Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story (JP) (KO) (also called M&LBIT, Mario & Luigi RPG 3, or Mario & Luigi 3) is the third installment in the Mario & Luigi series and the second to be released on the Nintendo DS.
It was developed by AlphaDream and featured, for the first time in the series, Bowser as a playable character, with the babies from Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time no longer present. The game was announced at E3 2009.
The game was later remade for the Nintendo 3DS in December 2018 in Japan and 2019 worldwide under the name of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey. Outside Japan, the release year marks the 10th anniversary of this game.
After the Mushroom Kingdom's citizens start contracting the blorbs, a disease that swells Toads, Princess Peach holds a conference meeting, which includes Mario, Luigi, Toadbert, Toadsworth, and a Star Sprite named Starlow. Bowser crashes into the room in his attempts to join the meeting and is sent flying out of Peach's Castle after easily being defeated by Mario. While in Dimble Wood, Bowser comes across a cloaked merchant, who is Fawful in disguise, that gives him a "Lucky Mushroom" that causes him to inhale his surroundings, in which this ability is used to suck in the characters attending the conference at Peach's Castle.
Mario, Luigi, and Starlow reawaken inside the Trash Pit area of Bowser's body, where they use their acquired hammers to hit an exposed nerve and rouse Bowser, who had been dumped in Cavi Cape Cave. Starlow, who talks to Bowser throughout the game under the alias "Chippy", withholds information surrounding the Mario Bros.'s whereabouts and assists him in remembering the past events. Bowser then encounters Fawful, who explains that the blorbs and the Vacuum Mushroom he gave Bowser were all part of a plan to conquer both the Mushroom Kingdom and Bowser's Castle. He then has his minion, Midbus, battle Bowser, where Midbus wins against him and abandon him.
Bowser helps a stranded Broque Monsieur get back on Plack Beach, where Broque rewards Bowser a Vacuum Block, allowing him to control his sucking abilities. After defeating the Sea Pipe Statue, Bowser drinks water which allows Mario and Luigi to enter the Pump Works and defeat the Scutlet bug that was blocking Bowser's fire breath at the Flame Pipe. After subduing Broque's pet dog Broggy, Bowser enters Dimble Wood, where he eventually comes across three of his minions: Sergeant Guy, Corporal Paraplonk, and Private Goomp. They plan to retake Bowser's castle with a Banzai Bill launcher, where Bowser is required to find ammunition. Bowser procures a giant carrot as a makeshift missile, but the owner, a Wiggler, makes him eat it and then attacks him. After he obtains the Banzai Bill from the Wiggler, Bowser is then overcome with stomach pain caused by consuming a parasitic Durmite along with the carrot; Mario and Luigi then defeat it in battle.
Midbus dodges Bowser's Banzai Bill by launching the castle and landing it on Bowser. The Mario Bros. revive him from the Rump Command, which unintentionally turns Bowser as giant as the castle. After Bowser defeats the castle, it flies away with Bowser in pursuit, traveling through Bumpsy Plains and Bowser Path to reach the destination. Bowser deflects Midbus's iron ball, which knocks the castle down. Entering the castle, Bowser discovers that Fawful has turned it into a theater and brainwashed all the Koopa Troop members into a pack of his own adoring fans. Fawful himself arrives and tricks Bowser, forcing him to perform a cage match with Midbus on stage. When Bowser wins, his prize is being forcibly fed fattening foods cooked by Fawful, gaining so much weight that he breaks through the floor and becomes trapped.
Exploring the newly opened Flab Zone and defeating some Kretin enemies, Mario and Luigi are reunited with Princess Peach, who explains that Fawful is actually after the Dark Star, an evil entity locked away under Toad Town that can only be revived using Peach herself. Fawful then uses a laser to extract Peach from Bowser and he and Midbus leave with her, while Bowser falls the rest of the way through the floor onto a treadmill they placed beneath him in the basement. He literally burns off all the excess fat, igniting a crate of Bob-ombs in the process which sends him blasting off back to Cavi Cape. He meets up with some Monty Mole minions and helps them drill all the way to Toad Town, but when Bowser wanders into the corridor leading to the Dark Star, the security system activates and electrocutes him into unconsciousness.
Mario and Luigi gain access to the Pipe Yard in Bowser's body, which allows them to use warp pipes to return to the outside world. They emerge in the Toad Town Caves themselves and try to head off Fawful, but arrive too late. Fawful takes the Dark Star to Peach's Castle and uses its power to create a barrier preventing the Mario Bros. from following him. With no other option, they head to Dr. Toadley to try and do something about the blorbs problem instead, but Bowser arrives at the clinic as well and the three battle, with Bowser losing. Dr. Toadley then tells Mario and Luigi that they need to collect three Star Cures to cure the blorbs and possibly find a way into the castle. Bowser awakens, hears this and rushes off, determined to find the cures before the Bros. Dr. Toadley then reveals to Mario and Luigi that the first cure is held by Durmite inside Bowser's body, and they head back in to get it. They locate Durmite immediately, but it flees through an impassable barrier of Boo Blocks, stopping the Mario Bros. in their tracks.
Meanwhile, Bowser heads to the shores of Blubble Lake, where his sneezes raise the propeller-topped Tower of Yikk out of the water and straight onto him. The Mario Bros. supersize Bowser again and he defeats the moving tower, venturing inside once he shrinks back to his regular size and meeting the ghost of Yikk, who shines his invention, the Boo-ray Machine, on Bowser's gut. The light from the machine causes the blocks to disappear and help Mario and Luigi navigate the maze beyond them, allowing them to track down Durmite, whose reveals herself to be a sage named Wisdurm. She battles them, turning to a butterfly after her defeat, dropping the Star Cure and flying off.
Bowser leaves the tower and meets up with Private Goomp, who tells him that he already had one of the Star Cures locked away in his treasure chamber, having recently stolen it from an old Koopa named Kuzzle. Bowser returns to his castle, regaining access to his treasure vault by pushing a statue of Fawful through the barricades in the floor, only to find that the Monty Bros. were now under Fawful's control and had built a railway straight through the vault. They use their train to ram Bowser out of the castle and into a boulder, resulting in another emergency revival and giant battle between Bowser and the train. Returning to his vault after destroying the train, Bowser realizes that he has forgotten the combination to the safe that the Star Cure is stored in, and asks "Chippy" to retrieve it for him. In the Memory Banks, Mario and Luigi have to defeat blocky doppelgangers of themselves, crafted from Bowser's own memories of them. After that, they reassemble a puzzle representing the memory and Bowser opens his safe, only to be pushed in by Private Goomp, Sergeant Guy, and Corporal Paraplonk, who had turned to Fawful's side. With nothing else to do in the cramped safe, Bowser eats the Star Cure, and it is retrieved from his gut by the Mario Bros.
Mario and Luigi return to Toad Town and are sent after the final Star Cure by Dr. Toadley. Guided by the doctor's messenger bird, Birdley, they meet the sage known as Chakron at the top of a cliff over Plack Beach, but he will only give them the Star Cure if they can knock him out of the pose he has held for a thousand years. After a cryptic hint from Chakron, Mario and Luigi head for Dimble Wood to collect Attack Pieces for the ground-shaking Snack Basket move, but Mario is kidnapped by a Sockop and has to be rescued by Luigi, who wears a knocked-out Sockop like a Goomba's Shoe to sneak into the enemies' territory. Reunited and having gathered all the pieces, the brothers return to Chakron and knock him over, so true to his word, he gives them the final Star Cure.
Back at the clinic, Dr. Toadley creates the Miracle Cure from the three Star Cures, which flies around ridding all the Toads of the blorbs and then allows Mario and Luigi to blast their way through the barriers to get to Peach's Castle. They search the gardens for a way in and are attacked by Midbus, who uses the remote-control Junker robot to fight them. The Mario Bros. win the battle and the robot goes haywire, throwing the safe containing Bowser into a pile of garbage, breaking it open. Bowser's back seized up from being in the cramped safe for so long, so Mario and Luigi go back inside him to fix it, allowing him to break into Peach's Castle for them.
Bowser fights his way to Fawful and Midbus as they are slowly awakening the Dark Star. Fawful supercharges his minion into Blizzard Midbus, but Bowser wins the ensuing fight and Midbus's new ice powers end up freezing him solid. Bowser punches out Fawful as he tries to absorb the Dark Star's powers and he only gets a portion of it, with the rest of the revived evil entity forcing its way inside Bowser. Mario and Luigi chase the Dark Star around as it absorbs Bowser's DNA and takes on his characteristics, eventually emerging as an incomplete copy of Bowser, which sucks up Peach and floats off in search of the rest of its power. Bowser goes after it but is sidetracked by a final giant battle against Peach's Castle, which had been transformed into a giant robot by Fawful. He then battles Fawful himself, now souped-up by the Dark Star's powers into Dark Fawful. Bowser wins the fight and Fawful turns into a small ball of dark energy and tries to get away, but is absorbed by the Dark Star, allowing it to fully transform into Dark Bowser.
The real Bowser goes after his copy, chasing it to the tallest tower where it deposits the unconscious Peach before being confronted by Bowser, who aims to collect Peach, both castles and the Dark Star's powers. The final battle is waged on two fronts, starting off with Bowser fighting his clone, before punching it in the gut and forcing it to spit up Fawful. Bowser sucks up the little ball of energy and Mario and Luigi take over the fight, defeat both Fawful and the Dark Star Core inside Bowser. This leaves Dark Bowser unstable, and the real Bowser punches it until it explodes, freeing the Mushroom Kingdom from the Dark Star’s influence forever.
Inside Bowser, Fawful is then revealed to be on his way out, and with a dying grin, he attempts to take the Mario Bros. with him in a final explosion of his own, but all this accomplishes is making Bowser eject everyone he had inhaled. The liberated Toads and the now-conscious Peach move to congratulate Mario and Luigi on a job well done, and Bowser, confused and angry, realizes that the brothers had been inside his body the whole time. Starlow dismissively tells Bowser to not worry about what's in the past, but discovering that she was his supposedly loyal minion "Chippy" throws Bowser into a complete rage. The Toads and the Princess flee from the scene, and the credits show a montage of still images showing that Bowser loses the ensuing fight.
Afterward, the heavily-injured Bowser is seen lying in bed at his castle while Private Goomp, Sergeant Guy, and Corporal Paraplonk beg him for forgiveness over their treason. Birdley arrives with a package from Peach, but when Starlow pops out of it to check in on him, Bowser angrily tells her to leave, as he is too busy fixing his castle to attack again anytime soon. He then lets the trio rejoin the rest of the Koopa Troop in helping with the repairs, and only once he is sure he is alone does Bowser open the package, revealing a thank-you cake with himself, Mario, Luigi, and Peach on it.
As in the other Mario & Luigi games, there is no "Endless Play" feature. As such, if the player plays the game after it is beaten and the ending is done, the game will just start from the last save point, before the final battle.
The overworld for Bowser, and the Mario Bros. are different. Mario and Luigi actually travel inside Bowser's body in a sidescrolling setting reminiscent of classic Mario platformers. Each section inside Bowser's body is small and the brothers can easily traverse the body via the map. However, in one pint during the game, the Bros. gain the ability to traverse outside of Bowser's body and move in any direction.
When controlling Bowser, on the other hand, the player is given much more freedom. Rather than be constricted to only left and right, the player can go in any direction they wish. Oftentimes Bowser will be too weak to perform a certain action such as pulling something towards him, so the brothers will be required to enter a certain part of his body and stimulate body parts (such as muscles) so that he'll be given enhanced abilities. Occasionally an event will occur in Bowser's body that will prevent him from performing actions that he normally can such as breathing fire, so the brothers will have to inspect his body and find what's wrong and fix it.
Battles will be triggered when either the Mario Bros. or Bowser touches an enemy. There are no random enemies in the game. Fighting enemies and consequently defeating them will result in experience points. Once you receive a certain amount of experience points, your character will level up. After each level up, the amount of points he'll need in order to level up again will rise.
Battles are turn based as in the previous titles. Mario and Luigi will fight together during battles but Bowser will fight alone. Like on the world map, the A and B buttons are both assigned to Mario and Luigi. During the course of the game the player will find special attack parts that will give the characters special attacks. These special attacks can be found in blocks marked with an "A", though Bowser's parts can be collected by saving his minions and Blitties. Each of the attacks use SP, which can be refilled by using Syrup.
Fighting with Mario and Luigi is similar to the other titles. The player chooses an action for each character from six different categories, and following this they'll execute the action, whether it be to attack an enemy, escape, or use an item. Attacks can become more potent by pressing either the A or B button (depending on the character) at the exact moment that they connect with the enemy.
For example, if Mario is assigned to jump on a foe, the moment his shoe touches the enemy the player is required to press the A button in order to deliver more damage than he normally would. A new option is available called Bros. Badges. As in previous games, badges can be purchased in shops and found throughout the game's world. In this game, when each brother's bar during battle meets in the middle, they are able to execute a command that will benefit them. The bars only increase when they are able to time their attacks so that they deliver more damage.
- Mario - The protagonist in red and older brother of Luigi.
- Luigi - The protagonist in green and younger brother of Mario.
- Princess Peach - The Mushroom Kingdom ruler or princess.
- Bowser - The villain who inhales everybody at the beginning of the game.
- Starlow - The little star-like creature who helps Mario and Luigi along in their adventure.
- Fawful - The main villain who is going against everybody.
- Midbus - Fawful's sidekick.
- Broque Madame - A block-like creature made out of ? Blocks.
- Broque Monsieur - A shopkeeper, who is a famous block collector.
- Broggy - Broque Monsieur's canine friend.
- Toadsworth - Peach's second-hand man.
- Dr. Toadley - The doctor that informs Mario, Luigi, and Bowser where the Star Cures are.
- Magikoopa (possibly Kamek) - He instructs Bowser at the beginning of the game.
- Blue Paratroopas - Instructs Mario and Luigi on how to use the Blue Shell item.
- Yikk - Creator of The Tower of Yikk.
- Kuzzle - Guards the second Star Cure.
- Blitties - Bowser must get these and give them to Broque Monseiur.
- Sergeant Guy - One of the members of Bowser's army. Contains a sack with a grey Pipe inside of it and a Magikoopa wand.
- Corporal Paraplonk - One of the members of Bowser's army. A red Paratroopa wearing a red bucket on his head and is wearing green shoes.
- Private Goomp - One of the members of Bowser's army. Appears to be wearing blue clothes and appears to be sad.
- Chakron - Guardian of the third Star Cure.
- Princess Lipid - Explains to Mario and Luigi how to use the badges.
- Toads - Gives Mario and Luigi some advice.
- Main article: List of enemies in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
- Air Cannon
- Air Cheep
- Alarm Bob-omb
- Bubble Blooper
- Chain Chawful
- Dark Fawful Bomb
- Dark Fawful Guy
- Dark Mechawful Body
- Dark Mechawful Head
- Dark Mechawful.5
- Dark Satellmite
- Dark Trashure
- Drillbit Crab
- Elite Goombule
- Fawful Guy
- Glam Lakitu
- Jail Goon
- Junker Can
- Lakitu King
- Leaf Guy
- Mawful Mole
- Mechawful Body
- Mechawful Head
- Metal Mawful Mole
- Piranha Plorp
- Sniffle Thwomp
- Spike Blop
These are all the bosses in the game. Bosses entirely covered in ball mean that it is a giant boss fought by Giant Bowser.
|Bowser (first time)||25||0||0||Peach's Castle||Mario & Luigi|
|Midbus (first time)||79||0||0||Cavi Cape||Bowser|
|Broque Monsieur||158||30||0||Plack Beach||Bowser|
|Stone Blooper||300||150||50||Plack Beach||Bowser (statue)|
Mario & Luigi (blooper)
|Scutlet||280||200||50||Flame Pipe||Mario & Luigi|
|Durmite||326||300||120||Nerve Cluster||Mario & Luigi|
|Bowser's Castle||535||380||200||Dimble Wood||Giant Bowser|
|Midbus (second time)||950||550||350||Bowser Castle||Bowser|
|Alpha Kretin/Beta Kretin||20 per ball|
|700||200||Flab Zone||Mario & Luigi|
|Bowser (second time)||1,215||1,000||500||Toadley Clinic||Mario & Luigi|
|Tower of Yikk||508||1,800||800||Blubble Lake||Giant Bowser|
|Wisdurm||1,610||2,800||600||Energy Hold||Mario & Luigi|
|Fawful Express||885||3,500||1,000||Bowser Castle||Giant Bowser|
|Bowser Memory M & Bowser Memory L||730 (M)|
|1,500 (each)||350||Memory Banks||Mario & Luigi|
|Chakron||9,999||0||0||Plack Beach||Mario & Luigi|
|Shroobs (optional)||500 (each)||900||300||Bowser Castle||Mario & Luigi|
|Junker||1,445||6,000||900||Peach's Castle Garden||Mario & Luigi|
|Blizzard Midbus||2,041||6,500||1,200||Peach's Castle||Airway|
|Dark Star||1,248||9,999||2,000||Airway||Mario & Luigi|
|Super Peach's Castle||1,488||7,500||2,000||Peach's Castle Garden||Giant Bowser|
|Dark Fawful & Vacuum Helmet||1,736 (Fawful)|
|1,600||Peach's Castle||Bowser (Fawful)|
Mario & Luigi (Helmet)
|Dark Bowser||1,000||0||0||Peach's Castle||Bowser|
|Dark Star Core||1,560 (Main)|
|0||0||Peach's Castle||Mario & Luigi|
|#2||Alpha Kretin X/Beta Kretin X||135 per ball|
|#4||Bowser Memory MX & Bowser Memory LX||2,500 (MX)|
|#6||Dark Star X||4,030||12,500|
- Globins - A species that lives in Bowser's body. There are many types.
- Mushroom - Restores 30 HP to Mario and Luigi.
- Super Mushroom - Restores 60 HP.
- Ultra Mushroom - Restores 120 HP.
- Max Mushroom - Restores 240 HP.
- 1-up Mushroom - Revives Mario or Luigi with half of their HP restored.
- 1-up Deluxe - Fully revives Mario or Luigi.
- Hot Drumstick - Restores 80 HP to Bowser.
- Fiery Drumstick - Restores 150 HP to Bowser.
- TNT Drumstick - Restores 280 HP to Bowser.
- Nut - Restores 20 HP to both Bros.
- Super Nut - Restores 40 HP to both Bros.
- Ultra Nut - Restores 80 HP to both Bros.
- Max Nut - Restores 160 HP to both Bros.
- Syrup Jar - Restores 10 SP.
- Superstar Syrup - Restores 20 SP.
- Ultrasyrup Jar - Restores 30 SP.
- Max Syrup Jar - Restores 40 SP.
- Star Candy - Fully restores all HP and SP.
- Refresing Herb - Cures Status Aliments.
- HP Bean - Increases HP by one.
- POW Bean - Increases Attack by one.
- SP Bean - Increases SP by one.
There are two special attack genera that can be encountered in the game: Bros. and Brawl attacks.
|Bowser Specials (Brawl Attacks)|
|Goomba Storm*||6 SP||Freeing the Goombas in Dimble Wood.||The Goombas charge their target and Bowser has to burn them with his fire breath to power them up.||This targets a single enemy by default, but killing the target causes the move to target another random enemy.|
|Shy Guy Squad||8 SP||Freeing the Shy Guys in Bowser Path.||Bowser enters his shell and the Shy Guys roll Bowser Back to send him flying into his target. Press X to kick for more damage.||This move targets a single enemy.|
|Koopa Corps||10 SP||Freeing the Koopas in Blubble Lake.||The Koopas charge their target and Bowser has to kick them back. Drag his body to change his position.||This targets all enemies at random.|
|Bob-omb Blitz||12 SP||Freeing the Bob-ombs in Bowser Castle.||The bob-ombs light their fuses and Bowser directs their paths.||The player can choose Bowser's target.|
|Magikoopa Mob||15 SP||Freeing the Magikoopas in Peach's Castle.||The Magikoopas go on the offensive with their spells as Bowser powers them up with his magic.||This targets all enemies at random.|
|Broggy Bonker||20 SP||Finding all 15 Blitties and giving them to Broque Monsieur.||Bowser cleans Broggy to power him. Broggy roughs up his enemy and then charges from behind with the same moves he used as a boss.||This targets a single foe by default, but if he kills the enemy Bowser instructed him to kill, Broggy changes targets.|
|Mario & Luigi Specials (Bros. Attacks)|
|Green Shell*||3 SP||Finding all 10 attack pieces in Trash Pit.||The Bros. kick a Green Koopa Shell toward their target.||This targets a single foe by default, but switches to another random enemy if the Bros. kill their target.|
|Fire Flower||4 SP||Finding all 10 attack pieces in Pump Works.||The Bros. use a Fire Flower to enter their Fire Forms and throw fireballs at the target. Press the button of the Bro. whose hand has the bigger fireball.||This targets all enemies at random.|
|Jump Helmet||6 SP||Finding all 10 attack pieces in Flab Zone.||Luigi advances with a golden spring-loaded Koopa Shell on his head as Mario jumps off him towards his target and attacks with a dropkick.||This move targets a single enemy.|
|Yoo Who Cannon*||7 SP||Given by the Blue Paratroopas after Mario & Luigi learn how to use Blue Shells.||Mario and Luigi hide in barrels that launch them at full speed. Remember which Bro. is in each barrel and press his button. If you get it wrong, the move is botched.||This targets foes randomly, striking up to eight.|
|Super Bouncer||7 SP||Finding all 10 attack pieces in Energy Hold.||Mario launches a giant ball and Luigi tries to get to the top. Luigi them must smash his target with B and Mario must launch the ball again.||This move targets a single foe, but can collide with a different target through random chance. If the Bros. kill their target, the move will target foes randomly.|
|Mighty Meteor*||8 SP||Given by Dr. Toadley's intern after the Dark Star's blockade is destroyed.||Mario and Luigi launch the Mighty Meteor towards their target with their hammers. Hold to power up.||This targets foes randomly, up to four.|
|Spin Pipe||10 SP||Solving Kuzzle's first puzzle at his house at Plack Beach.||Mario and Luigi enter the Spin Pipe and strike their target in rhythm.||This targets a single foe by default, switching to a different foe if that target dies.|
|Snack Basket*||14 SP||Finding all 10 attack pieces in Dimble Wood.||Luigi eats food, causing his body to grow huge. Mario then launches him into the sky with A. Press B to have Luigi slam his body onto the floor. When he lands, he creates a shockwave.||This targets all grounded enemies and damages them all at once.|
|Magic Window||18 SP||Defeating the optional Shroob boss at Bowser Castle.||The Bros. dropkick their target from windows.||This targets all enemies at once, but flubs if a Bro. attacks a spiny foe.|
|Falling Star||20 SP||Finding all 10 attack pieces in Peach's Castle (seven are found in one particular block, while the other three are found in invisible blocks, marked on the map).||The Bros. throw stars to power the Falling Star.||This targets a single enemy.|
(*) = required
- Near the beginning of the game Fawful exclaims "A WINNER IS YOU!", a reference to the Nintendo Entertainment System video game Pro Wrestling.
- The Elder Princess Shroob from Partners in Time can be found in Bowser's basement.
- Various references to Wii Fit are made throughout the title.
- The Sockop enemy is a reference to Kuribo's Shoe from Super Mario Bros. 3.
- Viruses from Dr. Mario can be seen on a poster in Dr. Toadley's office.
- The Cavities that Toothy shoots out resemble the Viruses from Dr. Mario.
- The Shy Guy enemies near Bowser's Castle can be hit with an off screen tongue, pull out of sight, then a targeting box comes out and an egg is spit out at Mario or Luigi. This is an attack used by Yoshi in his video games.
Differences from other Mario & Luigi games
While a direct sequel in the Mario & Luigi series, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story still has several differences compared to the first two Mario & Luigi games.
- This is the first game to feature more than one optional boss stronger than the final boss.
- This is the first game in the series not to feature Professor E. Gadd, or Yoshi.
- This is the only game in the series to feature Bowser as a main protagonist.
- This is the first Mario & Luigi game to give Mario and Luigi's in-game sprites eyebrows.
- This is the first game in the series where Mario and Luigi can double jump in battle; in battle in the first game they could not while in the second game they needed the babies to do it.
- This is the only Mario & Luigi game to not have any traditional enemies as common enemies, besides derived species which only appear in this game.
- This is the only Mario & Luigi game to not have a snow, desert, mountain, or temple-themed area.
- This is the first Mario & Luigi game to have optional bosses that do not need to be faced at all. The first instance was three of the four Popple fights and Jojora in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, who are not required to be defeated, but can be defeated for extra experience and items.
- Unlike Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time for the Nintendo DS, this game makes greater use of the DS's touch controls and microphone.
- This is the first game in the Mario & Luigi series (as well as the fourth RPG overall) to have Bowser as a playable character.
- The player can equip Mario and Luigi with pants, gloves, shoes, socks, and accessories instead of just pants as in the first two Mario & Luigi games.
- Badges have a different function. Bro. Badge moves can be performed with them. This game contains eight badges, which is notably less than the previous Mario & Luigi games.
- This is the first of the series to have power-ups or other items in the overworld such as the blue Koopa Troopa shell.
- This is the first Mario & Luigi game to have a rank system. This means, if the player gets at a certain level, they will go to a higher rank. Ranks for Mario and Luigi are the Mushroom Rank, Shell Rank, Flower Rank, Shine Rank, Star Rank, and the Rainbow Rank. Bowser’s ranks are the Bronze Boss Rank, Silver Boss Rank, Gold Boss Rank, and the Final Boss Rank.
- Mario and Luigi get the hammers earlier in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story than in other Mario & Luigi games.
- The Scratch Card is introduced, allowing the main characters to earn back coins after spending them.
- This is also the first game where the hammerheads do not fall off in defense when held too long; the bro. just puts it down. Consequently, the hammer can also be held much longer.
- In the first two games in the series, Mario and Luigi use a suitcase to store anything they collect in their journey. In Bowser's Inside Story, however, they use the star menu, managed by Starlow in order to access their items.
- This is the first game to have a Boss-Refight or Skill Challenge.
- This is the first time in the Mario RPG series that a sequel has been released on the same system as its predecessor.
- This is the second game where the Mario Bros. battle inside Bowser's body, the first being Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, where they battle Cackletta's Soul inside Bowser. Fawful (who worked for Cackletta) is fought in a similar way to Cackletta. Also, before both battles take place, the player fights an affected form of Bowser. While Mario and Luigi are sucked into Bowser and Cackletta was inside him, for Fawful it is the reverse; Bowser inhales Dark Fawful, and he fights the Mario Bros. inside of Bowser.
- This is the first Mario & Luigi game where Bowser does not end up possessed by the main villain, as well as the first RPG game since Paper Mario where the main villain does not actually possess one of the main characters.
- However, Dark Bowser is a character who has copied Bowser lineaments by gathering his DNA, and is similar to previous Bowser possessions.
- This is the first Mario & Luigi game to be released in Japan before any other country.
- This is the first Mario & Luigi game in which the American box art is the same as the Japanese box art. The European box art, while not exactly the same, uses the same pictures and background as the Japanese box art.
- This is the first Mario & Luigi game to have multiple languages for its North American release. Both the French and Spanish translations are distinct from those of Europe.
References to other games
- The Legend of Zelda - In Toad Town, Mario and Luigi meet a Toad who teaches them how to dig up special beans. After finishing, he states, "Find all you can. They're a secret to everybody!", in reference to the saying in this game where the Secret Moblin would give Link free Rupees after saying, "It's a secret to everybody."
- Super Mario Bros. 2 - During Bowser's battle with the giant Wiggler, the Wiggler sometimes attacks by pulling out vegetables, which are the same ones that are seen in this game. Also, one of Bowser's brainwashed minions states that he forgot what Bowser's castle was originally called (before it was turned into "Fawful Theater"), and mistakenly referred to it as "Mouser's Castle".
- Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars - In addition to the storyline of Bowser attempting to reclaim his castle, Bowser states that Chippy could be an honorary member of the Koopa Troop, and she could "thank him later" (just like when Bowser rationalizes joining Mario's party). In addition, some notes of the Forest Maze track appear in the Toad Town and Peach's Castle themes.
- Super Mario Bros. 3 - The starting section of the file select music is similar to the P-Switch and Toad House theme. Sockops are clearly meant to resemble the Kuribo's Shoe, and at one point Luigi will even hop around inside an unconscious Sockop, allowing him to walk along spikes without taking damage, just as the Kuribo's Shoe does. In addition, one of the Sockops' names is, apparently, Kuribo.
- Dr. Mario - Blue Viruses appear on a poster in Dr. Toadley's office, and in one of the Toothy's attacks.
- Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and Yoshi's Island DS - The Fawful Guy enemy can imitate the attack patterns of both the Woozy Guy and the Glide Guy. In addition, one of its attacks mirrors Yoshi's main form of offense in the game, egg throwing.
- Super Mario 64 - The music that plays within Peach's Castle when visiting it for the first time is a variation of its theme here.
- Super Mario Sunshine - One of the brother's ranks is called the Shine Rank.
- Paper Mario - The Koopa Paratroopa Trio in the game wear sunglasses, similar to this game. The blue Koopa shell power-up in the overworld is similar to Kooper's field ability. Also, Princess Peach using her combined powers with Starlow references Peach Beam.
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga - Fawful reappears as a villain. The way Bros. Attacks are used from this game is reused, and there is a slight remix of Cackletta's theme song that played in the background after Fawful took over Peach's castle. Mario and Luigi battle Dark Fawful inside of Bowser's body, just as they did with Cackletta. The chair seen near the Conference Room has the same design (seen only briefly in the beginning of said game). Also, the Mini Mario and Spin Jump abilities return.
- Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time - When Mario and Luigi talk to Broque Madame, she tells them stories about the Shroob invasion that took place in the game. Several Shroobs are also seen at Bowser's castle, where they were kept frozen in a cryogenic chamber. If the player chooses to thaw them out, then an optional boss battle with them will commence. During the battle, several other Shroobs, including Elder Princess Shroob can be seen in the background. After the battle, Mario and Luigi tell Starlow about their previous battle with the Shroobs, and how they defeated them while they were babies. While the audience is still in the theater in Bowser's castle, a Shroob can also be found sitting in the audience on the bottom right. Also, there is a boot called the Shroob Boots. Fawful Guys, which are fought by Mario and Luigi in Bowser Path, have an attack in which they are pulled offscreen by a tongue (during which the same roar heard from Yoob is heard), and are thrown at either one of the bros. in the form of an egg, which highly resembles one of Sunnycide's attacks. The Magic Window special attack uses infinate button inputs similar to various Bros. Items from this game.
- New Super Mario Bros. - Blue Shells make a reappearance, as does Shell Mario. A Mega Mushroom also occasionally appears during one of Broque Monsieur's attacks in his tutorial.
- Super Mario Galaxy - Spike Ball, the ability where Bowser curls into a ball, heavily resembles an attack that Bowser uses during his fights against Mario/Luigi.
References in later games
- Mario & Luigi: Dream Team - Starlow, Broque Monsieur, Broque Madame, Broggy, Private Goomp, Corporal Paraplonk, and Sergeant Guy all return to this game. Also, Bowser's theme is reused. The box art style is also reused.
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U - The songs "Tough Guy Alert!" and "The Grand Finale" return in this game.
- Nintendo Badge Arcade - One of the badges in the Pixel Collection set depicts the Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story game card.
- Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey - This game is a remake of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story with additional content.
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - The songs "Tough Guy Alert!" and "The Grand Finale" return in this game. Fawful, Starlow, and Broque Monsieur (using their respective artwork from this game) appear as spirits.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has received critical acclaim, with a score of 91.01% based on 47 reviews on GameRankings and a 90 based on 58 reviews on Metacritic, making it the highest-rated out of the Mario RPG games. Much of the game's praise was directed towards its gameplay, humor, storyline, integration of Bowser as one of the main protagonists, and innovative use of the Nintendo DS' capabilities.
Bowser's Inside Story has sold 3.81 million copies worldwide as of April 2016, making it the best-selling RPG in the Mario franchise.
Pre-release and unused content
Some enemies have an attack pattern for Mario and Luigi, even if they do not face them in the game. There are also several unused voice clips for Yoshi, coming from Yoshi's Story; there is also unused music from Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, although it will not play correctly. Early screenshots also show Treevils being battled at Plack Beach.
Mushroom Kingdom Tribune
The Mushroom Kingdom Tribune is a promotional newspaper sent by Nintendo via e-mail. This newspaper includes information about the release of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story.
This newspaper includes "Reviews from the Mushroom Kingdom", which are quotes from the game characters:
- "I have chortles!" - Fawful
- "Did someone just page the King of Awesome?" - Bowser
- "SUPER ULTRA WONDER ULTIMATE RUTHLESS GREAT IRON BALL!" - Midbus
Names in other languages
|Japanese||Mario ando Ruīji Ārupījī Surī!!! (Written マリオ&ルイージRPG3！！！)||Transliteration of "Mario & Luigi RPG 3!!!)|
|Español||Mario y Luigi: Viaje al Centro Bowserus||Translates as "Mario & Luigi: Journey to the Centre of Bowser". (Based on the book Journey to the Centre of the Earth.)|
|Français||Mario & Luigi: Voyage au centre de Bowser||Translates as "Mario & Luigi: Journey to the Centre of Bowser". (Based on the book Journey to the Centre of the Earth.)|
|Italiano||Mario e Luigi: Viaggio al Centro Bowserus||Translates as "Mario & Luigi: Journey to the Centre of Bowser". (Based on the book Journey to the Centre of the Earth.)|
- The title of the game is a parody on the term "inside story", meaning the "true" tale of an event from the perspective of an insider who participated in the action, as opposed to an outsider who only hears about the event later on. In this case, the game is a literal inside story, as Mario and Luigi have to adventure through Bowser's insides.
- The game's European Spanish, European French and Italian name is a parody on the famous novel A Journey to the Center of the Earth. The original French name is Voyage au centre de la Terre, the Spanish name is Viaje al centro de la Tierra, and the Italian name is Viaggio al centro della Terra.
- Bowser's icon for swimming when underwater is also Mario and Luigi's jump icon.
- ↑ http://www.gamerankings.com/ds/954368-mario-and-luigi-bowsers-inside-story/index.html
- ↑ http://www.metacritic.com/game/ds/mario-luigi-bowsers-inside-story
- ↑ https://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/pdf/2011/110426e.pdf#page=5
- Japanese Website for Mario & Luigi RPG 3!!!
- Nintendo of America's Website for Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
- Nintendo of America's gamepage for Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
- Nintendo of Europe's Website for Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
- Korean Website for Mario & Luigi RPG 3
- Nintendo Online Magazine article containing massive interview. (Japanese, needs translation)
Names in Other Languages
|Names in Other Languages|
|Spanish||Mario & Luigi: Viaje al Centro de Bowser||Mario & Luigi: A Journey to the Center of Bowser|
|French||Mario & Luigi: Voyage au centre de Bowser||Mario & Luigi: A Journey to the Center of Bowser|
|German||Mario & Luigi: Abenteuer Bowser||Mario & Luigi: Bowser Adventure|
|Mario RPG series|
|Super Mario RPG series||Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars|
|Paper Mario series||Paper Mario • The Thousand-Year Door • Super Paper Mario • Sticker Star • Color Splash • The Origami King|
|Mario & Luigi series||Superstar Saga (Bowser's Minions) • Partners in Time • Bowser's Inside Story (Bowser Jr.’s Journey) • Dream Team • Paper Jam|
|Mario + Rabbids series||Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle|