User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 161 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 161

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  1. Jun 1, 2011
    Bowser's Inside Story, to put it quite simply, is an AMAZING game. The plot is great, the concept is great, and the battles are great. And don't forget about Fawful. Fawful and his "I HAVE FURY!" quote are just hilarious. But what I feel is best about Bowser's Inside Story is the ability to play as Bowser! Half of the game is dedicated to his side of the story, and Mario and Luigi can help Bowser accomplish his goals from inside his own body! Then...he grows HUGE. That is EPIC. Controls are better than ever too. I love this game, and recommend it to anyone and everyone. Expand
  2. Jan 9, 2011
    I don't see what's so good about this game. If you want an addictive game for the DS, I would suggest either New Super Mario Bros. or Mario Kart DS.
  3. Jan 8, 2011
    Although the game's battle system, story, music and engine in general is amazing, this game still fails in my opinion to capture the truly epic feel of its prequel Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for GBA. You can play as Mario and Luigi like the other two Mario & Luigi games in the series and as an added twist, Bowser as well which hasn't been done since Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars back on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. An interesting mechanic is while playing RPG battles as Bowser, you can sometimes use a special skill and then switch to battling the same enemies as the Mario & Luigi which can cause an interesting change in tactics. There are also special Godzilla-like special boss battles as Bowser also which make unique and interesting use of the microphone and touch screen. There are also boss challenges and minigames as well which are pretty fun as well. Collapse
  4. Jan 19, 2011
    I saw the reviews of this game and I saw they were excellent. Then I bought the game myself. It says on the back of the case "Most Hilarious Mario RPG" and I was a little nervous. But AlphaDream have handled the humour brilliantly. Although Fawful's gags may take a while to get used to, you'll soon get the gag and tune in. The gameplay is really good and it's so damn addictive. The graphics may make your eyes vomit a little, but it's still very cartoony and nice. The whole RPG experience feels great and it almost never gets boring. Well, except for the levels where you're Mario and Luigi where you have to scatter about the place looking for something and it does take ages. Not only that, the combat should've been better and it does get hard in a bad way. Aside from those flaws, it's still a very great game. Have a DS? Don't have the game? I mean, come on. What are you doing? Expand
  5. May 3, 2011
    I signed up for Metacritic just so I could give a negative review for this game. It is not an RPG. It is a series of touch-based minigames that increase in difficulty and soon become ridiculous.
  6. May 26, 2011
    Easily the best RPG I ever played (go cry, Final Fantasy! Not saying that it isn't good) I ever played, and the only game with a talking bean for an antagonist (alright, Superstar Saga had Fawful, too). This RPG has laugh-out-loud moments, a great story, excellent controls, and one of the best and most beautiful final boss themes ever.
  7. RJV
    Aug 4, 2011
    This is not like any Mario game you have ever played. There is a bit of platforming, but that is turned into a puzzle. It is almost like a Pokemon game, but you only have three characters: Mario, Luigi, and Bowser! The plot is actually semi developed in this game, and Bowser doesn't kidnap Peach this time. Instead he is tricked into inhaling her, as well as Mario + Luigi and the rest of the mushroom kingdom, by Fawlful, the new bad guy, not really worth remembering him though. Inside Bowser's body the two Legendary plumbers try to find and rescue the princess, somewhere in Bowser's 2D innards. Meanwhile Bowser, wandering the Mushroom Kingdom, tries to take back his castle, which has been taken over by Fawful. You enter battle scenes as the plumbers or the Koopa King, and this is where it is similar to Pokemon. You will see the similarities almost immediately. A great game, but a little bit easy. Still,you won't beat every boss on your first time, and if you want to collect all the bonuses there will be plenty of replay after you beat the main story. Fantastic. Expand
  8. Feb 15, 2013
    I really wanted to love this game and would have given it an 8/10 or maybe a 9/10 if not for a few problems that marred the experience. It is a pretty cool RPG with some neat interactive battle mechanics. It has a light but fun story. It isn't particularly interesting, but it's enough to keep you somewhat invested. The itemization was done pretty well also. The choice of putting the two heroes in a setting within the main antagonist of the series was incredible in theory. However, in practice, the developers severely screwed up. The good parts involve changing the internal environment of Bowser through his actions and navigating levels with Mario and Luigi this way. The bad parts come when you need Mario and Luigi to manipulate the inside of Bowser to create a change in him. These are done through some pretty frustrating mini-games. Sometimes it's just because they become very difficult and long to the point that if and when you mess up (and chances are you will many times), you not only lose coins but have to start over from the beginning and go through the whole thing again. Other times, such as the infamous pollen mini-game, the controls feel terribly unresponsive to the point that the mini-game seems unfair. The worst part is that many of these are mandatory and force you to complete them before you can move on with the game at all. You can't explore anything else or go anywhere else as a break, and you can't get around doing them. You just have to sit there and try to work your way through them. This could have been a terrific Mario RPG game, possibly better than its predecessors due to the very interesting setting, if not for these mishandled and seemingly forced mini-games. Expand
  9. Aug 1, 2013
    Judging by the extremely positive reviews from critics, you'd think this RPG was amazing. It's not. It's a good game, but there were a few drawbacks. It has a reasonable plot, especially for a mario game, but the cutscenes are a bore. They try to make jokes, but they are not funny in the slightest. Once you get to actually play, things get better. It takes the form of RPG gameplay mixed with platforming. The stroy switches between Mario and Luigi, and Bowser. When you play as Mario and Luigi, you must control them at the same time inside Bowser's body. It takes the form of 2D platforming, along with some puzzles involving Bowser's body. Controlling them is a pain, especoally when you have to mke jumps- you must press a and b at the same time. Combat is more exciting. It's turn-based, and clever, as certain attacks require you to coordinate attacks with both Mario and Luigi. The other person you play as is Bowser. He is forced to work together with Mario anf Luigi to resolve the plot. This is far better than the other form of control because you only control one character, it is not platforming, and it takes place from an isometric viewpoint. Overall, Bowser's Inside Story is good, but not a true RPG. Fans of the series will especially want to invest in this. Expand
  10. Jan 7, 2011
    Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story is a great game for the DS. The fact that it is an RPG that allows to create Mario, Luigi, and Bowser the way you feel like it makes it amazing.
  11. Feb 21, 2013
    This game is what I would regard as "the ultimate Mario RPG". I'd recommend this to any gamer whether he/she played the Mario rpgs before, didn't play them or doesn't even know what a RPG is. It's that good. The villain in this game is Fawful, who may be the most memorable Mario villain ever with his engrish lines such as "A WINNER IS YOU" or "I HAVE CHORTLES!". Definitely do give this a try HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Expand
  12. Oct 18, 2013
    I was determined to finish this game no matter what even though I had urges to put it down and never play again. And I found out that it's pretty fun and worth picking up. Even though the story is kinda predictable, I don't think people play this game for story. It's mario, how complicated can it be? Game aims more for the younger crowd I believe. Still I enjoyed playing it, it was fun and satisfying.
    Game is build around timing. You have to react accordingly and it's basically a reaction game between walking around and reading dialogs. It's fun for some people, but I quickly learnt I'm not one of them. Sometimes timings can be really hard and you'll be struggling to make a counterattack or evade one of them. But the game itself is not hard, you'll be given a plenty of restoration items and do-overs. It just can be a little frustrating is all. On the other hand there's plenty of exploration and I liked that. You can explore regions as Mario and Luigi and as Bowser and they all can reach different places.
    Overall, I would recommend this game to mario fans (as you can play bowser and that's really cool if you ask me, he is lots of fun) and people who want some easy and cute rpg without deep involvement. It won't grab you into the story and hold you tightly until it's over. It's pretty relaxed game. Pick it up for some quick and basic fun.
  13. Mar 15, 2014
    Mario and Luigi Bowser's Inside story is another Nintendo game done right. The combat system is accessible and fun. The gameplay is varied and the boss fights are great. This is also Nintendo's most humorous game.
  14. Jan 18, 2011
    I got it with mixed expectations but soon then, I got hooked, I've had it for 3 weeks and I can't stop playing it. The game is just awesome, my favorite DS game....ever..
  15. Feb 18, 2012
    This game is like Super Mario RPG for the SNES on steroids. The quirky, humorous story is still there with plenty of funny dialogue, but the battles have taken a major turn from "hit A at the right time to hit harder" to "JUMP oh God now smack it with your hammer okay draw 7's on the screen aaghghgh!" If it sounds hectic, it's because it is. And it is SO MUCH FUN! You play as either Mario and Luigi or as Bowser (which is the best part, everyone agrees) exploring the different areas and leveling up in your standard RPG way: buying new equipment, upping stats, etc. But as you do that, you'll also be digging up magic beans, trying to catch blitties (block kitties), and fighting your way through battle after battle where mastery of timing becomes the difference between finishing a battle with taking no damage and losing everything. And yet despite all this, the game has plenty of ways to make it friendly for beginners: you'll occasionally find "retry clocks" that let you start a battle from the beginning, it always makes sure to explain thoroughly any new special attack you learn with the opportunity to practice it, and the game is very generous with coins and exp won from battles so you're not forced to grind. Even my wife who primarily plays casual games had a lot of fun playing it all the way from start to finish. Definitely worth buying! Expand
  16. Aug 13, 2012
    By far the most creative Mario & Luigi game in the series. With an immersive story, fun and addictive gameplay, and engaging battles of epic proportions, this game is a must play for any fan of Mario RPG's, or not. It's just a must play in general. Seriously this is amazing. And while you're at it, reading this, go ahead and get Superstar Saga, and maybe even Partners in Time. They are all bloody amazing. Expand
  17. Oct 21, 2012
    STORY: Slightly complex, but is easy to follow. It involves multiple Nintendo clichés such as a "Three Key Item" fetch quest. CHARACTERS: Fawful is a villain who's more lovable than anything. His "Engrish"(Impaired English) is cause for multiple hilarious moments. Bowser is still a childish brute and gets stuck in many awkward moments. Starlow a.k.a Chippy is a smart aleck who helps the bros. GAMEPLAY: This is the game's highlight. While playing as Bowser, you use the X and Y buttons to breath fire on all enemies or punch a single one with precise timing. He also has special attacks you can unlock by freeing his captured minions that use the touch screen. While playing as Mario & Luigi, it's all about the A and B buttons. You can either initiate a two part jump attack or a risky hammer strike(each hit a single enemy). Most of their special attacks are unlocked with the game's progression but there are two that are optional. There are also mini games for the bros that involve multiple gaming genres, such as Rhythm and 2D Shooter. MUSIC: There are more upbeat tracks in this game, like the main boss theme, but other great pieces like Dark Star Core. Not much of it is memorable, but it does fit the locations well.
    VISUALS: Aside from a few effects, EVERYTHING is done with pixels. For sprite animations, these are pretty damn well made and fun to look at.
    EXTRA CONTENT: Not much extra content to be found in the world itself. It's mainly focussed in the Globin Challenge Room for Mario & Luigi to either fight tougher versions of the bosses or test their skills with their special moves.
    FINAL ANALYSIS: I recommend this game to anyone. The story is admittedly weak, but the characters make up for it with great humor. Also, the gameplay is simple but addicting and the enemies all fight differently. This game makes use of the action commands in previous Mario RPGs, but better than ever. A 9.1 for an overall great game.
  18. Dec 14, 2012
    Well, this is a PERFECTLY AWESOME game for Nintendo DS system. It was the best Mario & Luigi sequel! Not just that, this game serves a different story where Mario, Luigi, and Bowser save the Mushroom Kingdom and Bowser's Castle from evil. It MUST have and MUST be played!
  19. Dec 28, 2012
    I am delighted with this installment of Mario and Luigi as it is an adventure game with different modes, has variety in terms of actions that you can perform. You depend on several characters in order to continue the game and solve the various puzzles that proposes, with a story that does not get bored anyone regardless of age, making the main enemy of the great series of Mario cooperate with their greatest enemies without this knowledge. The fact that you can enter and leave the body of Bowser's something that I really liked to go out and explore with Mario and Luigi the outside world, you can access inaccecibles places to Bowser. One of the best games of all time Expand
  20. Jan 11, 2013
    This is one of the few instances that an RPG can be practically perfect, the other times being Golden Sun and Pokemon. The only things that I dislike about this game is the re-used sprites from the previous entries into the series for Mario and Luigi. Things to like- humour, music, final boss, story (seems more unique than most others), pickups, power ups, and mini games. Overall, 9.7/10
  21. Feb 1, 2013
    This game was extremely well written and introduced some painfully genius and original gameplay elements coupled with the RPG factors. I loved it the whole way through. There is no valid reason why anyone who enjoys Mario games should pass this game up. Being able to play as both the Mario Bros. and Bowser was a nice twist and made the game that much more enjoyable. The game stays fun and creative and you shouldn't find yourself being bored. At least, that's how it was for me. Alright, now onto the only negative I can think of... The game gives those great turn-based battles where you're able to dodge your enemy at every chance rather than just sit there and take damage, but dodging enemies requires trial-and-error learning, and some attacks are so wonky and unpredictable that they're extremely hard to dodge, but even then, you still build up a tolerance to it and eventually perfect your timing. It can be frustrating, but it doesn't damage the game at all. Overall, an excellent game that everyone should play. I'd give anything for a 4th Mario RPG game right now. Expand
  22. Jul 18, 2013
    A pleasure to play. I loved the mechanics behind combat and items that were put in place in the first title in this series and am glad to see them make a full return in this light-hearted and enjoyable title.
  23. Aug 17, 2013
    A little difficult puzzle-wize at times, and 2 of the giant battles were extremely hard (At least for me.) This game is obviously the best of series, the story is great, funny, but not as amazing at Partners in Time. My favorite part of the game was the return of Fawful! He steals the show in terms of comedy. All the characters introduced are very memorable are either cute or just awesome. Probably the best RPG next to the 5th Gen Pokemon games. If you don't own this game, buy it or check into a mental facility. Expand
  24. Nov 6, 2013
    The game is one of the best Mario games of 2009! What kind of game of that year could possibly overthrow this game and New Super Mario Bros. Wii? The music is amazing, the graphics are great, the dialogue is mostly humorous, and Bowser being playable is OUTSTANDING. The layout is great, the controls are cool, and the extra content is good enough for anyone. You want an amazing Mario RPG? Get this for your DS! Expand
  25. PMG
    Jan 12, 2014
    With the genius idea of Bowser as a character, the game gets more dynamic than the previous Mario RPG's. The battling mechanics are intact and it has a solid over-world. Plus, Fawful! A great addition to you DS.
  26. Mar 31, 2014
    I love the Paper Mario series thus my reasoning to buy this. I first found it to be fun and new. But as the "mini games" started to pile up and I started to get into the ridiculously boring "monster" battles. So to take a break from the hundreds of boss battles, I went off exploring. But that was boring too. I found myself moaning and groaning as I moved on. By the time I got to the giant robot fight I was done. Too mentally burnt out to play. I was just that sick of the Mario Bros doing mini games in Bowser and Bowser taking part in horribly boring battles. I just didn't care to beat the boss and move on to even more redundant battles and bloody mini games. Just not my cup of tea. Expand
  27. Apr 3, 2014
    simply the best in the mario rpg series. always trying to keep itself fresh and interesting as you play, and succeeding! give it a try!
    ( the beggining is a little slow, as most rpgs )
    don't listen to those negative reviews, they're mostly people trying just to contradict popular opinion, really this is good!
  28. May 2, 2014
    This game is nothing short of amazing. It has everything. Great game-play and immersion.

    The game-play is similar to the normal RPG. It's turn-based, has an item system, and really... Normal for the RPG play style. Definitely well done, though. It's fluid and smooth, the exploration is normal Mario platforming (but quite easy).

    This game is quite immersingfor several reasons. It has
    properly executed humor, it's story is spectacular (the final boss fight is so satisfying!), and the music is well composed.

    A 96/100. It deserves even more praise than it gets for it's style, characters, EVERYTHING. Except the game needs to be longer and more difficult. That's all the flaws it really has. A must-buy for any Mario fan.
  29. Jun 22, 2014
    Definitely the best Mario RPG out there, with awesome, challenging gameplay, a good storyline, and one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard in a Mario game. Great humor too.
    Personally, Fawful is one of my favorite video game antagonists~ along with Dimentio from SPM
  30. Jul 17, 2014
    Integrating villian Bowser into the mix adds gameplay depth and novelty to the Bros' humorous mid-length quest. Reaction-based mechanics are a tall order, but this installment comes closer to the goal than its 3DS successor.
  31. Nov 26, 2014
    Incredible RPG. Probably has the best gameplay of any RPG ever, considering there isn't a lot of luck and it is mostly skill since you have to time jumps and such, it also has amazing music. The final boss has incredible music and the boss itself is amazing. Also it has very memorable characters. Simply but this is a must buy for any Mario fan or RPG fan... if you're both... THIS WILL BE AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE. This may as well be Bowser's own game, most of the time you will be playing as Bowser in this game. Also don't get me started how epic the giant battles are. Expand
  32. Jan 8, 2011
    Although the game's battle system, story, music and engine in general is amazing, this game still fails in my opinion to capture the truly epic feel of its prequel Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for GBA. You can play as Mario and Luigi like the other two Mario & Luigi games in the series and as an added twist, Bowser as well which hasn't been done since Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars back on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. An interesting mechanic is while playing RPG battles as Bowser, you can sometimes use a special skill and then switch to battling the same enemies as the Mario & Luigi which can cause an interesting change in tactics. There are also special Godzilla-like special boss battles as Bowser also which make unique and interesting use of the microphone and touch screen. There are also boss challenges and minigames as well which are pretty fun as well. Collapse

Universal acclaim - based on 58 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 58 out of 58
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 58
  3. Negative: 0 out of 58
  1. Fans who loved the first two games shouldn't hesitate in picking up Bowser's Inside Story. It features everything that makes the series enjoyable and adds onto it everything but the kitchen sink. Despite a few minor flaws, it's a game that features an ingenious game design synonymous with Nintendo games and is easily one of the best DS games of the year.
  2. The bottom line on Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story is that it's one of those games that every DS owner should buy, period. Regardless of your feelings about RPGs, the title is just so entertaining and well-executed that you're nearly guaranteed to love it.
  3. The freshest, most vital RPG on the DS for ages. You'd be daft to pass it up. [Nov 2009, p.76]