A quality handheld RPG with a Mario theme.
Partners In Time contains many interesting characters and the story in general is more complex than what you´ve probably use to see in Mario games, for example New Super Mario Bros. Story goes that once again the Mushroom Kingdom is in peril when Professor E. Gadd invents a time machine and accidentally sends Princess Peach to past, which is threatened by an evil Shroob planet, land of utter creepiness. The main villain is Princess Shroob, but that old Bowser also plays a part in the story. Mario and Luigi will receive help from an interesting suitcase called Stuffwell. It takes awhile for the story to really get going, but in the end it´s an interesting experience to save the Mushroom Kingdom once again.
Graphics are that familiar and colorful Nintendo style, which is to say that the game a pleasure to look at. Unfortunately the character models are a bit stiff and they don’t move quite as well you would expect. It´s also noteworthy that there are a lot of sound effects, but the story itself is told with text running across your two screens. Music is like the graphics: typical Nintendo quality and it works quite well.
Nintendo DS´s two screens are used well and most of the time you control different characters on the touch screen and on the upper screen is a map displayed. In this respect the two screens is used in a similar way like in DS´s Castlevania games, but in Parters In Time the two screens are used much more extensively and more innovative way. On the other hand the stylus is used only once during the whole 25 hour experience. That´s right: only once (1) and on top of that there is no wireless or Wi-Fi mode what so ever. Gameplay is very similar of what you might remember from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. This time you get to control four characters at once: adult Mario & Luigi from the present and baby Mario & baby Luigi from the past. It takes awhile to get use to all the controls, but luckily the tutorial is quite extensive and long. In the end you´ll notice that the controls are good and accurate.
Turn-based battles are also similar to Paper Mario in that you get to choose between a set of options and items to perform your attack. When it´s time for your enemy to attack it can be dodged with a proper movement just like in Paper Mario. Usually dodging means jumping in the right moment. Boss battles are epic, but they last way too long: an average boss fight takes anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes to complete depending on how fast you realize the right tactics to victory. Worthy of a special mention is the last boss battle sequence in the game, since for me it took 3 full HOURS to get through! I´ve played games for 20 years and I have to say that the Grande Finale in Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time was a horrible test of patience.
Game stays interesting and varied the whole way through and all in all Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time is a solid RPG worthy to take its place in any DS owners library. Just be prepared to spend A LOT of time in those epic boss battles.