfilling their dreams and wishes.

Conclusion

I admit, I wasn’t as impressed with Dream Team on a few levels. For me, it just seemed to lack the humor that really gave titles like Superstar Saga and even Partners in Time its charm. Oh, it was funny in places, but I wasn’t as impressed with it.

Humor aside, this was still a good entry into the Mario & Luigi series. It still retains a lot of the same material, so you’ll be in good shape. The new dream controls are easy to learn and frankly, pretty fun to use as well. So, from a purely game playing standard, this game is fun but, having played the others, comes a little short. The fun isn’t lost, but it’s not as fun.

As far as the Christian gamer is concerned, it’s kind of the same. The mild violence and dream (and nightmare) based magic don’t spoil the game entirely, although the mild suggestive humor does put a surprising spin into it. So, this game isn’t exactly a sweet dream, but it’s not bound to be a discerning gamer’s nightmare either. Bottom line, if you weren’t offended by any of the earlier games, you probably will enjoy Dream Team.

Oh, and one more thing. Don’t try to nap on your 3DS in between play sessions or you might need to dream up some cash for a new one.




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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