Rusty's Partners in Time Review
After 2003's Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga, I didn't really know what to expect from 2005's sequel, Mario & Luigi Partners in Time. I wasn't sure that they could top off my favorite game of 2003, they didn't exactly do that in this sequel, but they did make a really fun and interesting RPG for the DS.
The game starts off introducing you to the main bad guys of this game, the Shroobs. The Shroobs are a weird spin off of the Toads. They are small purple beings, with mushroom hats colored purple with white dots. The game introduction takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom past. The Shroobs sought a new home, and they set their gaze on the Mushroom Kingdom. For the first 5 – 10 minutes of the game, you take control of Baby Mario and Luigi, as you get taught how to battle. The first battle in the game pits you against Baby Bowser, who is set to kidnap the Baby Princess Peach. After you defeat him, the Shroobs start attacking the castle. You are then taken to current day Mushroom Kingdom, where you learn that Professor E. Gadd has invented a time machine to run on the Cobalt Star, and Princess Peach being the dummy she that she is, jumps into the time machine and travels to the past. A few moments later, the time machine returns, only to be broken up and instead of containing Princess Peach, it contains a Shroob. So Princess Peach is missing, and you being Mario have to go rescue her.
After traveling through the first time hole to the past, you will find Baby Mario and Baby Luigi, and you will become a team of 4 to rescue the princess. The script was well written, but I do not think that it was as good and funny as the previous game in the series. But its still a good and engaging story that makes you want to keep on going until the final 3 boss battles (ZOMG SPOILAR?)
The Mario and Luigi sprites seem recycled from the last game, but all the other sprites look very good. There are a lot of characters in the game, and if they are NPCs, they will not have a repeating look to them. The enemies you fight are repetitive to one area. The backgrounds are done very nice, and suit the environment that they are in. They do repeat themselves throughout the environment that you are in, so it might start to feel stale after a while. The overall look of the game is very nice. The colors are vibrant and no one level feels very dark and Gothic, even the ones that try to look so.
The game sounds like a Mario game, which is really great. It doesn't veer off the series sound course, which is the regular happy jingles you've come to know and expect. It can get a bit repetitive in some spots, as it keeps on looping. Its no big deal, you will get used to it.
This game is a turn-based RPG, but it is not one one of those, “press and watch” games. There is 1 set of attacks for Mario and Luigi, and there are 2 sets of attacks for Baby Mario and Baby Luigi. Mario and Luigi can jump attack, and Baby Mario and Baby Luigi can jump attack, and hammer attack. There also is another attack they can do, and to do it, they need to have a Bros. Item. These items replaced the Bros. Points from the last game. Bros. Items are items that you can find while playing the game, that make your team of 4 do an attack together. These attacks do more damage than the single attacks, so they are really good when you have hard enemies around you. They start easy, but as you combo up a higher damage rate, they get harder and harder. An easy example of this is the first Bros. Item you get, the Green Shell. Mario and Luigi both kick the shell back and forth, racking up the damage, and the shell gets progressively faster.
As with every RPG, your characters progress levels, and they get points to distribute to attributes. The categories available to receive points are Health Points, Power, Speed, Defense, and Stache, which raises your ability to get Lucky hits. After you get your points distributed, you will receive a bonus point raise. You choose the category you want to raise higher, the spinner starts spinning, you stop it on a number, and you get that much bonus.
All in all, I really enjoyed this sequel to Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga. The story could use a little bit of work, but it's still a memorable experience. If you have a DS, I recommend you to pick it up, and if you haven't played Superstar Saga, pick that up too.