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 2019 under the name of Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey.
Mario and Luigi are controlled together while Bowser is controlled separately. While not in battle, the A and B buttons will make Mario and Luigi jump, respectively. Bowser, on the other hand, can be controlled with the X and Y buttons, which will allow him to punch and breath fire. The touchscreen and mic is used in various mini games.
In Bowser's Inside Story, Mario and Luigi will trek through Bowser's body after being engulfed by him and subsequently shrunk while under the control of Fawful.
Bowser, on the other hand, will travel throughout the Mushroom Kingdom in order to reclaim his castle. Bowser's segments are open world while Mario and Luigi's parts are sidescrollers in a similar vein to Super Paper Mario.
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.
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.
|Goomba Storm*||6 SP||Freeing the Goombas in Dimble Wood.|
|Shy Guy Squad||8 SP||Freeing the Shy Guys in Bowser Path.|
|Koopa Corps||10 SP||Freeing the Koopas in Blubble Lake.|
|Bob-omb Blitz||12 SP||Freeing the Bob-ombs in Bowser Castle.|
|Magikoopa Mob||15 SP||Freeing the Magikoopas in Peach's Castle.|
|Broggy Bonker||20 SP||Finding all 15 Blitties and giving them to Broque Monsieur.|
|Mario & Luigi Specials|
|Green Shell*||3 SP||Finding all 10 attack pieces in Trash Pit.|
|Fire Flower||4 SP||Finding all 10 attack pieces in Pump Works.|
|Jump Helmet||6 SP||Finding all 10 attack pieces in Flab Zone.|
|Yoo Who Cannon*||7 SP||Given by the Blue Paratroopas after Mario & Luigi learn how to use Blue Shells.|
|Super Bouncer||7 SP||Finding all 10 attack pieces in Energy Hold.|
|Mighty Meteor*||8 SP||Given by Dr. Toadley's intern after the Dark Star's blockade is destroyed.|
|Spin Pipe||10 SP||Solving Kuzzle's first puzzle at his house at Plack Beach.|
|Snack Basket*||14 SP||Finding all 10 attack pieces in Dimble Wood.|
|Magic Window||18 SP||Defeating the optional Shroob boss at Bowser Castle.|
|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).|
(*) = 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.
The game has been well received. Both Nintendo Power and IGN rewarded the game with a 9.5/10, both stating that Bowser's Inside Story was the best of the Mario & Luigi series. Nintendo Power went as far as to say that it was the best of all the Mario role-playing games, which includes the first three Paper Mario games and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. GameDaily gave the game an impressive 10/10, noting that there were very few faults with the title.
Within four months Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story became the best selling Mario RPG of all time.
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|
|Korean||마리오＆루이지 RPG ３ 쿠파 몸속 대모험||Mario & Luigi RPG 3 A Great Adventure to Bowser's Body|
|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|
|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|