[Review] Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story – Nintendo 3DS

Written by Kieran Fifield
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Release Date: 25/1/2019
  • Price: £34.99 / $39.99
  • Review code provided by Nintendo

Bowser’s Inside Story

Bowser’s inside story is the 3rd title in the Mario and Luigi series as it is actually a remake of the 2009 Nintendo DS game of the same name. As the Nintendo 3DS breathes its final breaths, Nintendo has decided to bulk out its latter days with a whole plethora of ports – Luigi’s Mansion proceeding this and Kirby’s Epic Yarn set to succeed it.

Regardless of its roots, Bowser’s inside story is an utterly beguiling little title and deserving of its place within the hallowed library of what is, unquestionably, Nintendo’s finest handheld console.

What’s the story morning glory?

Our tale kicks off with a Toad returning home to find his father has been affected with an affliction known as ‘The Blorbs’, which has essentially bloated him exponentially. Due to this outbreak of inflated Toads, a meeting is called at Princess Peach’s castle, to which a selection of VIP Toad folk, the Princess and a star sprite – a race of extra terrestrial beings that look over the Mushroom Kingdom, are all present. Naturally Mario and Luigi, whilst seeming otherwise engaged, are present at the castle too.

After a lengthy discussion to determine the cause of the poor Toads blight, Bowser storms into Peach’s castle, seemingly more irate than usual and, despite the best efforts of Mario and Luigi to stop him, ends up eating all of the residents of the castle.

Without spoiling what is a brilliantly written story that will take 20 or so hours to complete, not everything is as it seems and the game takes you on a roller coaster ride of exploration and discovery.

Bros. before, wait….

The action immediately picks up with our pipe fixing protagonists waking up, as the name alludes to, Inside Bowser. From hereon out the gameplay switches between 2D platforming sections, Inside Bowser, and 3D exploration in the hub world as Bowser. The 2D sections blend very basic platforming and puzzle elements, all mixed into the overarching RPG-lite genre that the series has made it’s own. The 3D sections feel more akin to an Action Adventure title, albeit with an RPG battle system. The gameplay mechanics are a real triumph and the synergy between the actions that Mario and Luigi take and the effect they have on Bowser are very much brimming with Nintendo charm. For example, as Bowser attempts to lift a somewhat gargantuan carrot, a new area becomes available to explore in Bowser’s body. Control now switches to the bottom screen and Mario and Luigi take charge of proceedings, attempting to stimulate one of Bowser’s nerves and giving their perpetual nemesis a boost in the old muscle department. This plays out in the form of a mini game where the brothers hit balls of electricity at the aforementioned nerve. The beauty of it is, its on its own an incredibly addictive rhythm game as musical clues let you know when the sparks will speed up or come in waves. Paired with the butt stomping fun of another mini game or the candy crush-esque digestion game, Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside story is packed to the rafters with high quality content that keeps the main game feeling fresh through out.

Mama mia, here we go again

Being a remake of a much older game, aside from the gameplay holding true the main point of discussion is obviously the presentation.
How does the game look and sound?
The answer is – as probably of little surprise to anybody, absolutely lovely. Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story is filled with cutesy charm that marries wonderfully well with the wit and humour that this whimsical title offers.

Mario and Luigi’s humorous reactions are fully voiced, so you are treated to a fair share of borderline stereotypical – mama mia’s and oble noble’s along with all the other delightful little mannerisms that we have all come to associate with the Mario Bros. over the years. The soundtrack is a solid offering, with a good mix of upbeat Mushroom Kingdom bop tunes and moodier numbers that better portray the king of the Koopas himself.

Visually, the title looks as good as anything on the system and despite my Nintendo Switch tinted glasses, I was able to enjoy what was offered, depite the lack of any kind of 3D effect. Whilst I understand that the novelty of 3D died a death many moons ago, it still seems a shame that Nintendo chose to omit it entirely from Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story.
Amiibo are also supported and by tapping the amiibo of characters that appear in game, you are presented with items to use on your adventures.

Bowser Jr’s Time to shine

As well as the main adventure, an additional game is included that lets you take control of Bowser Jr, Bowser’s son and heir. This tale runs parallel to the main tale and although very much it’s own beast, has the occasional moment that intersects with the main game.
Above anything else, Bowser Jr’s Journey is just a wonderfully lovely story that really adds depth and charisma to a character who has only really ever come off as being a brat before.


Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story is a loving remake of a classic title that delivers an engaging story all wrapped up in a beautiful and charming package. Aside from the lack of 3D in any capacity, which was in truth probably due to the nature of the title utilising two screens and switching between them both fairly regularly, I find it hard to fault a title that captivated and enthralled throughout.

If you still have a 3DS and are looking for a swan song experience for that most trusty and faithful of companions, look no further than Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story.


  • Charming and witty
  • Wonderfully presented
  • Just pure unadulterated fun to play


  • No 3DS effect
  • Arrived so late in the consoles lifespan
  • Not on Nintendo Switch (Flip Grip?…)

Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story is one of the best titles on the Nintendo 3DS, without question.


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