A great rpg for newcomers, and the hardcore.
Mario and Luigi : Bowser's Inside Story utilizes an original take on the traditional turn based rpg combat, keeping you more involved with the game, making you utilize timing specific actions to not only damage your foes directly, but counter their attacks to keep your ass out of trouble. You have a special skill that involves taking a green turtle shell out of your pocket to promptly kick at the enemy, In a traditional rpg you would press confirm and that would be the end of it but in M&L:B.I.S the shell will bounce of your enemy at your other party member, initiating a timing based game in which you repeatedly bounce the shell back and forth between Mario and Luigi using the enemy as a target. All the combat in the game works like this, its extremely exciting and makes it so you will rarely be felt left out, like you can just breeze through the game. You must work to survive, you must work to destroy.
The adventure portion of this title splits between two sections, Mario and Luigi played events and Bowser played events. Playing as the Mario Brothers typically has you wondering through various parts of Bowser's insides in a side scrolling platformer style. Need to get up to that far away platform? No worries! Just take your trusty hammer and beat the heck out of bowsers stomach, until something in his body changes to allow you get there!
I know thats not terribly descriptive, but Im a pretty terrible writer, its easier to talk about this stuff, get off my back.
Say a giant boulder were to fall on top of Bowser, You would take control of Mario and Luigi, venture to the proper body sections, and play a mini game to give bowser the proper lifting strength to get this boulder off of himself before he dies. (The mini games are all incredibly well done, and pretty fun) It's slightly insane that hitting a muscle for a little while can make Bowser grow to the size of a castle to fight...well...a castle but the fact that it is there is awesome.
The story is absurd, but in a way, totally awesome. The Mushroom Kingdom is plagued with a terrible illness called The Blorbs, a disease that is making all the Toad's grow to immense proportions. Blorbs, inflicted by the villain from the first title Fawful, is as you quickly learn the beginning of a nasty plan for Fawful to take over the Mushroom Kingdom. Step two of said plan involves giving King Koopa himself, Bowser, a mushroom that makes him swallow the inhabitants of Peach's castle (Including Mario and Luigi of course). Im not going to get much more into the story here, however I will say that despite the fact that the story isnt terribly original, the characters are fantastic, Fawful is wonderfully localized using his broken english to insult the Mario brothers and Bowser. You play probably over half of this title as Bowser, and let me say it's about damn time he got his own game. His idiotic, buffoonish attitude about everything in the game is incredibly entertaining and left me with a newly formed respect for our usual Mario antagonist. He's still evil, but, enjoyably so, Finding a way to save the mushroom kingdom, but only so he can dominate it later.
I don't really know what else to say about the gameplay. There a few things that got on my nerves, you only have the ability to do one special ability at time as your wondering through the world, so you end up pausing for 10 seconds, switching your skills through use of the R button to get past a small obstacle, only to stop again, pause for another 10 seconds, and switch your skill immediately. It gets insanely repetitive after awhile, but right when it starts to really bug you, something will happen to change up the gameplay so you don't lose your mind. Another minor complaint I have is simply the difficulty of the game, Its short for an RPG (I finished it around 25 hours clocked in) and the game itself never really presented a challenge. I got caught up on the final boss for longer than I should have, but for the most part I felt like I was just walking through the game..which Isn't necessarily a flaw..Just worth nothing. And one more thing before I go, I mentioned earlier the incredible localization that was involved in this game. The dialogue is fantastic, One of the funniest games ive ever played, every line of dialogue is clever and inventive...however...there are too many lines of dialogue. Seemingly unimportant characters will ramble on and on for what seems like an eternity and sometimes you just want them to shut up. Too much of a good thing, is still TOO MUCH.
To keep it simple, If you have a DS and like rpgs, or if you've never played an rpg and would like to give one a shot this is the perfect game for you. The complaints, too much talking, annoying skill selection, is so minor that it's not worth skipping this game over. The 25 hours I spent with this title was 25 hours perfectly spent. You don't need to have played the previous titles in the franchise to enjoy this title, it's a perfect stand alone game and one you should all pick up. Can't recommend it enough.