Heading into Nintendo's pre-E3 press conference last week, a journo pal of ours joked that yours truly would be find himself kith and kin with the yelping yank hordes. Well, he was wrong for the most part [Tom's just so reserved -Ed], but there was one game on the showreel that prompted squeals of delight: Mario & Luigi 2 for Nintendo DS.
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, a mixture of real-time and turn-based role-playing styles, was simultaneously one of the Game Boy Advance's most acclaimed and commercially insignificant second-party titles here in Europe, so the news of a DS-bound sequel is both exciting and surprising, and it seems that developer Alphadream has worked hard to preserve the spirit of the original.
This time, Mario and Luigi travel back in time to retrieve Princess Peach, only to come face to face with baby versions of themselves, princess and Bowser. Players will not only control Mario and Luigi - with A and B buttons corresponding to default actions for both, as before - but will also control younger versions of themselves with X and Y buttons, sometimes simultaneously.
The battle system will use a turn-based style similar to Mario & Luigi (or Paper Mario 2 on the Cube, which had a lot in common with M&L), with dodging and counter options, except now the game takes advantage of both screens for bigger enemies. The DS's top screen will also be used to keep track of character not under direct control, and a demo on Nintendo's stand demonstrated much-improved animation routines.
Given how entertaining M&L was throughout, it's safe to say that Mario & Luigi 2 is close to the top of our most-wanted DS titles list by default. You can find some E3 screenshots of the game here. As soon as we know anything else, we'll be sure to squeal some more.