Holiday Travels Gaming: Mario & Luigi Partners in Time and Rayman Legends

Thanksgiving and Christmas always mean handheld gaming for me, as I have to make a long arduous journey southward to visit my parents house where I grew up.  I always stress out over which few games I’m going to carry along with me.  I have no idea why I do this.  I don’t put nearly as much time into thinking about clothing or the other things I need to pack. 

I’ve often mentioned my love of the Mario RPG series here on the blog.  I’m excited for the release of Paper Jam, but it’s still over a month away here.  It’s already out in Europe and Japan, but I suppose Nintendo of America feels that Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon just came out and releasing any more games for this holiday shopping season would be just a little too generous to its fans.

Mario & Luigi - Parnters In Time (box art).jpg

Anyway, during the break I decided to player Partners in Time which is the second Mario and Luigi RPG game.  This is the only Mario and Luigi game I’ve never played.  I didn’t get to play it when it was originally released on the DS, and, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever saw a copy of the game on store shelves.  I can only assume it was a very limited release.  I had to ebay the copy I’m playing on now.  

The plot of this game begins with Professor E. Gadd (of Luigi’s Mansion and Mario Sunshine fame) demonstrating his new time machine at Peach’s castle.  An excited Peach travels alone to the past to when she was an infant, but when the time machine returns to the present, Peach is missing, and in her place an alien monster jumps from the machine and attacks the castle before being neutralized by Mario and Luigi.  The brothers, E. Gadd and Toadsworth learn that Peach has been kidnapped by alien invaders who are running amok in the Mushroom Kingdom of the past.   Why no one in the present remembers this alien invasion that took place in the past is never explained…….

As a result of damage to the time machine, time holes to the past begin appearing across Peach’s castle which the brothers to search the past for the princess.  There they meet up with the baby versions of themselves that were first seen in Yoshi’s Island.  For most of the adventure, the babies ride piggyback on their adult counterparts, but they can also detach and head off on their own.  This is important as they are capable of reaching areas that the big bros can’t such as by crawling through tiny holes in the walls or being lofted up onto high ledges by the adults.  This is used to create some interesting mechanics in the dungeons.

There are two pillars of M+L that I think are the critical factors in making the games so special.  The first are the turn-based battle systems which incorporate timing and reaction-based elements which makes enemy encounters quite a bit more stimulating to me than what is encountered in typical Japanese turn-based RPGs.  The second is the humor and offbeat imagination found throughout the series.  There are just so many funny and clever characters and situations found in these games.  

I’ve heard more than a few people call this the most boring and uneventful game in the M+L series.  Now I’m only a handful of hours into the game so far, but I’m having a hard time understanding that position.  In terms of the pillars I’ve outlined above (humor and battle system), I would put it (so far) on the same level as Superstar Saga (the first game), which isn’t too far behind Bowser’s Inside Story.  The babies don’t really add much to the battle system, but they don’t really detract anything from it either.   And one thing I really appreciate is that the game packs a lot more references to the various Mario spinoff games than other titles in the M+L series.  Professor E. Gadd is one of my favorite Mario spinoff characters, and he plays a fairly important role in guiding the brothers in this game.  I’ve also seen references to other “deep cut” games like Yoshi’s Cookie and both the Japanese and American versions of Super Mario Bros. 2.  Kamek also has a funny little “ohhhh….. it’s you kids again” moment when he first encounters the baby brothers for the first time after trying to kidnap them in Yoshi’s Island.

So far, I’m looking forward to completing this game.  Also during my break a few weeks ago, I got into Rayman Legends on Vita.  I really enjoyed Rayman Origins, but I think Legends may actually top it.  I think the art is a significant step up as it features a level of embellishment that wasn’t present in Origins.  But more importantly, there’s just something about the level design in Legends that is more “fast and free” than Origins.  I’m afraid I have a hard time articulating my feelings on what I mean by that.  I think it’s because I always felt a little bogged down searching for the caged electoons in Origins, while their counterparts in Legends, the captured Teensies, are significantly easier to find.  The result is that you can move through the levels at a faster pace that results in more satisfying platforming.  Also, there’s not as many swimming levels which I found to be a huge relief.

I’ve let too many weeds grow in this blog for the past month, but I hope to get back on a (semi)regular posting schedule soon.  Thanks to you all for reading!

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Posted on December 8, 2015, in Updates and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Heh, I am the same. When packing for a vacation I deliberate more on games than what clothes to stuff into the suitcase. I’m surprised that Europe would get a game before America. Normally I am the one left waiting for awesome titles I read about on blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know Nintendo of Europe has a bad history, but over the last few years I feel like they’re more on top of things than Nintendo of America when it comes to the smaller titles that aren’t big Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, etc. releases. We also got Yoshi’s Woolly World months after Europe this year. And lets not even get into those RPGs that fans had to beg and plead them to release on the Wii.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Thanksgiving and Christmas always mean handheld gaming for me, as I have to make a long arduous journey southward to visit my parents house where I grew up. I always stress out over which few games I’m going to carry along with me. I have no idea why I do this. I don’t put nearly as much time into thinking about clothing or the other things I need to pack.”

    This is exactly me. Then I pack too many games, and end up agonizing over which to play instead of just picking one. I’ve played Superstar Saga and need to get through the sequels. I was big fan of Legend of the Seven Stars.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have not played this game. I am interested about combat in a Mario game being turn-based, my experience consists of Mario jumping on enemies’ heads. How does this work? How does the time travel affect the story? I have played game which use time travel, but it is usually used in games with a strong story so the player can compare the past and future. How is it used in the Mushroom Kingdom? Which always seems surreal. I like the way the game uses humorous characters and situations. It is strange for aliens to be the villains and not Bowser or one of his associates.
    I am interested in your opinions about Rayman: Legends. I also enjoyed your description of playing games during the holiday season.

    Like

    • Sorry to get back to your comment so late. For some reason WordPress isnt giving me notifications when people leave comments, so I didn’t see it until just now. The game plays sort of like Final Fantasy where you select attacks from a menu. The basic attacks are to either jump on enemies or attack with a hammer. But certain attacks don’t work on certain enemies. For instance, if you jump on a spiky enemy, Mario will take damage, meaning that enemy can only be defeated with the hammer attack. Also, the jump and hammer can be used when enemies take their turn to attack. So, for instance, when a goomba charges at Mario, he can jump over it to avoid taking damage. If the jump is timed just right, Mario will land on the goomba when it charges and do counter damage. These aspects make the turn based combat really interesting.

      Theres not really all that much interesting that happens with the time travel, I’m afraid. It’s just a reason for Mario and Luigi to team up with the baby versions of themselves. Also, Baby Bowser and the Koopa Clan are also under attack by the aliens, so the brothers actually get to team up with him and some of the enemies they’ve fought in other games.

      Like

  4. Rayman: Legends is one of my very favorite 2D platformers. I definitely think Origins was a bit more challenging which I appreciated, but overall I preferred Legends as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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