Mario and Lugi Superstar Saga was a legendary GBA game, even though the graphics were a little grainy, me and my friend play that game almost daily at lunch time, being excited about the 2005 release, I bought it right away without thinking. Mario and Luigi Partners in Time is NOT, i repeat NOT a remake of the GBA game Mario and Luigi Super Star Saga, created in 2003. Which is a good thing, mainly.
The game has the second-most creative plots in a Mario game (The first goes to Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door), where Peach goes in a time machine back to the past, and this alien race called the Shroobs conquer the past Mushroom Kingdom. Mario and Luigi have to go save the past Kingdom from all the evil, but this time they have some... uh friends...
Their (ahem) "friends" are actually their own younger selves from the past when they were still babies (Toddlers, at least, since they can walk and jump). You will learn some moves for each team, they younger bros. will get hammers, which will work equal to the hammers in Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga.
A familar ability is in this game as well, stomping baddies before battles will give them extra damage, but if you jump on one with flames, spikes, etc. you'll actually take damage. If you've never played the GBA original, you can counter and dodge moves when foes attack, making this an actually exciting RPG, and not a boring one where it's 100% turn based.
The Bros. Points have been removed, MALSS (Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga) you had to use Bros. Points to operate special moves, which were quite tedious, since you had to get an extra power up called Syrup to recover them. MALPIT (Mario and Luigi Partners in Time) gives you Bros. Items which are like special moves, except you only need to use one thing instead of two.
The length of the game depends on how long it will take you, the game goes by faster if you actually fight enemies instead of running away (you lose coins every time you do this, quite a lot, actually, so it's not recommended) since you can level up. You can't run away from Mini-Boss or Boss fights, so fighting is recommended, since it's the easiest way to get money and the only way to get EXP to level up
You have Heart Points for health, Power for... duh, power, Defense for Defense, Speed for Speed, and wait, what's this Stache? What the (BLEEP) is Stache points? Well, Stache points are a % of how many Lucky hits you can land, Lucky hits do more damage, and Stache points also give you discounts on buying items and higher refunds for selling items.
To increase some stats, you can also buy clothes, this is a faster way, but it costs a lot of money. Only people that don't run and fight nearly every single battle will have a lot of money left over. Another thing to buy is badges, these let you do special things like recover health every turn.
Beans seem pretty useless, you dig into the ground, and pop up where there is an X mark to get one, until... you get to (SPOILER) Fawful's Badge N' Bean Shop, (Fawful was a major NPC character in MALSS) where you can trade them for badges. All of the badges (Even though they're RARE) really really suck... except for the Ulti-Free Badge, which lets you use infinite bro items, no matter what amount you have, even though it takes time to get more then 1, you can just play certain games for beans if you don't like to search.
Another issue is saving, one of the biggest complaints that I have. In order to save, you have to find something called a Save Album, you have to actually jump under it to go to the save menu, this is quite bad, if you think you don't have to save "yet" and get in a battle, lose and have to start over from your last save.
Even worse, if you run out of battery power. However, another alternative is to pause the game and put it in sleep mode (Charge it if you can) and play again when you can.
OK: Time for the comparisons
WHICH IS BETTER
MALSS: Better humor
MALPIT usually recycles old jokes, or inside jokes from the other game, i.e a really annoying character Prince Peasly is a poster on the wall. Some of the jokes are sometimes not even really funny, and just annoying (Babies crying, Baby Peach, Baby Mario, no sound jokes, where you just watch something with no music and few sound effects).
Also the dialouge is sometimes amazing, and a second later it just makes you think "What? Was that supposed to be funny?"
MALPIT: Better Action
MALSS is bland compared to MALPIT and that's a pretty bold statement. You actually control 4 guys in battle by using 4 buttons, and you need to switch frequently in some parts of the game between the pairs, doing special actions to get to secret areas, or required areas to progress through the game.
I would actually getting the ORIGINAL first, so you can understand if this is your type of humor, the original is actually easier, since it's normal paced, even the fast battles, while this one is frantic, requiring you to press buttons for successive items, or skillful baddies.
The Bad: Some cutscenes are annoying, limited save feature, only 2 slots, no multiplayer, "fast" gameplay (not really bad after you get used to it)
if you arealdy have MALSS read a few other reviews before purchasing this excellent game to make your descision