Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story follows a familiar recipe. An amazing long term franchise combined with the RPG formula really can't lose! I'm just wrapping up this game and I have a few thoughts I'd like to share with you now.
The combat is easy to learn with a few twists that make it hard to master. Being able to dodge and counter-attack enemies attacks will help you survive tough battles, but once you learn the pattern it can make many things trivially easy. Luckily they have new enemies in nearly every area, making the player need to learn the fights again, with only a few re-skins of previous enemies and abilities.
The classic cliche equipment system of every RPG is in attendance, but as you progress in the game you rarely need to upgrade your equipment, making the system feel largely unnecessary in the long run. They also added in a few things, such as their Badge system, which get introduced and then ignored. I think in the whole game I found one place that had Badge upgrades, and they never got any new stock.
The mini-games are diverse and happen constantly, but at some point in the game they switched instantly from much too easy to frustratingly hard. The only loss from failing one is a few coins and a retry, but when you end up redoing the same mini-game four times because you messed up in the last 10 seconds it can get pretty annoying.
The story is not your normal Mario arc, since Bowser fails to kidnap Peach this time and instead accidentally swallows the whole cast. Most of the game takes place either using Bowser to fight, or having Mario and Luigi explore the inside of Bowser's body. No real big surprises in the storyline or anything, but really, what can you expect from a Mario game?
What this game really shines at is charm. It oozes fun from every available pore, and every time Mario and Luigi interacted with each other or Bowser tried to intimidate someone I found myself grinning like a six year old watching cartoons. It was nice to see a real personality breathed into these characters, and they were all really enjoyable to watch.
Overall I enjoyed Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story enough to buy any new Mario RPGs that come out, and give my hats off to Nintendo for creating another solid game.
Which is your favorite Mario game? Which is better, Classic or Modern Mario? Drop me a line and let me know!