Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Eclectic and engaging RPG with light, cartoonish action.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Themes of bravery, respect, loyalty, selflessness, and chivalry run throughout the game. It’s also a thinking game. Players are encouraged to explore, discover, and then put the information they glean through conversations and observation to use solving a variety of fantastical puzzles.

Positive role models

As always, Mario and Luigi play the selfless heroes. They're out to help Peach at first, and later an entire population of people trapped in a dream world. They do this not only through combat against clearly dastardly enemies, but also by chatting with the locals, helping them, and solving puzzles within the environment.

Ease of play

The action is forgiving to start, requiring little more than a rudimentary sense of timing. Loads of onscreen instructions and an always-accessible in-game guide provide all the direction most kids should need. Difficulty ramps up gradually over time, but the ability to save at virtually any point outside of battle means players need never lose much progress. If you fail a battle you have the option to restart rather than reverting to the last save; and if you fail several times you can switch on an easy mode that slows down time that makes it much simpler to time your moves at key moments.

Violence

Mario and Luigi stomp on enemies -- an odd mix of fantastical creatures including crabs, cacti, and clocks -- with their feet, hit them with oversized mallets, and use a variety of more unusual attacks ranging from fireballs to a giant ball of dream Luigis that flattens all enemies in its path. The two brothers occasionally get knocked onto their bums, become stunned, or faint from exertion. It's all highly cartoonish and without any blood. Defeated characters are assumed to be knocked out rather than killed.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is part of Nintendo's popular Mario and Luigi line of games. Countless products targeted at kids -- including toys, board games, and shows -- bear the likenesses of characters featured in this game.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

No privacy or safety concerns.

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • reading comprehension

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • solving puzzles
  • strategy

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • work to achieve goals

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Instantly engaging. The witty narrative and fun, intuitive design combine to ensure kids old and young will be hooked from the moment Mario and Luigi begin their adventure together.

Learning Approach

Contextual conundrums are baked into to the action. Kids will develop the strategies required in battle over time and with experience.

Support

All the information players need to play is presented in-game the first time it's needed and remains readily accessible within the main menu from that point on. It offers different levels in battles.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • reading comprehension

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • solving puzzles
  • strategy

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • work to achieve goals

Kids can learn about strategy and puzzle solving in this bright and engaging turn-based role-playing game. Players will solve a variety of world-based puzzles while adventuring, figuring out how to get past obstacles, and unlocking new areas using the brothers' special abilities. They'll also need to work out strategies for combat, identifying enemy tells through careful observation, and discerning ways to exploit weaknesses. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team keeps kids thinking while they're having fun exploring two new worlds. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo 3DS
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 (Nintendo 3DS)

This review of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

For kids who love Mario and action games

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old November 23, 2013
 

3D for ages 7 and up

This game is awesome! Just like any other Mario RPG, you have to battle enemies while collecting items that will heal your HP! Just don't leave the 3D on for too long...
Kid, 11 years old January 2, 2014
 

Fun game has a great story

This game follows a story as you play, which is the main reason this game is so great. You constantly get stunned by the characters appearances, and the game is so full of life, EVEN when your in the dream world! What I love about Nintendo is that it's known as "the Disney of video games" because of excellent story and you are tuned while playing (plus these games are clean, just like Disney).
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Safety and privacy concerns
Adult Written byJEDI micah February 14, 2014
 
LEARNING

Bizarre, yet VERY entertaining!

I have never seen a more weird and bizarre Mario game ever, and this one is completely different from what you'd expect from Nintendo's famous icon. But that is ok, cause this game is absolutely fantastic! Mario and Luigi make a great team together, doing all these cool and unique RPG battles! The dialogue, which is abundant in this game, is also very humorous! There's so much to do in this game! I highly recommend it to any 3DS owner!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?
Thanks – we appreciate your feedback!

Digital Compass