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Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s 3DS Game Review

An underappreciated classic comes to the 3DS.

Reviewed by on Jan 21, 2019
Rating: 5 Star Rating

The Mario & Luigi series gets another port onto the 3DS and gives us another chance to dive into Nintendos wacky RPG. Check out Kidzworlds thoughts on the latest game to hit the 3DS, Mario & Luigi: Bowsers Inside Story!

By: Max Cannon

With the 3DS seemingly reaching the end of its years, we've been seeing a handful of ports to the stellar handheld machine including last year's port of the original Luigi's Mansion. While the stellar Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga got an awesome remaster on the 3DS in 2017, Bowser's Inside Story is the highlight of the trilogy and the best Mario & Luigi RPG, if you've played it on the original DS then you may not feel a need to replay the game but this is a great opportunity for newcomers.

Classic Thoughts on a Classic Game

Here's a quick look at what we had to say about the original release of the game way back in 2009:

"You won't be playing as Mario & Luigi too much, as most of the story focuses on Bowser. Other complaints include the characters, who sometimes talk too much, and the giant battles, where you have to hold the DS vertically and awkwardly.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey Trailer 


If you loved the previous Mario & Luigi games, you will love this one as well. The story is great and funny and the battle action is intense. Overall, the game is great, possibly the best game in the series yet. Even if you do not like RPGs, you will find enjoyment in the battle system of Mario & Luigi."

There aren't many games that age well over a decade, and though there are a few slight changes in this release, Bowser's Inside Story may feel even better now than it did back then. This quirky and original story is as charming and engaging as an RPG could possibly be. 

Though there are two games in this package, Bowser's Inside Story is the crown jewel.Though there are two games in this package, Bowser's Inside Story is the crown jewel.Courtesy of Nintendo

Eat It Up

This story is fantastically ridiculous. Toads are blowing up to gigantic proportions and Bowser has inhaled members of the Mushroom Kingdom, including Mario and Luigi! At the beginning of the game, your time is split between controlled Mario and Luigi within Bowser and controlling the Koopa King himself, who is an unsurprisingly hilarious character. As our original review pointed out, the characters do talk a lot but they're normally funny enough to make up for it and holding down R will let you fast-forward through those wordy conversations. The story is motivating enough to push you through the adventure but luckily the gameplay is as stellar as it's ever been in the series.

Holding down R to speed up cutscenes will help return players breeze through the familiar parts.Holding down R to speed up cutscenes will help return players breeze through the familiar parts.Courtesy of Nintendo

This is a turn-based RPG which means that you'll be boosting stats and taking turns attack enemies in fights. The major appeal of any Mario RPG is the focus on timed presses. While most RPGs simply have a back and forth "you hit me and I'll hit you" type of battle, these games allow you to jump to dodge, defend, and even counterattack by pressing the right button at the right time during a fight. Timing your attacks will also increase your damage-dealt too. This system keeps things far more engaging than the competition.

Timed attacks keep those turn-based fights interesting.Timed attacks keep those turn-based fights interesting.Courtesy of Nintendo

Exploring Inside and Out

Your exploration inside Bowser's body is a traditional side-scrolling layout familiar to any Mario fan, aside from the game's map which lets you move around the body quickly. When you're in the outside world, whether as Bowser or the Mario Brothers, it's a top-down Zelda-esque looking world. The outside world is definitely more explorable than the mostly linear insides of Bowser but you're constantly unlocking new locations to explore as you play. 

Playing as Bowser feels different than playing as Mario or Luigi.Playing as Bowser feels different than playing as Mario or Luigi.Courtesy of Nintendo

If you're checking out this re-release you may notice the inclusion of a game called Bowser Jr's Journey. This is a completely new story, however, it's painfully short and, to be blunt, it's not very fun. The story here gives you a little deeper look into the events surrounding the main game, and it's as funny as ever, but the gameplay is so simple and losing that engagement that makes the main package so excellent. If you're picking up this game then it's going to be for Bowser's Inside Story rather than Bowser Jr's Journey.

Final Thoughts

Bowser's Inside Story is an essential play for fans of the Mario RPGs. The story is charming, the gameplay is a blast, and the improved visuals make this a welcome addition to the 3DS. 


  • Great Writing
  • Improved Visuals
  • Engaging RPG System 


  • Bowser Jr's Journey Disappoints

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story 3DS Game Rating:5

Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story Box ArtMario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story 3DS Box ArtCourtesy of Nintendo

Available now for Nintendo 3DS

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