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Japan Review Check: Mario & Luigi, Pikmin 3

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A quick look at the most interesting console games to hit Japan next week, courtesy Famitsu magazine's review pages. Not a whole lot coming out, but if you're a Nintendo fan, you've got two must-buys, apparently:

- Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (10/9/10/9, 38 points out of 40): The latest in the series scores one point higher than Pikmin 3, something which I'd like to imagine causes Shigeru Miyamoto to throw his copy of Famitsu out the bathroom window (he probably won't).

"I was expecting another story where you got to pick on Luigi a lot," said editor Reona Ebihara, "but I wasn't expecting to literally get to poke him on the bottom screen while proceeding along. Way too fun! The battles are action-oriented and focus heavily on timing, but the game gives a lot of help to beginners, such as letting you retry battles in easy mode if you lose. The wealth of extra content to explore is also great."

"That unique Mario & Luigi atmosphere, where it's exciting just moving the characters around the game world, is still there," added writer Giichi Totsuka. "The goofiness of moving between the real and dream worlds make the whole thing seem like a fun carnival. From the assists you get through difficult spots to the technical topics you get to tackle, there's support in this game for every kind of play style, which I like."

- Pikmin 3 (9/9/9/10, 37 points): While this game scored one point less than Nintendo's other release of the week, all of Famitsu's reviewers were in agreement that the new Wii U-y features involved in this sequel made the game a lot more expansive than before.

"The feel of the backgrounds and so on is wonderful and really throw you into the game," Ebihara said. "You can switch the screen to the GamePad with a single button, which works great as well. You're now switching between three guys as you explore, giving a neat new sense of novelty to the play. The Bingo Battle multiplayer lets you get in the way of your opponent, and while it's just a bonus more than anything else, battles can get pretty heated."

"You have more characters to control and can send them on separate tasks," added Jigoro Ashida, "so the puzzles here are a lot deeper than before. In order to carry out your work efficiently, you have to think carefully about how to use the auto-move function and other stuff, and it's a lot of fun. I like how you can see what each Pikmin is doing at all times at a glance using the GamePad."