In order to help really celebrate the 'Year of Luigi' in style, Nintendo's latest light-hearted role-playing game puts the cowardly green brother in the, er, snoozing seat. During a sight-seeing trip to the peaceful island town of Pi'illo (who's inhabitants should be instantly familiar to anyone who's played Bowser's Inside Story), Princess 'perpetually kidnapped' Peach gets – you guessed it – kidnapped and dragged into a mysterious dream world. The only way to rescue her is to make a portal open, and the only way to do that is to have the lean, green dreaming machine Luigi take a nap on one of the magical pillows scattered across the island. This means a lot of hopping between the fuzzy dreamscapes, a lot of turn-based battles, and an awful lot of terrible (in a good way) jokes from the island's inhabitants before you can get Peach home safe and sound.
While he never shows it on the outside, it's obvious that Luigi feels a bit pushed out by his illustrious brother - in the real-world sections, green 'stache dutifully follows his bro around, working with him to get past the obstacles in their way (mostly by giving him a leg up), co-operating in battles and solving puzzles - but in the dream world, things get turned on their heads ever so slightly. The Touch Screen shows a mugshot of a dozing Luigi, who you can prod and poke to alter various Luigi shaped things in the dreamscape, such as catapulting Mario onto higher platforms on the upper screen with Wee-gee's bungee-like moustache, while other sections require you to control oodles of Luigi clones at once.
Battles in particular promise all sorts of new attacks and fighting sequences. Much like the other games in the series, you have the option to use special bros attacks which deal much more damage to your enemies, so long as you press a button at just the right time. Staples such as fire flowers and kicking koopa shells between you are all present and correct, while a few new ones are brought to the table too. Whether it's leaping up to grab a helicopter-like propeller and riding it towards your enemies, before dropping down on them to give them a serious headache, or rolling over a huge army with a giant ball of hundreds of Luigi's, it looks like the series' trademark silliness is still present and correct.
It does seem a bit strange that Nintendo's idea of celebrating their 'Year of Luigi' is to have a game where you're actually controlling Mario inside Luigi's dream world, but still. More Mario & Luigi is never a bad thing, and it looks like we won't have long to wait either, as the game hits stores on the 12th of July – we better start saving our gold coins!