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Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this newest Mario role-playing game features a complex, fantastical narrative that may frighten (or simply baffle) very young players. And with battles at the heart of the gamplay, characters do inflict pain on each other. But for kids old enough to read, this is a charming story with brilliantly designed and executed gameplay, set in the colorful and familiar Mushroom Kingdom.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
The quirky, often hilarious narrative begins when Mario's nemesis, Bowser, eats a mushroom that makes him inhale everyone in the kingdom. Mario and Luigi must escape from the innards of Bowser and rescue the others trapped inside, including Princess Peach. Simultaneously, Bowser needs to find his way back to the kingdom before his castle is hijacked by Fawful, the nefarious mad scientist. Players switch between the Luigi/Mario team and Bowser to battle enemies and solve puzzles. At times, all three must work in tandem. For instance, by hitting nerve clusters, Marios & Luigi increase Bowser's strength; conversely, Bowser's behavior will have an impact on the characters inside. For example, Bowser can flood an environment by drinking water, giving Mario & Luigi access to an important switch.
Is it any good?
This is a delightful and ingenious game. It beautifully and simply incorporates role-playing battles, platforming, and puzzle-solving into an engaging journey that's easy to follow. Sound, graphics, and story are all artfully done and integrated seamlessly into a single package. But perhaps most fun here are the characters and dialogue. From Fawful's nonsensical speeches, to the Mario Bros. mock Italian gibberish and Bowser's arrogant rants, each is given distinct personality and humor.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the concept of teamwork. Different characters have skills that are unique and necessary to completing the game. How do they work together and complement one another?
With an enormous number of environments and characters, families can talk about their favorites. Characters also have special items and skills. What were some that were most fun?
Did you want to play this game because you already love all things Mario? Or did advertisements influence your desire? How effective is advertising?
For kids who love role-playing games
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.