One of the first games that I got to play at E3 was Mario and Luigi: Dream Team, during Nintendo's software showcase. There were four different sections to try during this E3 demo, and thankfully, the showcase gave me the opportunity to be a bit of a hog and try out all four modes.
The first mode was the Real World. Here I got to run around an isometric 3D environment, simultaneously with both Mario Bros. The Real World section is exactly what you have seen and played before in previous Mario & Luigi games, right down to the enemy encounters on the over world. Overall, it looks pretty good, as the menus and post battle screens are bright and cheery. The level designs also make good use of stereoscopic 3D. Visually, it is a nice upgrade over the previous GBA and DS Mario & Luigi titles.
The second section was the Dream World. Unlike the Real World, when you enter Luigi's dreams, the game switches to a 2D sidescroller. What's interesting about these 2D environments is that by using his imagination, Luigi can possess certain environmental objects. In the demo, I had Luigi inhabit a pillar. From there I was manipulating real world Luigi's mustache, who can be seen sleeping on the bottom screen. By making the vines on pillar stretch out like a rubber band, I used them to slingshot Mario around the screen to get past environmental obstacles. It worked pretty well and gave these dream levels a unique and surreal twist over the standard Mario & Luigi gameplay.
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The combat in the Dream World is also different. I got a good sample of the Dream World combat in the Boss Battle segment of the demo. Rather than fighting with both Mario and Luigi, Mario fights alone and can move up and down on the vertical plane using the circle pad. All of Mario's attacks are all powered up by multiple dream Luigi's. If you pull off a perfectly timed jump attack, a bunch of Luigi's will drop from the sky and stomp multiple enemies on the screen. There are also super powered Luigination attacks that use some 3DS hardware gimmicks. There were two on hand in the demo, the first had you rolling using the tilt sensor to scoop up Luigi's like a giant snow ball as you moved down a hallway. The other had you stacking up a tower of Luigi's that you could later drop on an enemy. These are some rather silly attacks, and I wonder if having to perform these mini games every time you want to unleash a special attack will get old. But all the same, I like that the Dream World has a lot more variety.
The final section of the demo was the was perhaps the most bizarre. Apparently, at certain points during the story, Luigi can engage in Kaiju boss battles. During the Kaiju battle, you have to hold the 3DS sideways like a book and use the touch screen to unleash or dodge attacks. Swipe up to dodge incoming attacks. Swipe to the left as quickly as you can to use your hammer to knock away projectiles, and engage in a mushroom eating tapping rhythm game to regain health. It's all about knowing when to pick the right attack or use the correct dodge in a rock-paper-scissors-style battle. It's silly and over the top, but I have to admit was pretty fun. If I had more time I would have liked to have toppled that giant Drill robot, but unfortunately Mr. Sakurai had to tell us about the Wii Fit lady coming to Super Smash Bros. I played, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team on a lark but was pleasantly surprised on what a unique, fun, and happy little JRPG it is.