Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story Game Poster Image

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story



Funny, wildly imaginative romp with cartoony combat.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game has a positive message about working as a team and helping others in need - even when you don't personally like them.

Positive role models

Some of the characters, notably Bowser, are rude, sneaky, and impatient; but the game does a good job of showing that this behavior is a liability. Many of the characters are invested in supporting each other, albeit through fighting enemies.

Ease of play

Even for those unaccustomed to RPG games, the play is simple, with lots of tutorial advice. Some of the action-based play uses timing, but it should be easy for players familiar with Mario-style platforming games.

Violence & scariness

In battles, characters punch, stomp, and hit one another with hammers to cartoony results.


Not an issue.


Not an issue.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS
Available online?Available online
Release date:September 14, 2009
Genre:Role Playing
ESRB rating:E

This review of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story was written by

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Kid, 9 years old July 13, 2014

Really Good !! Little bit bad language and mild violence .

This is a really good game . I like this game, but since it is an RPG it may be scary for younger kids because characters hit each other with hammers , stomp on each other , hurt each other ,etc. Also Mario and Luigi being in Bowser's body may be scary for younger kids .Bowser also uses bad language e.g stupid , sh*t up . The only other thing is , that some bosses like Stone Blooper and Durmite are hard to defeat for some people . I am stuck on Durmite .. But if you follow internet walkthroughs it may be easier . But for the rest this game is easy to play , since the game explains how to play the game .
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Adult Written byTimTheTVGuy October 9, 2012

Just perfect!

So I was at Kmart one day,and was looking at the video games for my Nintendo DS.This game really caught my eye.So since I had extra money,I spent it on this game.When I got home,I played this game,and it was SO AWESOME! Everything about it was perfect from the levels to the music!
Kid, 11 years old July 26, 2011

belly of the beast

Funniest game on ds! Fawful,starlow,bowser,mario,luigi and the toads are so funny and help add the atmosphre to one of the best ds games ever
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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