Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (マリオ&ルイージRPG2×2 Mario ando Ruīji Aru Pī Jī Tsū bai Tsū, lit. Mario & Luigi RPG 2×2), is a role-playing video game developed by AlphaDream and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS video game console. It is the sequel to Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, the predecessor to Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story and the second title in the Mario & Luigi series. Its graphics and general style greatly resemble Superstar Saga's, although the content and storyline are considerably darker. This is the third Mario game for the Nintendo DS. The name is a pun on the term "Partners in Crime." Some of Baby Mario & Baby Luigi’s voice clips are reused from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!.
The gameplay in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time is quite comparable to that of its predecessor in terms of its overworld and battle system, but many apparent differences exist between the two games. It also should be noted that the game does not use the Nintendo DS's touch capability for its gameplay, save for one moment in a brief cut-scene.
The player is able to control the four main protagonists (Mario, Luigi, Baby Mario, Baby Luigi) either as a quartet or alternatively in separate pairs. As a group of four, Mario and Luigi carry their baby counterparts on their backs. The player can choose to separate the adults from the babies, so that the adults can go one place whilst the babies go another. The pairs can also perform special moves while they are separated. The special moves are gained as the player progresses throughout the game.
Most action occurs in the DS Touch Screen, while in the Top Screen a map of the immediate vicinity is laid-out. The map highlights in what room Mario, Luigi, and the babies are in, location of Save Albums, and any other important things. In some cases, the babies can enter a passage and the action inside the passage is moved to the Top Screen, while the adults remain on the Touch Screen.
The player enters battle if touched by an enemy (or confronted by a boss) in the overworld.
The general battle system rules from the first game remain intact (solo moves are jumping and hammering; enemy attacks can be avoided or countered), but some changes were applied. If the player has both the adults and babies grouped together, solo jump and hammer commands can be enhanced by pressing the adults' and babies' buttons in perfect timing to inflict more damage. Bros. Commands have been replaced by Bros. Items- items the player can purchase in shops or obtain from Blocks. Bros. Items are used to inflict more damage on the enemy and may be used by two or more of the playable characters.
If all the four characters are in battle, only adults receive damage (or loss of HP) until they pass out, and their baby counterparts become their understudies. If one of the babies pass out, the adult cannot be revived until his younger self is revived first. If all four characters pass out, the player receives a Game Over and must start over at the last save point.
However, the battle system changes if the player goes into battle without one pair or the other. First off, Bros. Items that require all four characters to operate (Cannonballers, Trampolines, etc.) are disabled. If only Mario and Luigi go into battle all enemy attacks that can only be defended using hammers are disabled because only the babies obtain hammers. Furthermore, in separation one pair's demise will result in Game Over, regardless of the other pair's status outside of battle.
Additionally, both DS screens are used to display all action occurring in battles.
One day, Professor E. Gadd's newest invention, the time machine, is showcased at Peach's Castle. The machine is powered by a magnificent gem called the Cobalt Star. Princess Peach, enthralled by the invention, decides to embark on a voyage into the Mushroom Kingdom's distant past, with Mario and Luigi at her sound-off. When the time machine returns to the present, it appears to be severely damaged. Furthermore, Princess Peach is not inside, but instead an alien creature.
After Mario defeats the monster, a mysterious portal opens up within the castle. Professor E. Gadd concludes that it is a time hole, a rip in the space-time continuum, that appeared because of the time machine's return. The Mario brothers jump into the time hole, thus propelling them into the past. Upon arriving, they discover an immense swarm of Shroobs, evil aliens from a far-off planet in search of a new home, destroying the Mushroom Kingdom and abducting all its residents. In addition, they meet their infant selves: Baby Mario and Baby Luigi.
Mario, Luigi, and the babies learn that Princess Peach's Castle of the past has been taken over by Princess Shroob, the ruler of the Shroob race. In addition she also has Peach of the future hostage. The brothers and the babies decide to join forces and defeat the Shroobs, rescue the princess, and restore the Mushroom Kingdom's shattered past.
On its first week of release in Japan, Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time sold 132,726 units. As of July 25, 2007, Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time has sold 1.39 million copies worldwide.
In addition, the game has won the Editors' Choice Award at IGN.
- This is the fifth Mario RPG overall.
- This is the only Mario & Luigi RPG in which Peach gets kidnapped at the very beginning.
- Baby Mario's solo artwork for this game incorrectly depicts him with red shoes instead of his regular light blue ones.
- Mario breaks the fourth wall at Shroob Castle by noting to Luigi that the adult brothers and the babies must stay in the bottom screen.
- The Japanese and European versions of the game have altered enemy stats and edited designs and locations of things as well as different audio along with other stuff. This is because the Japanese version released their version with some slight differences and for the European version all the data was copied straight from the Japanese version.