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Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story game review

Mario returns! It’s always an event when a new Mario game is released. That’s because Nintendo always has surprises in store when it comes to the mustachioed plumber.

Nintendo for DS/DSi
Graphics: 7.0
Sound: 9.0
Gameplay: 9.0
Replay Value: 8.0
Overall Score: 9.0
Pros: Good, long RPG; laugh-out-loud funny; unusual gameplay.
Cons: Levels and art are somewhat repetitive; graphics should be more detailed; not enough use of touchscreen.


Most of Mario’s pals are in the humorous Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. Even the title is a pun: Much of the game takes place inside Bowser’s body. The gruff dragon swallows Mario, Luigi, even Princess Peach.

You know Bowser is a bad guy, but why would he do such a thing? Blame that weird, bespectacled Fawful (from the two earlier Mario and Luigi games for DS). He entices the dragon-like turtle to swallow a Lucky Mushroom. It’s a Vacuum Mushroom that makes Bowser inhale Mario and the gang.

There’s much more to the story. Citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom have eaten The Blorbs. It makes them grow into big bloated balls that roll around uncontrollably. It’s like a huge epidemic has taken over.

Does it all have to do with Fawful? Maybe. Fawful is such a weird guy. The character that originally appeared in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga talks like Yoda-meets-E.T. He also wants the Mushroom Kingdom for his own dastardly plans.


In this multilayered role-playing game (RPG), it’s up to you to save the day. You get to play as Mario and Luigi deep within the guts of Bowser. You also get to play as Bowser, who’s trying to save his castle from Fawful.

As with any RPG, you have to level up constantly to gain more power. That’s because you need more strength to battle the bigger bosses. Sometimes you have to beat the same creatures over and over again. But that’s the nature of this beast: There are only so many varieties of enemies that fit into any RPG.

However, the Mario & Luigi portion of the game often plays like a platformer. You have to run and jump through Bowser’s guts to proceed in the game. If you’ve never played an RPG before, this is a great way to ease into it. When you level up, you get a kind of pat on the back for doing so. It all makes you feel sure and powerful.

To help you in your fighting, you can earn special badges that protect you along the way. Find them during play or buy them in The Shop with coins you’ve collected.


The coolest early powerup you get is a green shell. You use it almost like a hockey player does a puck. Mario shoots it into an enemy and it rebounds off the baddie to Luigi. As the puck moves faster and faster, you knock it back between the brothers and the monster to eliminate it. But you have to be precise. If you don’t kick the green shell at the right time, either Mario or Luigi will miss it and fall down.

At another point, there’s something like a virus bug inside Bowser. One thing you have to do to get rid of it is jump on the thing’s tongue. Later, you deal with a weapon called Super Ultra Wonder Ultimate Ruthless Great Iron Ball. And watch out for the Super Ultra Great Mega Trashy Monster Bot.

Whoever wrote the game’s script is a true goob. It’s hilarious. Now and then, you might even miss a move or hit due to a fit of laughter.


Mario and Luigi help Bowser, but that doesn’t mean Bowser doesn’t have anything to do. In his portion of the game, he deals with all manner of monsters and kooks, including an odd Frenchman stranded on an island. If you take the rope and pull the island to shore (with help from the plumbers inside Bowser), the Frenchman gives you a special powerup.

Sometimes Bowser becomes a giant when he fights, so much so that you have to turn the DS vertically to witness the sheer size of the battle. Here, you’ll use the DS stylus to attack. But you can’t simply brawl. You have to hit at exactly the right time. Early on, you’re told that the baddies will give a signal regarding how they will attack you. So keep your eyes open to win.

Exhaling into the microphone will make Bowser breathe fire during these battles. Breathe deeply and blow hard.


If you like the old-school games, you’ll love some of the mini games. One is a tribute to the classic Space Invaders game. There’s just so much variety in Bowser’s Inside Story gameplay, you won’t get a better deal (unless you buy the upcoming Pokemon in October).

Some folks have quibbled, saying Nintendo doesn’t have the great games this year. Sure, there’s no new Zelda for Wii, and we’ll have to wait another year for Super Mario Galaxy 2. But truly great games like Bowser’s Inside Story should silence many naysayers. It’s the must-have Nintendo game for the DS this season.

90 Comments on Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story game review

  1. i beat the game and dark bowser but when i came to play again i had to beat hm again? is the supposed to happen or what?

  2. kait kait // May 14, 2010 at 6:14 pm // Reply

    i cold beat the game and i am only 9 !!!!!!

  3. how do defeat the dark star core

  4. mario 2467 // May 11, 2010 at 5:05 pm // Reply

    how much hp does bowser have in toad town for the second time?

  5. pokemon master of the world // May 10, 2010 at 8:57 pm // Reply

    please help me i thought the worm was hard but i was wrong!
    trying to beat bowser for the 2nd time is hard!
    i trained him to good. WAY TOO GOOD!
    how much damage can he take before he faints? or is there a code that makes me invincible? i don’t need advise i need the answer!

  6. first-timer // May 8, 2010 at 7:08 pm // Reply

    I still can’t save after mario finds lugi. Is it possible my game card is corupt?

  7. how can i find mighty metor

  8. magicman // May 5, 2010 at 2:31 pm // Reply

    no, i have not defeated junker, but here are some tips: when junker is on his own, use mighty meteor when junker has junker cans with him, use snack basket

  9. How do u beat Dark Bowser.

    • steelix power // May 6, 2010 at 5:27 pm // Reply

      you have to be at a high level like 34 or higher and your power has to be high to. His hp is 1,000 and some black thing apers and you have to vacum it up and inside his boty the things hp is 2,500 and after you beat it you have to punch dark bowser a couple times and you beat him

  10. What is the airway that the gobin talks about at the brawl room inside bowse at challenge nobe

  11. koopa king // April 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm // Reply

    how do you beat the second Bowser?

  12. how do I get the second star,and how do I reach all the sacks.

  13. in the garden where there is the giga-carrot how do u eat it fast

  14. angry_spirit // April 12, 2010 at 2:04 am // Reply

    how do you defeat that trashbot thingy?! i tried like over 20xs!!!! how many life points does he have?!

  15. first-timer // April 11, 2010 at 12:34 pm // Reply

    Okay,I have just started, I am inside bowser, found Lugi for like the 5th time, when I get the goblin to savish, I select save and continue or save and quit and the message I get is unable to save power off and I have to start again????

  16. weres the flame pipe

  17. How do I beat the dark star?

  18. M&L player // April 5, 2010 at 5:32 pm // Reply

    Ho do you beat the trash monster at peaches castle??? Help please!!!!

  19. I cant get to fawfal’s castle

  20. How do you beat the bug inside Bowser’s stomach after you eat all the mini carrots??? I tried and tried and tied…I JUST KEEP DYING!!!

  21. Mario freak // April 4, 2010 at 6:07 pm // Reply

    How the heck do I use the air pipe? The red squiggly one that’s supposed to help Mario & Luigi jump higher??? HELP!?!?!

  22. how do you beat the star pipe stachu?

  23. how do you hit the switch in the toad town caves?

    • mlfanpro // May 7, 2010 at 3:34 pm // Reply

      go to the yellow pipe thats not blocked and use the tornadoe to get 2 the sky and bump the blue shell box its simple after that

  24. how do you beat the dark star for the first time

  25. sick cool gama // March 24, 2010 at 6:51 pm // Reply

    how do you beat the catapillar thing I TRYED 4 3 HOURS

  26. Im on where your in Peach’s Castle and you have to go through it to get to fawful.

  27. how do you beat the dermite for the fist time.

  28. worlds best gamer // March 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm // Reply

    when i face the dark star i cant jump on to starlow to dodge the attack.why?is there some sort of time limit you can stay aboard?

  29. toadsworth // March 17, 2010 at 8:18 am // Reply

    i’m on bowser in dr. toadlys place.I can’t beat him

    • keep using speachel attak works for me

    • iluvpokemon // August 5, 2010 at 1:52 pm // Reply

      his diffuculty is medium, when does the fire attack jump on starlow (both bros, if one knocked out press the button that controls the bro that still has hp) then hold down.

  30. toadsworth // March 15, 2010 at 6:27 pm // Reply

    how do people find the dark star?

  31. toadsworth // March 15, 2010 at 6:24 pm // Reply

    how do you eat the giga carrot in wigglers garden

  32. how do you beat trash can dude 🙁

  33. to defeat Durmite the first time you’ll need fire and green shell use green shell on the straw and uase fire on the bug! its easy ive beated the second worm without the super bouncer!! 🙂

  34. WAFFLEZ ^_^ // March 8, 2010 at 6:14 am // Reply

    How do you beat bowser the second time in toad town!?!?

  35. shy guy 78 // March 7, 2010 at 9:02 am // Reply

    how much lives does that junker bot has

  36. once you beat the fawfelcopters use their keys to open the doors behind the red door are some of bowsers minions their his magic koopas it is powerful i should know i have it but it is hard use the green door has a goodie and the blue door has a pathway that gets you closer to blizzard midbuss. almost time for mario and luigi to battle the dark star it is very hard to beat i can’t beat it but i know how to at leaced you destroy the things that he makes to help him p.s. do not hit the bombs it takes about one hundred damege to the bro. who hits it unlece you have very good def. have fun.

  37. greenygreeners // February 27, 2010 at 6:25 pm // Reply

    how do i defeat the junker bot? how much life does he have?

  38. any tips on hot to defeat the junkerbot? i counted how many times i failed and its 26 times!

    • greenygreeners // February 27, 2010 at 6:32 pm // Reply

      i havn’t beaten him yet but i know that you need o use the spin pipe attack.

    • iluvpokemon // August 5, 2010 at 1:43 pm // Reply

      i can’t ever but i’ll tell one thing, when it has four body guards the trash thing will capture luigi and put it in one of its bodyguards, defeat the one where luigi is free him

  39. pokemon king // February 20, 2010 at 6:03 pm // Reply

    How do you beat Durmite for the second time?

    • Here is one good strategy to try and deal the most damage: fill up your badge meter using the badges in the Toad town shop, the ones that you mix to deal more damage. Then, when it is full, use it, and use a special attack that you are very good at and deals the most damage without the meter. Good luck.

  40. what are the rank levels

  41. How Does Bowser Jump? =]

    • Bowser can’t jump, but later on you learn a move with Bowser that allows you to jump in the air for a while, but then you come down. It is useful for hitting those big ! blocks you see around the kingdom.

    • he cant use mario and luigi

  42. what level do i need to be to beat bowser on the secnd time?

    • Go into the toad town caves and keep defeating the monsters and level up your HP till you are level 20 or higher. Then battle him.

  43. any tips to eating the giga-carrot in 1 minute?

    • Try to have someone else count for you. The rows are multiples of five, right? Well, when your friend hears the noise, get the number and multiply it. Tap the row and find the enzyme.

    • wonce you hear the sound destroy the next carrot pice


  45. How do I defeat the final boss?

    • when you defeat dark bowser, does it save?

      • Remember, you can only save at save blocks. So unless there is one outside the room or there is one in the room and you can get it, you can save then.

    • If you are Bowser, use the shy-guy squad since it provides more damage. If you are Mario and Luigi, fill the badge meter, and use snack basket as it has the most power and wields tons of damage.

  46. How do defeat the final boss?

  47. MARIO AND BOWSER // February 11, 2010 at 7:39 pm // Reply



  49. how do you defeat the bug in bowsers body after he gets a belly ache

  50. I beat the trash can monster and went to bowsers castle through bowser. What do I do after that I dont know how to get to bowser since the trash is in the ground things please reply right away! thankks

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