Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time Review: Two steps forward, one baby step back

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time Review: Two steps forward, one baby step back

Embark on a journey through time and space with Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, a beloved installment in the iconic RPG series that introduced a unique twist to the dynamic duo's adventures. In this review, I will delve deep into the realms of the Mushroom Kingdom's past and present, examining every aspect of this game's gameplay, narrative, and presentation with a critical eye. Now, without further ado, RPG Ranked presents... a Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time Review: Two steps forward, one baby step back.

Battle System - 8.5

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Mario & Luigi battle systems are always fantastic! Though this system is my second least favorite in the series, it is still rather remarkable. This game's gimmick is that Baby Mario and Luigi are playable, which is super awesome! Some battles will be played with all four, while others include only the babies or the regulars. This adds a layer of depth to battle that wasn't present in the original game. Ultimately, this game has a great battle system, but it could be better.

Story - 5

5 Things Great about Mario and Luigi: Partners In Time (& 5 Things That  Fans Hated)

Unsurprisingly, this game's story is fun, but rather thin. I will give the game some credit—it has the most fun story in the series! But that still doesn't mean it is anything above-average. The whole alien plot is fun, and the time travel is interesting, but this is no sci-fi masterpiece. It's an excuse to be able to call this game an RPG: that's it. This story is mediocre and that's that.

Characters - 5

Mario and Luigi Partners in Time | Wiki | Mario Amino

I always try to convince myself the characters in this game are charming and fun enough to deserve a higher score, but it never works. There's simply an utter lack of character development here—this truly ruins any chance of a high score in this department. I hate to say it, but I'd also hate to lie.

Music - 6

This is my second favorite Mario & Luigi soundtrack after Dream Team! It perfectly captures the fun and lively energy of the game! However, like the last few categories, this game struggles to stand up to the soundtracks of other RPG behemoths, so, unfortunately, a low score is more than warranted here.

Art & Graphics - 9

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, Nintendo DS | The King of Grabs

This game's art is fantastic! The pixel art of Partners in Time has so much style and, in my opinion, trumps the newer style found in Dream Team and Paper Jam. Not that those two games don't look good, but I have always found this title to ooze charm, something missing from the newer titles. Ultimately, this is one of my favorite looking games on the DS, right after Bowser's Inside Story.

Sidequests - 3

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time Playthrough Part 1 (The Invasion of the  Shroobs!) - YouTube

I'm going to be brutally honest—this game doesn't really have any sidequests outside of finding buried beans to purchase badges and collecting consumable Bros. Attacks. That's pretty much it. This is a very linear game! I'm not going to give this category a lower score, as it doesn't have hundreds of awful, detrimental sidequests like some RPGs (looking at you, Tales of Symphonia), but it doesn't deserve higher than a 3 in this category.

Locations - 7

To me, this game has the weakest overworld gameplay of the series, as well as the least memorable locations of the series. Regardless, it is still a Mario & Luigi game with some rather fun locations! I really enjoyed when the split screens were used to have the babies controlled on the top screen and the big bros were on the bottom! Separating the Bros did lead to some fun gameplay but compared to the open worlds of Superstar Saga, the Bowser gameplay of Bowser's Inside Story, the Dream World sections of Dream Team, and the bizarre movement options of Paper Jam? This game simply cannot compare.

Customization System - 3

5 Things Great about Mario and Luigi: Partners In Time (& 5 Things That  Fans Hated)

I agree with the majority of Mario & Luigi fans—the consumable Bros. Attacks wasn't the greatest idea. In a way, this is kind of the Sticker Star of the Mario & Luigi series. While the variety of attacks is more interesting than Superstar Saga, the attacks themselves feel rather uninteresting. Superstar Saga has swift, fun-to-execute attacks and later entries have epic, super-involved moves, and, unfortunately? Partners in Time is awkwardly caught in the middle.

Quality of Life - 8

This game could have used more save states and less crying baby scenes, but in most ways, Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time is a very polished game. I've got no other complaints, so let's move into the verdict.

The Verdict

Fun Factor: 7.5
Overall Score: 62%
Letter Rating: B

While this is my second least favorite entry in the Mario & Luigi series, it is still very fun! It may not be as comedic as its predecessor or as gameplay-oriented as later entries, but it still finds a way to set itself apart as a half-decent Mario RPG. It isn't as good as many other entries, but it is still full of charm and worth a playthrough if you enjoy charming, laid-back RPGs.

Primary Version: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (DS)