Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (Mario & Luigi RPG 2×2 in Japan) is a turn-based action RPG video game for the Nintendo DS, developed by AlphaDream and published by Nintendo, and it is the second title in the Mario & Luigi series. The story of the game involves Mario and Luigi, time-traveling between their present and past times, and teaming up with their younger selves, Baby Mario and Baby Luigi, to stop the invasion in the past by the enemy alien species called the Shroobs. The English and Spanish names of this game are puns on the title of the short story compilation Partners in Crime.
Though the game is primarily a turn-based RPG, the game mixes in action RPG and platformer elements, which is the primary gameplay point of the Mario & Luigi series. The game takes many elements from the first game, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and revamps it to take advantage of the Nintendo DS's new features. While it makes almost no attempt to use the touch screen (Mario must rub the dirt off of a drawing at one point), the game used the addition of the and buttons, the extra screen, and greater system resources.
During Mario and Luigi's infancies, Shroobs from a withering distant planet find the Mushroom Kingdom and invade it. The invasion forces Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, Baby Peach, Toadsworth the Younger, and Baby Bowser (who had been attempting to kidnap Baby Peach at the time) to flee in the Koopa Cruiser.
In the future, Princess Peach, Toadiko, and Toadbert travel to the past via Professor E. Gadd's time machine, which is powered by the Cobalt Star. But when the device returns, it is occupied by a hostile alien, forcing Mario and Luigi to use a newly-formed time hole in the castle gardens to go to the past and find Peach. Before they proceed to Hollijolli Village, they receive Stuffwell, a talking suitcase made by E. Gadd, to assist them and help them carry supplies on their quest. Upon their arrival in Holli Jolli Village, they are attacked and defeated by a trio of Shroobs, but Baby Mario and Baby Luigi arrive and save their adult selves soon afterward. The adult Mario Bros. join the rest on the Koopa Cruiser, but the cruiser is attacked by Princess Shroob, the leader of the Shroobs, and crashes into Baby Bowser's Castle where Mario, Luigi, Baby Mario, and Baby Luigi find a Cobalt Star Shard. They travel through another time hole to the present day Princess Peach's Castle with Toadsworth and Baby Peach, who they leave behind as they return to the past through a new time hole opened by the Cobalt Shard.
The time hole leads to Toadwood Forest, where the group finds a weakened Toadiko wrapped in a tree's branches. She manages to tell them that the Shroobs have kidnapped Peach before the tree sucks away the last of her vim. Shroob UFOs then attack and fire at Toadiko and she turns into a Shroob Mushroom, which the aliens use to fuel their ships. The Mario Bros. travel to the Shroobs' Vim Factory to shut down the operation. The babies receive hammers after they defeat the Hammer Bros. and when the protagonists defeat the Swiggler, they briefly obtain a second Cobalt Shard before Baby Bowser steals both shards and Kamek picks him up and they flee.
After a brief stop in Peach's Castle of the present and learning the Toadsworth Twist, the protagonists use another time hole to travel to Yoshi's Island of the past, where all the Yoshis have disappeared. They find Kamek and follow him back to Baby Bowser; Kamek attacks them but is defeated and they chase after Baby Bowser, who swallows the Cobalt Shards when they corner him. All of them are then eaten by a massive Shroobified Yoshi monster, Yoob. Inside Yoob, they find the missing Yoshis and an amnesiac Toadbert, who is carrying a partly obscured drawing that he made of what happened during the battle against Peach and Princess Shroob. After the Mario Bros. and their baby counterparts defeat Sunnycide, everyone escapes Yoob, including Baby Bowser, who coughs up the Cobalt Shards later on after choking on the last remaining Yoshi Cookies.
After learning the Bros. Ball, the protagonists next visit Gritzy Desert, where they meet Kylie Koopa, and find a secret entrance to the Koopaseum, arriving in time to witness Princess Peach being swallowed whole by Petey Piranha. The brothers defeat the Shrooboid Brat in the arena, angering Princess Shroob who breaks the floor and sends them falling into Gritzy Caves. The brothers fight and defeat Petey Piranha, recovering a Cobalt Shard and saving Kylie Koopa (who had almost been fed to him too). They find Princess Peach, whose face is covered by a Shroob Mushroom, and take her back to the present day castle. Bowser attempts to kidnap her but falls through a time hole to Thwomp Volcano.
After learning the Baby Spin and Baby Cakes, the brothers follow Bowser and travel to the top of the erupting volcano. They meet Professor E. Gadd’s younger self, who thinks up of an idea of making a machine that could douse the volcano's fire, which the older E. Gadd creates in the present time. He then uses his quickly built invention to spray water into the time hole and stop the volcano. After a skirmish with the angry resident, Mrs. Thwomp, the Mario Bros. are carried into the volcano by her husband, where they solve various puzzles and fight and defeat Bowser and Baby Bowser (who had been shot into the volcano after being blown away from Yoshi's Island). Bowser is sent careening back to the present while Baby Bowser flies off on his own, but before the protagonists can collect the princess, she is sucked up by the Shroob Mother Ship. The brothers board the ship and team up with Kylie to try and save Peach, but they all simply end up being ejected from the vessel. The four Mario Bros. land in Toad Town and from there, travel to Star Hill.
There they find the Commander Shroob, his team of Support Shroobs, and a Shroob-omb who engage them in battle. Once Commander Shroob and his team are defeated, the four heroes head to the top of Star Hill where the protagonists talk to the Cobalt Star's Spirit which tells them that when the find five out of the six parts of the Cobalt Star, they can enter Shroob Castle.
The heroes head to the Star Shrine, where another Cobalt Shard is located. The brothers then meet up with Toadbert and Kylie Koopa, who now knows how to clean Toadbert's picture, revealing the depiction of a second Shroob princess. They group is attacked by the Elder Shrooboid, which turns Toadbert and Kylie into Shroob Mushrooms before it could be stopped by the Mario Bros. After collecting another Shard from the vanquished Shroob, the Mario Bros. travel to the Shroob Castle in the past by way of the future castle and its many time holes. Mario and the gang take down the Shroob Mother Ship and finally find Princess Peach being held captive by Princess Shroob, who they battle and defeat. Peach shows them the final piece of the Cobalt Star but won't let them merge it with the other pieces, however before she can explain why, Baby Bowser swoops in and completes the Cobalt Star himself, releasing the Elder Princess Shroob, who had been trapped in the star by Princess Peach. Baby Bowser is turned into a Shroob Mushroom for his troubles and Elder Princess Shroob attacks the Mario Bros. next, but they defeat her and she transforms into a purple mushroom.
Baby Luigi cries on the Shroob Mushroom that used to be Baby Bowser after Baby Mario accidentally Ground Pounds him, restoring his former self. Professor E. Gadd then uses his Hydrogush 4000 invention to sprays a liquid with the same chemical makeup as baby tears all across the Mushroom Kingdom of the past, restoring everyone else who had been affected by the Shroobs. The Mario Bros. discover Bowser unconscious in Peach's Castle in the present and Elder Princess Shroob's mushroom flies into his mouth, turning him into Shrowser for one last attack on the Mario Bros. After Shrowser is beaten and the Shroob threat is finally put to rest forever, Toadsworth the Younger, Baby Peach, Baby Mario, and Baby Luigi all use the repaired time machine and travel back to their own time, bidding farewell to their future selves.
To start a battle, Mario, Luigi, or their baby selves must touch an enemy or perform a First Strike by jumping on or hitting the enemy with a hammer in the overworld. A first strike damages the enemy (if jumped on) or possibly stun them (if hit with a hammer) as the battle starts. If an enemy with spikes or fire is jumped on, the brother who jumped on the enemy is damaged. Additionally, if the enemy starts the battle by hitting a Bro. in the back, that brother cannot move until his turn. Since the game is a turn-based RPG, the player and enemies take turns attacking each other; the brothers use Command Blocks as the interface to select actions. The player can use well timed attacks to deal more damage. The player can also counterattack the enemy to damage them (see below). The enemies never counterattack but can harm the brother if they have spikes or are on fire and are jumped on, though these elements cannot KO a brother, even if he has one HP left.
When a brother's HP hits zero, he passes out and remains in this state until the end of the battle (where he has one HP in the overworld) or if he is revived with a 1-Up Mushroom. If the babies and adults are separated from each other, the surviving brother carries the passed out one, though it greatly hinders on the surviving brother's ability to avoid enemy attacks. If the brothers are in Piggyback Mode, the adults take all damage from enemy attacks until they pass out, where the baby takes the passed out brother off-screen and fights on his stead. If the baby also passes out, the surviving brother pair carries him, also hindering their ability to avoid enemy attacks. If all in-battle brothers' HP reach zero, regardless if there are non-fighting brothers in the overworld, the player gets a Game Over and either restarts from the last save point or returns to Princess Peach's Castle.
If all enemies' HP are reduced to zero, the battle is won and EXP points and coins are gained. Depending on the enemy defeated and what badges are worn, regular items, Bros. Items, Clothing, and Badges may be won as well.
Each brother has his own HP, POW, DEF, SPEED, and STACHE points. With enough EXP Points, a brother can level-up and increase each respective statistic. Mario, Luigi, Baby Mario and Baby Luigi lean towards certain stats: Mario and Baby Mario have increase in stats that favor of power and speed while Luigi and Baby Luigi's stats generally favor HP, defense, and stache. The babies have generally weaker stats than their adult counterparts barring their speed, where they outperform their adult counterparts at. Clothing and some badges can also alter a brother's stats.
During a battle, the four brothers have five choices when attacking, unless Mario and Luigi are not paired with the babies; instead, they would have four choices. They can use a jump move, a Hammer move, a Bros. Item, use an item, or run from battle.
During a jump move, a brother jumps on an enemy. When Mario jumps on an enemy, he uses , for Luigi, on Baby Mario, and for Baby Luigi's jump. Hitting their button when they are about to land on the enemy does extra damage. The babies can participate in battle, assisting their older counterparts. If so, when the two older bros. attack and land on an enemy, the player should press the babies button, and then the adult brother's button. This deals more damage to the enemy.
After Baby Mario and Baby Luigi enter the Vim Factory, they get hammers to use in battle. However, the adult Mario and Luigi cannot use this move without the babies with them, as they do not have hammers. When one of the babies attack with a hammer, the player must hit their button (either or ) when the tool shakes to deal more damage. If the player waits too long or hits the button too early, the hammer head falls off the hammer and the baby brother does much less damage. When the corresponding button is hit before they directly face the enemy, they trip and fall flat on the enemy, also yielding less damage. When the adult bros. are with the babies, they can perform a stronger attack with them. When doing this, the player must hit the adult button ( or ) to have Mario or Luigi lift up the baby. Then, they must hit the baby button ( or ) when their hammer shakes. This deals more damage than a normal hammer attack. The hammer move does less damage than a jump move, and it is best used when fighting a spiked enemy. Flying enemies avoid the hammer altogether.
Bros. Items are special attacks that the brothers can use to deal more damage. Some Bros. Items require at least two brothers standing while some require all bros. Some items that require two bros. have special commands that can be used to deal more damage than normal with all four bros. Note that some items are unlocked later in the game than others.
When choosing the item icon, the four heroes can use an item to recover HP. Other items, such as Refreshing Herbs, can heal status effects. When one of the bros. passes out, the other bros. can use a 1-Up Mushroom or 1-Up Super to revive him. However, once an item is used, the bro.'s turn is over. Peppers are another type of item that can be used with this icon and can temporarily increase the bros. stats.
Mario, Luigi, and the babies can both flee from battle when they choose the flee icon. When getting away, the player must hit either the or button to make Mario or Luigi flee. If the babies are in battle, the player must hit the or button. However, if they do not do this quickly, one of the bros. falls and drop a large amount of coins unless a wallet badge is equipped. When both bros. have left the screen, they end up back in the overworld and continue their adventure. The player can cancel this attempt by pressing the button, though it uses up a turn.
Mario, Luigi, or Baby Mario and Baby Luigi can either use their Hammer or Jump moves to avoid attacks. With their Jump move, the brothers can jump over the attacking enemy. When using the Hammer to avoid attacks, the player must hold Baby Mario or Baby Luigi's respective button (Baby Mario is , Baby Luigi is ) and release just as the enemy or its weapon hits.
The four bros. can also use these moves to counterattack. When they jump over an enemy, they may land on them, causing damage. Baby Mario or Baby Luigi can also hit enemies with their hammer during an enemy's turn. Either way, the enemy takes damage on its turn.
Altered states return from Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, with the same conditions that can cause it. Certain enemies have attacks that can cause altered states, which hinder a brother in a way. The brothers can also inflict altered states on enemies as well with the Bros. Flower, Ice Flower, and Mix Flower, as well as enhancing their stats with peppers. Over a period of time, altered states wear off, though the brothers can recover quicker from negative altered states if they use a Refreshing Herb.
On the overworld, the brothers can navigate their environment. They can interact with a variety of objects such as blocks and switches and use various techniques to help with their progress of the game. During normal overworld progression, the DS bottom screen displays character control and progress while the top screen displays the map, character HP, coins, and where the brothers are currently located, alongside miscellaneous map features. When the babies are sent to locations only they can access, such as going down a hole or using a Trampoline, the top screen changes from the map to display the babies' control and progress.
Blocks, switches, and other features
The brothers can use some techniques out of battle. All of the following techniques must be learned by progressing in the game, except for jumping. Each button is assigned to each brother, with being Mario's button, being Luigi's, being Baby Mario's, and being Baby Luigi's. Players can switch action commands with and , demonstrated by the changing of the action icons, as soon as they learn different techniques. Unlike in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, players cannot switch the order of the brothers; Mario or Baby Mario is always the leader.
In the middle of action commands, players can cancel them by pressing the corresponding button that has "BACK" displayed on it.
Mario and Luigi techniques
When Mario and Luigi are without the babies outside of battle, they can do the following techniques:
When Baby Mario and Baby Luigi are alone outside of battle, they can do the following techniques:
When all four bros. are together, they can perform the following techniques:
* - cannot be revisited
Along the quest, the brothers can play various minigames. These minigames are required to complete for the brothers to progress in the game. The Thwomp Caverns minigame can be replayed; the second spaceship minigame of the Shroob Castle can also be replayed, as it is part of the final levels of the game, where Stuffwell can use his Special Service Warpulator to warp back before that point.
Four shops are found in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. One, the Shroom Shop, is found in the main hub in Princess Peach's Castle. The rest are found in levels throughout the game. Fawful's Bean 'n' Badge sells Badges exclusively at a price of beans rather than coins.
Clothing boosts the brothers' stats. There are two categories of clothing: one made specifically for the adult brothers and one made specifically for the baby brothers. Unlike Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, clothing is not restricted to a specific brother. Clothing is either dropped by enemies, found in blocks, or purchased in shops.
Badges cause miscellaneous effects when worn and can be universally worn by all brothers. Such effects include unlimited use of Bros. Items or restoring HP every turn. They do not increase a brothers' base stats. Badges can be purchased in shops, exclusively purchased in Fawful's Bean 'n' Badge, dropped by enemies, or won by completing minigames.
Notable mistakes and errors
AlphaDream developed the game, as they did with other games in the Mario & Luigi series. Shigeru Miyamoto and Tetsuo Mizuno produced the game, with Satoru Iwata as the executive producer. Yoko Shimomura, who composed music for the other Mario & Luigi games and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, also composed music for this game.
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time has received generally positive reviews from critics, with it having an average score of 86 from Metacritic based on 45 reviews and a GameRankings score of 85.23% based on 55 reviews. Critics generally praise the humor, characters, and graphics of the game, as well as its use of the dual screen and its rumble feature. Several criticisms include the long, drawn out boss battles and the difficulty coordinating the game's four characters.
Craig Harris of IGN has lauded the game, giving it a nine out of ten. He praised the gameplay, the difficulty curve, the humor, and the two-screen display, but has commented that the beginning of the game starts off too easy. Thomas Bowskill of Nintendo Life has also given the game a 9/10, also praising the gameplay, the comedy, and the sound, but added that the game is not replayable and how actions in the past do not influence the future. Jonathon Metts of Nintendo World Report gave the game an 8/10, states that while the flawed battle system smears his opinion of the game, he states that it is "the best RPG currently on the Nintendo DS."
Super Mario-Kun adaptation
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time has been adapted into the Super Mario-Kun manga, written and illustrated by Yukio Sawada. The story arc related to Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time spans across three volumes: volumes 35, 36, and 37. Though it follows the source material, it introduces various key story element differences, as every Super Mario-Kun volume adaptation of their respective game.
Differences in the Super Mario-Kun manga
References to other games
References in later games
Pre-release and unused content
A pre-release screenshot depicts Mario, Luigi, and their baby selves fighting two red shoe-clad Blooper foes (called Scoot Bloops) in the Vim Factory. Unfinished code for the Scoot Bloops remain the final build of the game. There are also screenshots of the four brothers using what appears to be a purple Spiny Shell as a Bros. Item. This item would act like a Koopa Shell, but would be hammered instead of kicked.
Locked in the Dungeon
If the player does not unlock the pipe leading from Peach's Castle to Princess Peach's Castle Dungeon after learning the Bros. Ball technique, after the player has returned from the Star Shrine, the player will end up trapped in the Castle Dungeon and from there, the player will never be able to get back to Peach's Castle unless they last saved anywhere before the cutscene leading to the battle against the Adult and Baby Bowsers or if they get defeated in combat and return to Peach's Castle.
Wii U eShop descriptionTwice the Bros., twice the insanity!
In this quest of lunatic proportions, the Mario bros. team up with none other than... their younger selves! Control both sets of bros. at once in this intriguing action RPG, where comedy is king and the story leads you beyond the Mushroom Kingdom. Explore Mario’s world across space and time as you take down the evil alien invaders, the Shroobs!In this precursor to the Mario & Luigi™: Bowser's Inside Story game, the brothers travel back in time to retrieve Princess Peach™, only to come face-to-face with baby versions of themselves, the princess, and Bowser™. While controlling both the adult AND baby versions of the Mushroom Kingdom heroes, you’ll unleash powerful attacks and cross environments using special techniques to solve puzzles in creative ways. With four brothers to control, this adventure is bound to get out of control!
Names in other languages