A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is a whimsical role-playing game in which players fight fantastical enemies (though never to the death) in highly cartoonish turn-based battles as they attempt to save the population of a paradisiacal island. Players divide their time between chatting with non-player characters, solving puzzles, and stomping on or hammering odd-looking enemies (like googly-eyed drills). The game entertains in equal measure with laughs, conundrums, and goofy-yet-surprisingly-tactical battles.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
MARIO & LUIGI: DREAM TEAM, the latest role-playing game to star Nintendo's iconic brothers, sends the duo -- along with Princess Peach and her royal retinue -- to an island paradise. There they discover a strange world of dreams and an entire population trapped inside them. The Bros embark on an adventure that sees them spending half their time exploring the three-dimensional island and its picturesque attractions, solving simple puzzles, and getting into quirky turn-based battles with a variety of weird villains. The other half of the game takes place in the dream world, a side-scrolling realm set in Luigi's slumbers. Mario is the main controllable hero here, but players can interact with Luigi's sleeping face on the lower screen, tugging at his mustache to create slingshots in his dream or tickling his nose to make him sneeze and create a giant wind to speed up or slow down time. Plus, Luigi can lend his strength to Mario by adding extra damage to enemies in battle, and he can appear as hundreds of Luigi copies that can be rolled into a ball to knock down groups of enemies like bowling pins or stacked into a tower. Expect 40 hours of diverse action, should you plan to find and do everything the game has to offer.
Is it any good?
The sheer scope and eclectic nature of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team will make it a must-have for many 3DS owners. It's a massive game that manages the impressive feat of delivering a steady stream of unexpected (and often highly unusual) play moments from start to finish. Each new area brings with it a host of specific puzzle concepts, abilities for Mario and Luigi to learn in both the dream and waking worlds, and new ways to evolve your characters. It's an impressive feat of game design and a ton of fun to play.
Of course, it's not perfect. The dialogue -- while witty and charming -- pops up too frequently and ends up bogging down the action at times. Plus, the run-of-the-mill graphics, while attractive, don't really move the ball forward for Mario & Luigi games (though some scenes -- particularly the special Bros. Powers animations -- have amazing depth when viewed in 3D). Still, there's no denying Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is polished, dense, and incredibly fun play. It's among the very best available for Nintendo's handheld.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Do you find the action in a game like Mario & Luigi: Dream Team to be violent, or does it feel more like cartoonish high-jinks? For what age, if any, would you say it might be inappropriate?
Families can also discuss humor in games. Did you think this game was funny? Why do you think humor is less common in video games than other mediums of entertainment? Is it more difficult to laugh at something in which you play an active as opposed to a passive role? Is video game comedy limited to dialogue and cinematic scenes, or can it be found in the action as well?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Subjects: Hobbies: collecting
Language & Reading: reading, reading comprehension
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, solving puzzles, strategy
Self-Direction: goal-setting, work to achieve goals
- Price: $39.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: August 11, 2013
- Genre: Role-Playing
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Mild Cartoon Violence
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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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.