thu 28/05/2020

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros / Dark | reviews, news & interviews

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. / Dark

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. / Dark

Dreamlike lightness and vampiric darkness - gaming opposites, the same result

'Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros.': hyperinventive platforming, shame about the rest...

Among gamers, suggesting that Nintendo is not a publisher of brilliant games is tantamount to heresy. Yet here it is: Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. would, if it were not published by Nintendo, receive a far worse critical reaction than it's likely to get.

Among gamers, suggesting that Nintendo is not a publisher of brilliant games is tantamount to heresy. Yet here it is: Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. would, if it were not published by Nintendo, receive a far worse critical reaction than it's likely to get.

Dream Team Bros. sees the iconic videogaming duo, nominally plumbers by trade, apparently Italian by stereotypical accent, navigating a sleepy island beset by dreams and nightmares. What follows is in turn exploration, simplistic role-playing turn-based strategy, with a timing element and dreamlike platform gaming. And it's only the latter where Nintendo's sporadic brilliance shines through.

Mario & Luigi Dream Team Bros.Nintendo, at its best, delivers dreamlike and constantly changing worlds – familiar characters and videogame ideas morph, change and adapt with stunning inventiveness.

Here, in fits and starts, Dream Team Bros. delivers – using a dream world conceit beautifully to twist Luigi, in particular, in surprising new ways. At times you have to stretch his moustache using the 3DS' touch screen, to fling Mario across a level, or tickle his nose to send a whirlwind through the dream.

Sadly, slopped alongside this childlike inventiveness is a mess of overlong tutorials and artificial barriers to exploration that you chafe against for far too long, a plot that's at best quarter-baked, and dialogue that's plain terrible.

Even the combat is abysmal – a dumbed-down version of the turn-based system often found in the Final Fantasy series and other Japanese role-playing games. But with little strategy and an annoying timing element thrown in, it's mainly utterly repetitive. If it wasn't Nintendo, the game would simply not get away with this rubbish.

Dark vampire stealth actionNo such luck for Kalypso – purveyors of mid-league games such as their latest, Dark – a vampiric sneak 'em up. Your new and clueless bloodsucker, Eric Bane, must find an uber-vamp to feed from to avoid becoming a mindless ghoul. This scenario, curiously, immediately results in you having to sneak around museums killing off security guards.

Dark features, fatally for a stealth game, fussy controls. You can't jump, attacks are awkward and as odd as the setting, crouching in light or dark seems to make no difference to the dunderhead guards' ability to see you.

In the final reckoning, Dark is a half-decent concept let down by terrible implementation; Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. is a dreadful concept, sporadically rescued by brilliantly inventive play. The end result? Neither are great gaming purchases.

Nintendo, at its best, delivers dreamlike and constantly changing worlds – familiar characters and videogame ideas morph, change and adapt with stunning inventiveness

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters