What? Another RPG already! I don't know why, but I've been playing a fair number of RPGs lately. Maybe the slower pace is more appealing to me in my advancing years, haha. Anyway, although I've gotten through the Paper Mario games at a decent rate, it's taken me a long time to get back to the second game in the Mario & Luigi series, called Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time and released for the DS at the end of 2005.

It's been many years since I'd played this game's predecessor, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, but even with the elapsed time the game felt overly familiar. Partners in Time makes use of the DS's extra buttons, and so instead of one button being used for Mario's attacks and one for Luigi's as in the first game, in this game the DS's added two face buttons (X and Y) are used for Baby Mario and Baby Luigi. The babies are a fun new addition, but most of the quartet's field moves are pretty much the same as in the previous game. The battle mechanics are pretty much the same as the previous game as well, although the special items you can use in battle (replacing the Bros. Attacks from the previous game) do make pretty good use of the fact there are four characters in your group. The game also makes pretty good use of the DS's two screens: at times each screen shows the two pairs of brothers in separate locations, and at other times one screen displays a map which is helpful for showing your progress through an area.

The story and characters have the same slapstick humor of the first game, although the game gets to feel quite repetitive by the time you've gotten the last of the bros' abilities. Additionally, as in the first game boss battles tend to drag on. I was pretty bored by the time I got near the end of the game and so I didn't quite finish it, but I'm looking forward to the next game, Bowser's Inside Story, which is regarded as a high point in the series. As usual, mariowiki.com is a great resource for info about the game and most other Mario-related topics.

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