When you think of a party it’s all about cake, drinks, sweets, creepy clowns and all forms of fun and entertainment. It’s this very formula that’s made the Mario Party series such a joy with friends over the years. It’s now the Wii U’s turn to receive it’s first Mario Party. Should you accept or decline the invitation?
Mario Party 9.5
As you would expect Mario Party 10 starts up with a delightful soundtrack that sets you in the mood for all forms of multiplayer mayhem. It’s in essence a glorified electronic board game that comes with three modes – amiibo Party, Bowser Party and Mario Party. Mario Party follows the tried and tested recipe that has you making your way from point A to B via a roll of the dice. As before there are all forms of hazards, rewards and mini-games along the way. Your objective is to collect the most mini stars to be victorious. Does it sound like Mario Party 9 to you? It’s because it’s exactly that, minus the entertainment and creativity.
Seeing as it’s following the Mario Party 9 style you’re once again stuck in one vehicle, though the whole ‘Captain’ idea, which brought something new to the series, died along with Mario Party 9. There are some great mini games, and one or two decent boss battles, but it’s nowhere near as good as anything prior to this. The games are made up of simple button presses or motion controls and requires you to play using a Wii Remote. Got 4 players playing? You each need a Wii remote to play. Unfortunately there’s more that spoils the party.
Shake, rattle, roll all the dice
There is an abundance of hidden special dice blocks (that’s either a high number, low number, double dice or slow dice block). It makes the experience far too easy. The new boards are not all that different from before either. You’ll get to play on Mushroom Park, Haunted Trail, Whimsical Waters, Airship Central, and Chaos Castle, which brings it to a mere five board variations. There’s nothing extra to buy in the shop (using in-game Mario Party points), though you’ll be able to buy extra characters in the form of Toadette and Spike, which increases the character selection count to 12. It feels as if it’s been rushed to ensure that there was Gamepad and amiibo support in time for launch, and in the Mario Party mode there’s barely any use of it at all. Bowser is supposedly trapped inside a cage (displayed on the Gamepad). It has several locks on it numbered 1-6. You guessed it. Every time your dice lands on a number it’ll break a lock. Break all 6 locks and Bowser comes out to spoil the party by changing regular spaces to Bowser spaces. You don’t use the Gamepad once for anything else in the Mario Party mode.
Bowser Party will have one player playing against a maximum of four other competitors. Your aim, as Bowser, is to catch and deplete the health of the four other players before they reach the end of the board, whereby they’re rewarded with a golden star. Catch them and you’ll all take part in a unique Gamepad mini-game battle. The player playing as Bowser will play from the Gamepad perspective, while the rest follow the on-screen actions on the television. It’s feels like another Nintendoland showcase that shows off the capabilities of the Gamepad that includes the touch screen, microphone (to blow fire, which is quite cool) and gyroscope. It’s fun at first, but as there’s a maximum of 10 Bowser mini-games it gets stale quickly. Worse off is that you only have three boards to play on, all copied from Mario Party mode. So what about amiibo Party?
The following amiibo’s are supported: Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Yoshi, Wario, Rosalina and Donkey Kong. Scanning in either amiibo will launch a unique board for each character, though the board is square in shape and hosts items unique to each character. For example, Yoshi will have eggs you can collect (filled with dice – DICE EVERYWHERE!) and Mario can eat a mushroom and stomp competitors to steal their coins. Coins? Yes, it’s the classic Gold Star formula we all loved before Mario Party 9 broke everything. 20 coins buys you a Gold Star, and then moves to another position on the board. It could have been a great addition was it not for one moronic decision. Every time you roll the dice, select or confirm anything on the board you have to scan your amiibo on the Gamepad. When playing it by yourself it’s not an issue, but play it with three other friends and you’re constantly moving the Gamepad around or standing up to get to it. “SCAN – Dice roll, SCAN – accept special dice, SCAN – accept new board token; next players turn!” It just makes no sense at all and completely destroys what could have been. Why Nintendo? We have buttons on the Wii Remote that’s sitting in the palm of our hands. Scanning once would have made this addition something worth being a bit more excited for.
There are bonus games (Badminton Bash, Jewel Drop, Bowser Jr. Challenges, Minigame Tournament and Bowser Challenge) that tries to extend the time you’ll spend with the game, but there’s just not enough in this lucky party packet to compete with other titles, or any Mario Party game before this. You’ll find a Challenge List (similar to achievements and trophies) in Toad’s Room, as well as a music room and photo studio, but it feels exceptionally shallow. Mario Party 10 is a bit of a disappointment, especially considering that the Mario Party 9 formula with mini stars was not enjoyed by players. It’s okay for fans of the series, but be well aware that it feels rushed, can be a bit boring and annoying at times and that the lack of innovation makes this a party pooper.