Bowser’s Inside Story Review
This is an engaging, amusing and quite addictive Mario game for the DS that really shows that Nintendo do still have some life in them and that old series can be resurrected in a new format. And it can be done well. This is a game that takes full advantage of the features of the DS, somehow keeps the charm that we remember from Mario of old, chucks in some humour and whisks in some very appealing graphics. And you have a winner.
The basic premise behind the Mario games hasn’t changed much over the years; Bowser kidnaps Peach and hides her in a castle. Mario goes to rescue Peach but by the time he gets there she’s in the next castle. Throw into the mix the distinctive music and you have Mario. Well, this is that. But with a twist. Because instead of Peach being in a castle Bowser has managed to inhale everybody in Peach’s castle including Mario and Luigi. So you are trying to find Peach from somewhere in Bowser’s body. In addition to this, on the top screen, you also have control of Bowser who for once in his entire history has been thrust into the unlikely role of the hero. Granted he’s just peeved because Fawful has masterminded this entire plan and has taken over his castle but that’s beside the point – his motives aren’t the thing that’s at stake here, just his actions. And as far as Bowser’s concerned no one but him can kidnap Peach. So you have Bowser as the hero and Mario and Luigi stalking around in Bowser’s body and often keeping his body in working order. Yep, it’s as surreal and quirky as it sounds as Mario and Luigi often power up Bowser’s muscles to help him power through an area or rescue him from the inside when he’s been squashed by a castle.
This game is truly Bowser’s big break as it is split about 50/50 between you controlling the Mario and Luigi team and you controlling Bowser. The X and Y buttons control Bowser and the A and B buttons control the awesome duo and between the two you are having two seperate adventures which are intricately interlinked. As Bowser you are exploring an RPG centric world on a mission to get your castle back and rescue Peach – even if it is only so you can kidnap her again yourself. As Mario and Luigi you are wandering around Bowsers body and often waiting for him to do something in the outside world which produces a bodily change which you can react to. Particularly at the beginning of the game this is very mini-game centric as you have to complete certain ‘tasks’ in order to keep Bowser’s body in tip top condition.
It wouldn’t be an RPG without a battling system and this game doesn’t disappoint. Each of the characters has set moves that they can attack, defend or counter attack with and there isn’t much that would surprise a regular RPG player. The aspect of battling that makes it quite novel is the timing and how you have to be physically paying attention and pressing buttons at the right time to release a punch or to jump perfectly. There is also the variety caused by each of the enemies having their own individual attack which you have to figure out how to counter which ensures that the game doesn’t get overly repetitive. It is also worth noting that the battles aren’t randomly generated, you have to actively approach or be approached by an enemy, and once you have defeated an enemy they won’t re-spawn for a fair while which will cause many people to sigh in extreme relief.