Mario & Luigi: Brothership is a new frontier for AlphaDream’s baby

Brothership is the first Mario & Luigi game that won't be developed by AlphaDream.
mario luigi brothership nintendo direct

Mario & Luigi: Brothership, a brand new entry in the beloved Mario & Luigi franchise, was announced during the Nintendo Direct of June 2024. While the return of this series is very welcome, the reveal of Brothership feels bittersweet – it’s the first game in the series that won’t be developed by original creators, AlphaDream.

AlphaDream’s Mario & Luigi franchise kicked off way back in 2003, with Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance. Following its success, AlphaDream developed an array of popular followups – Partners in Time, Bowser’s Inside Story, Dream Team, Paper Jam, and even remasters for Superstar Saga and Bowser’s Inside Story. But while the series enjoyed great success in the 2000s and 2010s, AlphaDream wound up in debt in 2019 – and was forced to declare bankruptcy, and dissolve.

Nintendo maintained the rights to the Mario & Luigi franchise in the wake of this closure, and now it appears the publisher is forging a new path forward. AlphaDream’s legacy will continue with Brothership, which will re-interpret Mario & Luigi for a new audience.

Read: Nintendo, it’s time to bring back the Mario & Luigi franchise

What is Mario & Luigi: Brothership?

Mario & Luigi: Brothership is a fresh new frontier for the Mario & Luigi series. The most obviously leap from its predecessors is in its art style – which is far more cartoonish and bouncier, compared to the traditional pixel art style used in other Mario & Luigi games.

Character models are particularly “stretchy” in this adventure, with characters sharing huge, warping grins, and terror that transforms models into wobbly, shaking beans. It’s lovely and expressive, and adds a real sense of personality to the game. It also makes environments far more interesting – flowers bounce as you jump on them, petals flow in the breeze, and ocean water laps at floating islands in cool, relaxing waves.

Beyond the look of the game, the fundamentals of Mario & Luigi appear unchanged here. You’ll still spend ample time roaming through various biomes, with Mario and Luigi working together to overcome environmental puzzles. The game’s combat also plays out in a familiar turn-based style, with enemy attacks seeming a bit more involved than in past games.

Again, it’s bittersweet to see Mario & Luigi return without AlphaDream on board – but the first trailer for Brotherhood makes clear that Nintendo will honour the legacy of this beloved studio, in the attempt to recapture the charm and magic of its flagship franchise.

We’ll see much more about this game in the coming months, as it’s set to launch for Nintendo Switch on 7 November 2024.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.