Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
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  1. Nintendo Force Magazine
    Aug 22, 2019
    The 3DS version of Bowser's Inside Story might not be fully necessary – the original is still 100% playable – but it's the definitive version of the game. [Issue #38 – March/April 2019, p. 68]
  2. Jan 31, 2019
    In the end, if you enjoy quirky RPG’s, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr's Journey should definitely be on your radar. The story is funny, the battle system is fun and engaging and just every part of the game is solid. I’m thoroughly convinced that any RPG fan would enjoy Bowser’s Inside Story and this remake is the way to do it!
  3. Jan 29, 2019
    Bowser’s Inside Story is a colourful, innovative and witty RPG adventure with a thoroughly engaging combat system; one of the best Nintendo DS games is now one of the best Nintendo 3DS games. Bowser Jr.’s Journey is a welcome - if light - addition to the package. However, most importantly, the main game remains the ultimate Mario & Luigi experience for many more reasons than introducing us to Bowser’s love of fried chicken and cheese.
  4. Jan 24, 2019
    One of the best portable role-players ever made and a joyful mix of bizarrely inventive gameplay and surprisingly sharp comedy.
  5. Jan 23, 2019
    In an age where remakes and remasters are as hotly anticipated as the biggest AAA title, it's great to see yet another gem from yesteryear arrive, giving players who never experienced it the first time around a second chance and letting players who enjoyed it originally revisit just what made it stand out to them. The Mario RPG series is a perfect example. It is criminally underrated and deserves to be lauded far more. Any new opportunity to do that is a blessing. This was an awesome game almost a decade ago and now it has gotten a fresh lick of paint and it is looking better than ever.
  6. Jan 21, 2019
    Bowser Jr.’s Journey is engaging as a real-time army-versus-army game. Because your party automatically runs toward enemies in the style of the opening scene from Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, you only have control over small but crucial elements of the skirmishes. Through punctual button presses, you can help your troops score critical hits, interrupt your foes’ techniques, and provide temporary buffs. Managing your forces here provides an interesting change of pace from the more unorthodox madness of Bowser’s Inside Story, cementing this release as the ultimate version of a pop masterpiece.
  7. Jan 21, 2019
    A great RPG adventure and a fantastic remake. If you own a Nintendo 3DS, then you should consider playing it.
  8. 90
    The remake stays faithful to the game released nearly a decade ago but gives a facelift to the visuals and music, putting fresh paint on a classic. Bowser Jr’s Journey is a nice addition, but might prove to be a bit too passive and at times too uninspired for many to see it the entire way through.
  9. Jan 11, 2019
    Mixing old concepts with new things, introduced with the Bowser Jr adventure, the game is a good way to have fun, appreciating the writing and craziness of some situations we're going through.
  10. Jan 11, 2019
    Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey stands as a well-made remake of a game that was excellent to begin with, polishing up the original in small ways and adding some extra content that meaningfully establishes its own identity. If you’ve ever been a fan of the Mario & Luigi series (or are looking for a reason to dust off the old 3DS), do yourself a favour and pick this game up. Although Bowser Jr.’s Journey is just an ‘okay’ addition, the inventive battles, great writing and creative gameplay of the main game make this one an easy recommendation.
  11. Mar 11, 2019
    Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story is just as good as it was in 2009. It's still side-splittingly funny, clever, and genuinely a joy to play. Bowser Jr.'s Journey is a major slog, but that doesn't diminish my overall enjoyment one bit. If you're looking for a fun, active RPG that will keep a smile on your face throughout hours of playtime, look no further than Bowser's Inside Story (or honestly, any of the games in the Mario & Luigi series)!
  12. Jan 29, 2019
    Ultimately the title is highly recommended to those who have not played the adventure within Bowser, while we suggest a little caution to those who had already lived it.
  13. Jan 14, 2019
    A great new version for one of the most beloved Nintendo's RPG games. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr's Journey is a must have for all 3DS owners.
  14. Feb 28, 2019
    There’s a lot of quality in this release, but it’s a hard one to recommend while the original game is playable on the same console for far less. I’m still not sure why Nintendo would put so much effort into this game at this time in the 3DS’s life, let alone with a title that can already be played on the console. If slightly dated graphics don’t matter, then the original can be had for a fraction of the cost. Otherwise there’s still a lot of content for $40 in the main game alone, and there’s of course the addition of the Bowser Jr.’s Journey. Regardless of the version however, Bowser’s Inside Story is one of the best in the Mario RPG titles and should be played.
  15. Feb 15, 2019
    Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr’s Journey is a one-two punch of fun, casual and amusing gameplay, complete with all the expected charm, humor, and challenge expected of a game in the Mario Universe. Bowser’s Inside Story is one of the more odd and varied titles I’ve ever played, but it is a little too easy. The overall product combines several of the best game styles into one, yet the final product feels incredibly cohesive and is a must play modern Mario experience.
  16. Feb 12, 2019
    Quotation forthcoming.
  17. Jan 21, 2019
    Mario & Luigi are back with a classic great adventure, now available on 3DS. Bowser Jr.’s Journey is a nice addition, but if you played the original you’re not missing a lot. Either way, it’s a game that we’ve enjoyed from the very first second.
  18. Jan 20, 2019
    Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story is a remarkably polished remake with well-balanced updates that makes the game all the more enjoyable. If you’ve been champing at the bit like a chain chomp to play another Mario & Luigi RPG, you can’t go far wrong with Bowser’s Inside Story. We’ll be here, keeping calm and chortling.
  19. Jan 11, 2019
    The updated visuals are attractive and the new mode is interesting – especially if you want to spend more time in that world – but if you played the 2009 original and consider yourself satisfied with that experience, then the incentive to return is small. If you’ve never played Bowser’s Inside Story, this is a fantastic way to experience what is probably the best of the Mario & Luigi games.
  20. Jan 28, 2019
    Another classic Mario RPG has made its way to 3DS in this remake of Bowser's Inside Story. The updated graphics and enjoyable Bowser Jr.'s Journey wonderfully complement a title that was already packed full of fun gameplay variety and hilarious absurdity.
  21. Feb 8, 2019
    This is a great combo that ten years ago defined the apex of the series. Now the differences are not so many and they're not enough to justify the full price of the release.
  22. Mar 4, 2019
    Mario & Luigi Bowser’s Inside Story is not a new name but this 3DS remaster is still a welcome effort thanks to its top-notch RPG mechanics with lovely visuals and sound, as well as its trademark humour and fun. While the new Bowser Jr. element doe not operate a revolution, the game's overall experience is nothing short of fun and it fits very nicely in the series' legacy.
  23. Feb 27, 2019
    The game design is brilliant, like the original game. In this new edition, Journey to the Center of Bowser has acquired a three-dimensional graphic detail that has definitely improved the loveliness of the game. The surreal and funny narration is a guarantee of many hours of fun in a colorful world, suitable for any age.
  24. Feb 21, 2019
    Everything fun from Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story gets a facelift, but what's new might not be special enough for another purchase.
  25. Feb 6, 2019
    A lot of time has passed since 2009, and I find it harder to unreservedly gush about games now than then. Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story was an unexpected delight when I first played it, while now the game is less surprising and more familiar. That doesn’t detract from its quality in any way, and anyone who missed it the first time and has even the slightest inkling of interest should immediately track down a copy. There really hasn’t been an outright bad Mario and Luigi game, but this one lays a worthy claim to being the strongest of all.
  26. Feb 3, 2019
    An addictive and snappy game with a lot of charm, worth your time and cash.
  27. Jan 24, 2019
    Arrives at Nintendo 3DS with the same magic, the same mechanics, and the same charm that a whole generation of players fell in love with a decade ago.
  28. Jan 22, 2019
    It's tough to recommend this release to anyone who already owns the DS version, a game that is still completely playable no matter which member of the 3DS family you own. Everything that was great about the original is still great here. But if you're one of the dwindling number of people still rocking a 3DS and you have yet to take a trip to the bowels of Bowser, it's an unforgettable adventure full of wit, charm, and comedy. Bowser Jr's Journey may not add anything worthwhile in regards to gameplay, but it does reaffirm that the strength of the Mario & Luigi franchise lies in its writing.
  29. Jan 22, 2019
    Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story is a highlight of its series; an addictive and snappy game with a lot of charm, but it is a bit difficult to say that the remake improves on it in a considerable manner. Still, it's a fine way to experience a great game nonetheless, but the art change might leave you cold, and the new Bowser Jr. mode doesn't add much value to the package.
  30. Jan 22, 2019
    All in all, this was a strong title that is a lot of fun for anyone, regardless of their attachment to the all-knowing behemoth that is the Mario franchise. The game should appeal to children with its ease to pick up (there’s even a mode to bring the difficulty down) and to adults with some downtime on their hands who want to rediscover (or discover) the world inside Bowser. While I don’t personally think it is the best introduction to the beloved franchise—I feel like I missed a lot of little things—it was never designed to be, and it is a strong title with good gameplay, fun comedy, and a lot of memorable scenes.
  31. Jan 21, 2019
    The extra mode certainly sweetens the pot for those who owned Bowser's Inside Story on DS, but fundamentally, it's the same game. If anything, the real drawback is the game coming off as an unnecessary surprise on the 3DS--which can already play the original game via backward compatibility. But the game itself remains one of Mario's RPG best, and it's a cheerful, inventive journey.
  32. 80
    Bowser Jr.'s Journey may not offer a ton of new content, but the core game is as good as ever. It might not be as enticing for returning players, but those on the hunt for a fun, relaxing RPG with quirky humor and a silly story will feel right at home.
  33. Jan 19, 2019
    With the 3DS slowly but surely coming to an end (it’s been eight years now), Bowser’s Inside Story is a wondrous journey from start to finish, closing out with an epic final boss battle and is simply a must-play for any fan of RPG’s and anyone who wants to get a deeper look at who Bowser exactly is, like a really deep look.
  34. Jan 18, 2019
    For as great as Bowser’s Inside Story is, it does little to justify busting out the 3DS again.
  35. Jan 14, 2019
    If you haven't played the original version this is the game for you. It looks pretty and colorful even though some elements are a bit outdated.
  36. Jan 11, 2019
    Ten years after the original, Mario & Luigi's third adventure brings a great back, thanks to its graphical re-haul and the addition of a new campaign, once again staring Bowser Jr. Whether you already played the game or not, this re-edition of one of the best episodes the series should definitively be worth your time.
  37. Jan 24, 2019
    Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr's Journey is a great RPG with different battle mechanics and scenes full of humor. It offers a great story, although we miss new content in it.
  38. Jan 18, 2019
    Bowser Jr’s Journey is easy to overlook and it’s a shame it wasn’t a more thought-out experience that could have been enjoyable given a good shake up instead of just being a glorified mobile title. There’s a lot of things done right here, but also some missed opportunities that could have been better executed overall. Anyone who wants to dive back into the Mario & Luigi RPG series will likely enjoy their time with Bowser’s Inside Story, but it’s an extremely relaxed experience that won’t be too memorable outside lots of chortles along the way.
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  1. Jan 29, 2019
    Overall Mario and Luigi Bowser’s Inside Story is a charming game. If you’ve never played this game before pick it up for this adventure alone. It is a fun enjoyable experience. However, Bowser Jr’s Journey should be skipped entirely, unless you are a completionist. The 3DS may be on the end of its life cycle, but that isn’t stopping Nintendo from putting out great games for the system. If you still have your 3DS and are a fan of RPGs, you will have fun with Bowser’s Inside Story.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 91 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 70 out of 91
  2. Negative: 17 out of 91
  1. Jan 11, 2019
    This is basically the third polishing of an otherwise gem of a game. If you picked up the last version on 3DS then you have the bulk of theThis is basically the third polishing of an otherwise gem of a game. If you picked up the last version on 3DS then you have the bulk of the game. The new missions and extra story are the whip cream and cherry on the sundae. Visuals also appear to have gotten a polish. Even though the old visuals on the last game weren’t bad. Definitely worth dusting off the old 3DS to play. Highly recommended! Full Review »
  2. Jan 13, 2019
    Remember playing Mario & Luigi games on my DS. It takes all elements of the original. Graphics feel more polished. For some reason I preferRemember playing Mario & Luigi games on my DS. It takes all elements of the original. Graphics feel more polished. For some reason I prefer the original. All in all this is a great port.

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  3. Feb 4, 2019
    Honestly, this port was one of the most disappointing games I've ever played. For context, the original BIS is one of my favorite games of allHonestly, this port was one of the most disappointing games I've ever played. For context, the original BIS is one of my favorite games of all time. The game has so much charm, personality, humor, and little details that make it absolutely amazing. Ok, now get rid of all of that and you have this remake. It feels so soulless compared to the original. It removes so much funny dialog, some sound effects are missing, and some voice lines are way less expressive than in the original. The graphics are kind of better, but in some places the original does look better. The gameplay is pretty much the same as before. So, if your ok with playing a game with no soul, you can at least have some fun turn-based battles. However, Bowser's Inside Story isn't the only adventure in this game. Bowser Jr has his own adventure in the form of Bowser Jr's Journey. Bowser Jr's Journey is absolutely amazing. It's everything I would have wanted from a sequel to the Bowser's Minions mode from the Superstar Saga remake. This side-mode has way more charm and personality than the main game. Bowser Jr had me laughing in almost every cutscene due to his interactions with other characters. The gameplay is also a huge improvement over Bowser's Minions. The gameplay involves recruiting different enemies from the Mario series to build your own team to fight in some real time battles. You can see what your enemies team is and change your team formation to fit your needs. Depending on what minions and team formation you use, you can do some special attacks and get some stat buffs like more defense or more health. The story also does a great job tying into the original story in BIS while adding to the story in interesting ways. I won't get into the story in detail here mostly because of spoilers though. It is still somewhat luck based and will require a good amount of grinding from time to time which can make it frustrating at points. Overall, Bowser Jr's Journey is an amazing expansion that's weighed down by a disappointing remake of an otherwise amazing game. Separately, I would give Bowser's Inside Story a 1/10 and give Bowser Jr's Journey a 9/10. Together however is a hard call to make. If Bowser Jr's Journey looks interesting to you or you have no way of getting the original game then I'd say get it, but if you were a big fan of the original game, aren't interested in Bowser Jr's Journey, have easy access to the original game on DS, or if you're looking for the classic Mario and Luigi experience then don't get this game. I should probably score the game higher, but if Nintendo is going undersell the actual good part of this game and overshadow it with worth soulless garbage than I'm going to overshadow the good with the bad.
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