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Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story game review

Mario returns! It’s always an event when a new Mario game is released. That’s because Nintendo always has surprises in store when it comes to the mustachioed plumber.

Nintendo for DS/DSi
Graphics: 7.0
Sound: 9.0
Gameplay: 9.0
Replay Value: 8.0
Overall Score: 9.0
Pros: Good, long RPG; laugh-out-loud funny; unusual gameplay.
Cons: Levels and art are somewhat repetitive; graphics should be more detailed; not enough use of touchscreen.


Most of Mario’s pals are in the humorous Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. Even the title is a pun: Much of the game takes place inside Bowser’s body. The gruff dragon swallows Mario, Luigi, even Princess Peach.

You know Bowser is a bad guy, but why would he do such a thing? Blame that weird, bespectacled Fawful (from the two earlier Mario and Luigi games for DS). He entices the dragon-like turtle to swallow a Lucky Mushroom. It’s a Vacuum Mushroom that makes Bowser inhale Mario and the gang.

There’s much more to the story. Citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom have eaten The Blorbs. It makes them grow into big bloated balls that roll around uncontrollably. It’s like a huge epidemic has taken over.

Does it all have to do with Fawful? Maybe. Fawful is such a weird guy. The character that originally appeared in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga talks like Yoda-meets-E.T. He also wants the Mushroom Kingdom for his own dastardly plans.


In this multilayered role-playing game (RPG), it’s up to you to save the day. You get to play as Mario and Luigi deep within the guts of Bowser. You also get to play as Bowser, who’s trying to save his castle from Fawful.

As with any RPG, you have to level up constantly to gain more power. That’s because you need more strength to battle the bigger bosses. Sometimes you have to beat the same creatures over and over again. But that’s the nature of this beast: There are only so many varieties of enemies that fit into any RPG.

However, the Mario & Luigi portion of the game often plays like a platformer. You have to run and jump through Bowser’s guts to proceed in the game. If you’ve never played an RPG before, this is a great way to ease into it. When you level up, you get a kind of pat on the back for doing so. It all makes you feel sure and powerful.

To help you in your fighting, you can earn special badges that protect you along the way. Find them during play or buy them in The Shop with coins you’ve collected.


The coolest early powerup you get is a green shell. You use it almost like a hockey player does a puck. Mario shoots it into an enemy and it rebounds off the baddie to Luigi. As the puck moves faster and faster, you knock it back between the brothers and the monster to eliminate it. But you have to be precise. If you don’t kick the green shell at the right time, either Mario or Luigi will miss it and fall down.

At another point, there’s something like a virus bug inside Bowser. One thing you have to do to get rid of it is jump on the thing’s tongue. Later, you deal with a weapon called Super Ultra Wonder Ultimate Ruthless Great Iron Ball. And watch out for the Super Ultra Great Mega Trashy Monster Bot.

Whoever wrote the game’s script is a true goob. It’s hilarious. Now and then, you might even miss a move or hit due to a fit of laughter.


Mario and Luigi help Bowser, but that doesn’t mean Bowser doesn’t have anything to do. In his portion of the game, he deals with all manner of monsters and kooks, including an odd Frenchman stranded on an island. If you take the rope and pull the island to shore (with help from the plumbers inside Bowser), the Frenchman gives you a special powerup.

Sometimes Bowser becomes a giant when he fights, so much so that you have to turn the DS vertically to witness the sheer size of the battle. Here, you’ll use the DS stylus to attack. But you can’t simply brawl. You have to hit at exactly the right time. Early on, you’re told that the baddies will give a signal regarding how they will attack you. So keep your eyes open to win.

Exhaling into the microphone will make Bowser breathe fire during these battles. Breathe deeply and blow hard.


If you like the old-school games, you’ll love some of the mini games. One is a tribute to the classic Space Invaders game. There’s just so much variety in Bowser’s Inside Story gameplay, you won’t get a better deal (unless you buy the upcoming Pokemon in October).

Some folks have quibbled, saying Nintendo doesn’t have the great games this year. Sure, there’s no new Zelda for Wii, and we’ll have to wait another year for Super Mario Galaxy 2. But truly great games like Bowser’s Inside Story should silence many naysayers. It’s the must-have Nintendo game for the DS this season.

58 Comments on Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story game review

  1. webelosgragon // November 25, 2009 at 9:27 am // Reply

    great game

  2. i dont but i may have cheats

  3. everybody at school thinks its boring but I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Let`s Go!(Ha Ha!)

  5. I am SO good at this. In one file, I have Bowser in final boss rank, and the bros at rainbow rank. I also have ALL the blittys! This game NEVER gets old!

  6. i can’t figure out how to make bowser jump on the ds game can you tell me

    • I think someone said that how to make bowser jump and I think its toot anyway you can’t make bowser jump okay, bowser is heavy and how can he jump when he’s heavy but he can do punch,spit fire,do a body slam and he can turn into a spiky ball and the person who did not figure that out did not use there head.

    • if you can make bowser do a body slam then you can jump by pressing y once, but you cant jump & move forward. at Bowser Castle there are bob-ombs that you have to let by by jumping.

  7. Red Poke'oopa: Riolu // November 18, 2009 at 3:18 pm // Reply

    My friend has this game…AND IS ON THE FINAL BOSS! 🙂 🙂

  8. I have it but i need a tip. 😛

    • tip:If your stuck on a boss just go on you tube and put how to defeat the boss that your stuck on and at the end look what level they go on then try to reach that level or more and try again.

  9. what kind of game is this

  10. Video game man // November 13, 2009 at 8:17 pm // Reply

    I have it and it is great!!! 😉 ;):)

  11. mairoman5556 // November 12, 2009 at 7:08 pm // Reply

    i’m stuck on the apla guys i’s so hard!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. All kids should play this game.:)

  13. I used a DS Action on it and it completely screwed up my game! 😦

  14. It’ cool

  15. I like that game!Its fun!!!

  16. I like that game!Its fun!!!!!!!!

  17. this game is da bom 🙂

  18. yo this game is da bom 🙂

  19. This game (Like all the Mario and Luigi Games) is AWESOME.
    I got it on the day it came out in North America.

  20. Dark Star Core // November 1, 2009 at 11:05 pm // Reply

    i can beat midbus, wisdurm, knock over chakron, defeat junker, blizzard midbus, dark fawful, dark star core, and dark bowser for those who need help.

  21. I’m a Mario fan so i can’t wait to play it!

  22. it is so cool

  23. I love this game.


  25. HOW DO YOU BEAT THE GAME!!!!!!!!

  26. For all you out there I hav beaten Midbus!Ask me if you need help.

  27. I cant beat alpha cretin! IT IS SOOO HARD!!!

  28. I have the game it is so cool I just got the koopa corps the’re so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Dat was GREAT!!!!!!!!!!

  30. I want the game on Ds.

  31. Pedero, that’s simple! you just need to control bowser, lead him into the water the monster spits out water. I’ll leave the rest up to you.

  32. midbus is really easy

  33. interensting

  34. How do you get past the Pump Works after you beat the Sea Pipe Statue?

  35. thats a fun game

  36. I have this game. Rock out!

  37. best mario game ever midbus is hard but u get a lot of coins

  38. it is very hard to beat midbus

  39. I wish I had a DSI

  40. dis game is awseome but expensive. its so cool 🙂

  41. i beat the game

  42. Mario and luigi guru // October 24, 2009 at 8:44 am // Reply

    I already beat lots of bosses but somehow i feel connected to this game or transformed.

  43. i want that game

  44. I have the game but i’m stuck on the pump works part.

  45. i want a nintendo ds so bad $)

  46. i want it.

  47. i like it to

  48. I need that game!


  50. Sounds like it’s a bit on the pricy side… But it also sounds interesting, and the story line seems seems different from other Mario games. On the other hand, it seems like its the simple 6 year old fighting game. I don’t know what to think…

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