When I played the first Superstar Saga game for the GBA I was impressed. Nice graphics, tight gameplay, excellent use of RPG elements, and a comical story all added up to a fun and fulfilling gaming experience. The subsequent release Partners in Time continued with that tradition while further exploring the DS’s capabilities. Bowser’s inside story nicely continues on this trend, adding some new elements, but mostly using the tried and true formula that has made the series a hit worldwide.
The story goes like this: Fawful (veterans of the series will remember him) wants to take over the Mushroom Kingdom. He tricks Bowser into eating a vacuum mushroom, and Bowser, in turn, vacuums up our heroes into his belly. Fawful takes over Bowser’s castle and now the trio must work together to defeat this new villain.
You control either Bowser or Mario and Luigi (game shifts during the story) and each has a unique control scheme. The controls are great, with one exception. There is quite a bit of mandatory touch screen action that is imperfect and annoying (I was eating a giant carrot for a long time). I don’t mind the touch screen when it works, but every time you use the touch screen it could be done easier, faster, and better with a button combo.
That aside, the game is a solid, solid title and will keep you busy for at least 20 hours. That works out to a very reasonable $2 per hour of entertainment. Mario and Luigi is a must have for any RPG fan, but others will enjoy it as well. If you have ever liked a Mario game you should give this a try.