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Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam will challenge your hand-eye coordination

Playing Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam feels, at first, a bit like patting your head, rubbing your stomach and scratching your nose with a third appendage.

The cross-over game, announced this week at E3, combines the Mario & Luigi role-playing series with another well-loved franchise, Paper Mario. In practice, this means that you're given Mario, Luigi and Paper Mario to control simultaneously. And, as I recently learned during a demo of the game, it can get a little tricky.

My mission was fairly simple: I had to find enemies carrying helpless paper Toads and stomp 'em out in turn-based battles. Getting this done proved to be a little tricky. In the style of previous Mario & Luigi games, you control Mario, Luigi and Paper Mario on the field. Each character has a designated button to jump, and jumping is important if you want to get the drop on enemies. Getting all three characters to jump in tandem is tricky to get the hang of at first, but eventually I got my rhythm down.

Battles work in much the same way. You can perform basic or special attacks with each character, though Paper Jam adds a cool trio attack option. Once you activate it, you play through quirky mini-games, like hitting enemies in a tennis-style match, to attack.

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam is being developed by Intelligent Systems for Nintendo 3DS. The game launches in 2016.

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