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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.

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

  1. how do i get past when bowser gets crushed by bowser’s castle.

  2. 🙁 I wish I had M&LPIT and M&LBIS because I only have M&LSS

  3. You must get rank 40 with bowser,mario and luigi and you don’t have to do it over and over again

  4. im in lv 5 which large carrots do i do first?

  5. LEGO Universer // March 1, 2012 at 8:41 pm // Reply

    How do I get past Fawfull when he has that weird hat on his head?This is the never ending game.I have had it since……a LONG time.

  6. How do you fight Dark Bowser post-story mode?

  7. golden mario 8 // July 31, 2011 at 4:16 am // Reply

    what do you do when you have beated midbus???????

  8. Mario fan // July 3, 2011 at 6:21 pm // Reply

    How do you get giant bowsers flames to be exallent

  9. why do I have to constantly fight dark bowser?

  10. how do u beat dark bowser

  11. Mario rocks // April 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm // Reply

    Beat the game twice, final boss battle dark bowser and he’s so easy!!:)

  12. ordep and pedro of the galaxy // March 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm // Reply

    I have more than 11 retry clocks!

  13. I’m on dimble wood.(The frenchman’s name is broque mosieur!)

  14. I Beat the whole game and now I’m starting a new game.(You guys are
    right; getting to the rainbow rank is tough!)

  15. I got past the part where you need to defeat midbus for the second

  16. ordep and pedro of the galaxy // December 27, 2010 at 2:44 pm // Reply

    I got a DS Lite for Christmas and now I’m planning to get this game.

  17. All you guys are great.But what is that bug on top of that giant pink raft called?

  18. how do you beat the worm type creature after you eat the carrot

  19. how long is the game?

  20. you have to whack them with the shell to beat them……

  21. Im trying to go for ranbow rank too! its hard dont know what to train on. i restarded the game like 5 times and i still in middle of game now but i got a good feeling this time!and pluse this games awsome and funny! when starlow comes out and makes luigi fall and shows the star menu.starlow was a big help though!!

  22. how do you beat the flying turtle?

  23. I am stuck on trying to beat Dark Bowser but I have all Special Attacks w/ Mario & Luigi. I am trying to get to level 40 with M & L so I can get the Rainbow rank, You must have all Special Attacks with Mario and Luigi and be level 40 to get this rank. I need 10 levels to go. I don’t know where to level up though. Can someone give me a place to get quick level ups?

  24. If anyone needs help deafeating Midbus the second time, just ask me.

  25. how do i eat the dark star

  26. iluvpokemon // August 5, 2010 at 1:26 pm // Reply

    i’m having trouble with the shroobs and the trash thing btw

    • Mario rocks // April 6, 2011 at 10:55 pm // Reply

      You found the shroob’s? to me their easy as pie. They were origannly from the prequel mario and luigi partners in time.

  27. I hope the price for this game and for new super mario bros.won’t
    be more than $10.00 and if the price is over $10.00 than oh well.

  28. Me and my sister have only a few more dollars to earn so we can get a used Nintendo DS so that we can get this game.(a used one is about $17.99)(including tax)

  29. dark bowser // July 24, 2010 at 3:44 pm // Reply

    how do you beat the dark star? =>

    • i see. as u need be at lvl 24 or 25, to defeat dark star, his hp is about 1000, so use skill: i forget srry :/

  30. firelad97 MARIO // July 23, 2010 at 11:15 am // Reply

    im trying leveling up to ready defeat dark bowser by lvl 34, im levevling up by fightin’ monsters, i cant find find any harder monster in peach caslte… (my lvl is 30)

  31. picnic basket attack:Luigi is hungry after the long journey. so mario lugs a picnic basket out and luigi has to catch all of the falling goodies.Then he grows to the size of a gigantic float in a parade.Then mario has to hoist him up and drop him on the enemies.

  32. im bowser inside the cave and cant figure out how to hit the button to open the door to get out can someone help me please?????

    • dark bowser // July 22, 2010 at 7:08 pm // Reply

      have you noticed the falling boulders?Use bowser’s punch!When a boulder falls punch it and it hits the switch.Oh as a further notice listen to fawful when bowser meets midbus for the first time and when mario&luigi get to toad town talk to all the toads have fun

  33. obsidian465 // July 14, 2010 at 4:57 pm // Reply

    i cant get through the minigame after bowser gets hit by fawful express!

    • dark bowser // July 22, 2010 at 7:10 pm // Reply

      dont hit the train it pushes the train further but use the flames is does not push the train but burns it

  34. Is there a way to make Bowser jump? I cant get on top of anything.

    • dark bowser // July 22, 2010 at 7:17 pm // Reply

      no but when you beat the tower of yikk go inside and do a misson in side bowser’s bod with m&l then bowser learns how to body slam.Now all of those ! things can be hit and bowser can explore more have fun body slamming

  35. pokemon fan // July 9, 2010 at 3:16 pm // Reply

    i cant eat all of the carrots

    • iluvpokemon // August 5, 2010 at 1:28 pm // Reply

      here try contrating on the touch screen. Also remember where are those things that get rids of the chunks. Hope this help!

  36. pokemon fan // July 9, 2010 at 3:15 pm // Reply

    I cant get past the part where you eat all of the carrots.

  37. how do you beat the statue?

    • pokemon fan // July 9, 2010 at 3:17 pm // Reply

      i cant believe you cant beat it its easy

    • dark bowser // July 22, 2010 at 7:55 pm // Reply

      inhale the squid then battle it with mario&luigi then when bowser exhales it keep punching it keep repeating this prosess and you will beat it

    • iluvpokemon // August 5, 2010 at 1:24 pm // Reply

      to defeat midbus the second time u must at least prevent attacks, to prevent her most powerful one (i think it is) by hitting her belly until she has a hand on her belly, if u wanna make damage punch again before she gets away to her normal spot. Load like lots of drumsticks and sryup jars cuz to some new players, i bought the game when i became eleven (that’s 5 months ago) so she’s pretty easy to beat to me 🙂

    • iluvpokemon // August 5, 2010 at 1:32 pm // Reply

      i help the others on this very page (2 so far) i’ll help u too. U first inhale the squid then make mario & luigi to fight it (watch out! It can still hurt bowser!) then bowser will spit it out. You can now damage it. I hope this helps 🙂

  38. i cant beat that robot ink guy. please tell me.

    although dark bowser was a bit tricky I finally beat the game!!

  40. I do not know what to do after you get out of the cave

  41. Thanks harry potter fan! But, I don’t have a D.S.

  42. never heard of this game till now

  43. i am stuck at the second battle with the bug for the star cure. I cant find the guide book either

    • iluvpokemon // August 5, 2010 at 1:35 pm // Reply

      use the hammer to defend ur self while it swings, the best SP move u will use is green shell, the bug will grow but keep repeating, u’ll defeat it!

  44. How do you get past the Underground Tunnel I’m stuck I’ve
    tried lots of different ways to get the time bomb to light and blow-up(the one where you go into the green pipe and there’s this wall) but I can’t get it to do what I want it to do HELP!!

  45. My sister wants to get this game

  46. West TEXAS // June 1, 2010 at 12:17 pm // Reply

    I`ve already beaten the game, it is GREAT!!!!!!!!! There were some spots to where I couldn`t get pass some of the bosses. Why? I didn`t have any retry clocks, but now I have 11. If you get the guide book, it WILL help you throughout the game.

  47. how do you beat the trash bot?

  48. Although I don’t know what game system is needed for this, I think it looks exciting and funny and I myself would like to try it sometime!

  49. if your stuck on the last part hold a and b at the same time

  50. i cant pass the rump command #3

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