Back in the days of the Game Boy Advance, a new Mario RPG spin-off hit the market. It was called Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and it was fantastic. Since then, the Mario & Luigi series has expanded to include 5 games. Most fans agree the best is the third one, Mario & Luigi : Bowser’s Inside Story.
As the name suggests, Bowser’s Inside Story has a strong focus on Bowser. The title also carries a double meaning. On one hand, you get the “inside story” from Bowser himself, as he is a playable character. On the other hand, much of the story actually takes place INSIDE him, as well.
The writers made an excellent decision with this game’s story, and that was to bring back the fan-favorite side villain from Superstar Saga, Fawful. With absurd food puns and memorable catchphrases (“I have fury!”), Fawful was a hilarious character in Superstar Saga, and bringing him into the spotlight as the third game’s main villain only improved him. In Bowser’s Inside Story, Fawful tricks Bowser and takes over both his castle and Peach’s. Not only that, but Bowser inhales much of the Mushroom Kingdom including Mario, Luigi, Starlow, and Peach.
What follows is an insane romp through two very different locations. As Bowser, you’ll travel through the Mushroom Kingdom in an attempt to reclaim your castle and stop Fawful. Playing as Bowser is a delight.
Meanwhile, you’ll secretly help him out from within as Mario and Luigi travel through Bowser’s body. For example, you might need to reach a certain area and perform a mini-game to power him up for an especially tough boss battle. These sections play like a 2D side-scrolling game, rather than the overworld view used for Bowser’s gameplay.
It’s ridiculous and crazy, and the writing is hilarious enough to make it work. The gameplay is also pretty fun, using the series’ traditional twist on turn-based RPG combat. While battles are turn-based, you can increase your damage by hitting the right button before the attack connects, while also dodging attacks during the enemy’s turn.
There are so many reasons to recommend Bowser’s Inside Story. If you love turn-based RPGs, play this game. If you love Mario’s RPG spin-offs, play this game. If you want to play a game as the Koopa King himself, play this game. And if you played Superstar Saga and loved Fawful, absolutely play this game.
The Mario & Luigi series is a blast, and so far nothing has surpassed the fun of its third entry, Bowser’s Inside Story.