Even though I own several less-portable consoles, lately I’ve found myself spending more of my gaming time on the 3DS than the Wii, PS3, or Xbox 360. In fact, even though I recently purchased Grand Theft Auto V I haven’t touched it. The 3DS has occupied an interesting amount of free time; something that is rare these days.
While away on a work trip I was itching to pickup a new game for my Nintendo 3DS. I had viewed some of the demo videos and read a few, positive snippets about Mario & Luigi: Dream Team so one night I purchased and downloaded the game via the Nintendo eShop on the 3DS.
I’ve found this game to be more addictive than anything else I’ve played in a while. The mechanics are somewhat similar to Paper Mario: Sticker Star. It’s a combination of RPG and action gameplay and many of the battles boil down to using certain items, moves, and (mostly) perfect timing. That being said, it’s also very different from Sticker Star in many ways. As far as I can tell this is a much larger game.
I’m reluctant to admit, somewhat embarrassedly, that I’ve put in over 40 hours into this game and I’m not quite finished. Though I still identify myself as a gamer the truth is that, on average, I typically spend less than five hours playing video games in an average month. Even I find this amount of time (and dedication – let’s avoid the use of ‘addiction’) surprising. Some of my run-throughs of the first Mass Effect game ran about the same length.
Much of my gameplay wasn’t spent just following the story and trying to finish the game. Indeed, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time just grinding to level up my characters prior to some major battles.
If you’re looking for a good place to grind before you reach some later levels (perhaps when your characters are around the 30 level mark) then going between the cave at the far end of Driftwood Shore and the cave in Dozing Sands Hinterlands seemed to work well.
I’ve enjoyed most of the game. The only major thing that I found very annoying were the big boss battles. They can be frustrating. In every case it didn’t take many battles with each boss to learn all of the boss moves and deliver counter-attacks but the entire process can take a lot of time. Right now my game is sitting at one of the final big boss battles (perhaps even the last one) because I needed a break from this particular, very frustrating experience. I’ve learned a good bit regarding how to survive but the length of the battle makes any mistakes or failures that much more aggravating. One of the reasons I’m not a fan of the big battles is simply because they seem to break up the game in an odd way.
But overall it’s been a lot of fun and worth the cost. Again, I have some regrets about choosing the convenience of a downloaded game. Space isn’t much of an issue. Even though the 8 GB SD card had plenty of room I went ahead and replaced it with a 32 GB SD card. However, the main drawback is that when I’m finished with it I can’t loan the game to someone else to play. But that’s not something I wasn’t already aware of and it is convenient to not have to carry another cartridge around.
Here are a few links that anyone playing the game may find helpful (note that some will have spoilers so if that’s a problem you may just want to skim to what you’re looking for):
- Nintendo 3DS Daily: Mario & Luigi Dream Team Boss Guide
- Nintendo 3DS Daily: Mario & Luigi Dream Team; Some Useful Expert Advice
Updated 11/2/2013: I finally finished the game after spending around 65 hours playing. Much of the time playing was spread out and the majority of it was spent simply grinding to increase my stats so later bosses would be easier to defeat. Here are a couple of things I’ve learned along the way.
As I mentioned before the cave in Driftwood Shore and the cave in Dozing Sands Hinterland are good places to level grind if you’re in the 30-40 levels. Later on, as one gets into the 40-50 range the Dozing Sands Hinterland cave is an alright place to grind though one can gain more experience in Somnom Woods and the final area of Bowser’s castle.
It’s worth realizing that once you’ve beaten the final boss then the game is over. Unlike some games, you won’t be able to finish exploring. Instead, if you reload the game save you’ll start where you last saved. In my case I had saved just before I fought the last boss. However, at that point it is possible to turn back, leave the castle, and continue grinding.
So far I haven’t found a quick way to level up and it’s unlikely that I’ll spend much time trying to reach level 100 or max out all of my stats at 999.
If you do choose to grind stats all the way up then you’ll find the “Farmer Boots” beneficial. These are rare, large gift drops that one can receive from defeating Flaming Antasmatons in Bowser’s Castle. It didn’t take long for me to receive on pair but it did take a very long time to win another pair despite numerous battles and even having both brothers wearing Gift Gloves DX. The Farmer Boots will cause some enemies to drop various beans. When farming beans it’s best to find large groups of enemies and it can be done more quickly if your brother is able to attack on the overworld and thus kill all enemies in the preemptive strike.
One trick, which I learned from someone in a forum post, is to find Flaming Antasmatons that are group with other enemies. Then, only take out the Flaming Antasmaton. If it doesn’t drop a gift just run away, let it reset, and then go back into battle. This trick will save time because a new one will always respawn in the next battle, thus saving time by not requiring one to wandering around looking for another or even having to leave the castle to get them to respawn.
Items & Gear
As is mentioned in one of the articles that I’ve linked to, there isn’t much need to purchase many items. For the most part, one can pickup many of these through the course of numerous battles. Later on there is a set of “bottomless” gloves that won’t use up items from inventory during battles, but by that point it wasn’t much of an issue.
For the most part, I only spent a significant amount of coins on gear.