The 'Shroom:Issue IV/Review: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time

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Review: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time

by Phoenix Rider

Scores out of 5, * = 1, + = 1/2. I.e. ***+ = 3.5/5

Hello again and welcome to the Review Corner of the ‘Shroom! I’m Monty Mole, and this month’s review is for Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, the DS sequel to the acclaimed Superstar Saga. Let’s get right down to the nitty-gritty, shall we?

Gameplay- ****+

Superb. Not much else to say there. The storyline is very involved, even for an RPG. This game puts you right in the middle, exploring the overworld, solving puzzles to proceed, battling enemies for experience, which in turn levels up your stats so you don’t get beat to an embarrassing puddle by the stronger enemies later in the game. The RPG elements are all here.

A great addition is the inclusion of the baby Mario Bros. Sometimes they’ll have to solve puzzles and battle enemies on their own, without the older Bros. help, adding a new dimension in gameplay, because the babies have some moves they can’t use when traveling with the adults, and vice versa.

Battling sometimes feels like a chore, but there are enough varieties and choices you can take so it doesn’t get too monotonous. Supplies are generally easy to come by, more so than in Superstar Saga, because you’re not always strapped for Syrups. Money never seems to become an issue, as the many battles and item blocks literally throw coins at you.

The only thing is, the gameplay ideas aren’t as innovative as they were in Superstar Saga. Perhaps this is because sequels are generally compared to their predecessors, but in this case, there are some dragged-out spots. *coughThwompVolcanocough* Still, supremely good.

Sound- ****

The background music in this game is pretty memorable, from the instantly-recognizable Peach’s Castle theme, to the spooky/sad theme of Toad Town, to the spacey Star Shrine music. It’s enjoyable, even if some loop a little more than necessary.

The theme that plays during battles leaves something to be desired, though. It’s similar to the Superstar Saga theme, only played in a minor key. Kinda grating after a while. Still, it’s not that bad, and you get used to it.

Graphics- ***

OK, OK, so it’s no Galaxy. But it does keep more or less the same graphical style as its predecessor (does Luigi’s nose seem the size of a watermelon to you?). Anyway, the characters are drawn well, and the different varieties of Shroobs are distinguished quite nicely. Some might say they’re just palette swaps, but there is at least variety.

The landscaping, for a 2D-ish environment is very detailed. Little nuances such as flowers twitching, bolts in a metal flooring, etc. all come together in the environment. Of course, the big things just add to the atmosphere of the particular environment, such as the broken windows and dilapidated roofs in Toad Town or the Toad souls flowing through the pipes in the Vim Factory. On the other hand, while some spots are detailed, others aren’t very much so at all. But for a 2D adventure, graphics don’t disappoint…much.

Replay Value- ***

Well, it’s an RPG, but a good one. You might want to go through it again. Or you might not. Still, it’s a pretty fun game to play.

Overall- ****

Nice solid choice. Fun, almost as good as Superstar Saga. Nice pacing, lots of funny moments. You can customize Badges and clothes to your liking, something the Mario RPGs have been very good with so far. There’s a certain je nais sais quois that Superstar Saga had that Partners in Time doesn’t, but that doesn’t stop it from being an excellent game. I highly recommend it.