Mario Party is a series that has lasted 13 years with multiple different installments across most of Nintendo’s Consoles. Fans first got to play the game on the Nintendo 64 back in 1998 and since then there have been 9 installments in the series on consoles not including the spin off games made for the Game Boy and Nintendo DS. It seems that after Mario Party 5, however, that the series has been declining in quality and it doesn’t even seem as if the developers are even putting any effort into it anymore. With Hudson Soft out and Nd Cube in, can the party be saved?
Mario Party 9 for the Wii is being developed by Nd Cube, the team responsible for the entertaining Wii Party game. This is a departure from Hudson Soft, who was booted from the series after the sadness that was Mario Party 8. Can Nd Cube bring some life to Mario’s newest party? Or does this party end up as boring as his last one? Here are the Hots and Nots of Mario Party 9.
Out With The Old, In With The New
It seems that Nd Cube took one look at the old Mario Party and just said “Nah, let’s change it up.” And you know what? It works really well for the series. Hardcore fans of the game may not be too pleased with this new formula at first, but I believe that if they give it a chance they may find that they actually like the new look. Mario Party 9 ditches the original boards, coins and set number of turns style and has you playing a more linear map or stage and has you run through it from start to finish in a fashion similar to the Board Game Island mode from Wii Party. While this doesn’t sound like much at first, Mario Party 9 finds a way to flesh it out into a full game that will provide fun for you and your friends or family for hours.
MP9 has the players moving in a fashion much different from the previous installments. Instead of rolling the dice and going on a path different from your opponents, you are now stuck in a vehicle with them and taking turns being the “captain” of the vehicle. While you are in the captain position, your dice roll will affect how far everyone moves but whatever space you land on, be it good or bad, only happens to your character. This still has every player looking out for themselves rather than making it a team effort.
The overall aim of the game has changed a bit as well. This time you will be collecting mini-stars (Mario Party 9 does not have any coins whatsoever) instead of full stars that you pay coins for. You earn these mini-stars by winning mini-games and collecting them as you move across the board on your turn. While this sounds like a complete cakewalk, be mindful that the last stretch of the board is littered with Bowser spaces and it really turns into a cut-throat game towards the end.
Mario Party 9 also introduces boss battles into the series which involve competition between you and you opponents. The player who is in control of the vehicle when landing on the boss space will be earn bonus mini-stars and be able to choose which boss they would like to battle. Boss battles themselves are a mix of team work and competition as you and your fellow party goers will have to work together to bring down the boss. Players will be awarded on skill, how much damage they did to the boss and will receive a bonus if they landed the final blow. This adds another element of competition to the game as you decide whether to help out for the greater good or only look out for yourself.
As I stated up above, long time fans of the series may be cringing at the sight of all of these changes, but they really do work for the game. The Mario Party series was in need of a dire change and I feel as if even the most hardcore of fans will love this entry in the series if they give it a shot. The most you could do if you are feeling skeptical is give it a shot via rental and see how much you like it.
Double The Fun With Friends And Family
There is a reason that this game is called Mario Party, seeing as it is a game best played with a group of friends or family members. Mario Party 9 can provide hours of fun for you and your friends, giving you 80 mini-games to play that vary from skill based to all about luck. You may find that you hold a pretty steady lead up until the luck mini-games roll around and your friend may swoop in and take the lead. There is always something happening in MP9 that switches things up and keeps the game tense. Nothing is more hilarious to see your friends in the lead only to see them get tagged by a land shark you threw down and lose some mini-stars. Let the smack talking begin.
Bottomless Bag Of Content
Mario Party 9 has quite a few things for you to do whether you are playing alone or with a group. There are 80 different mini-games for you to master as you play across the game’s boards or you can just skip the board part and just play the mini-games in a separate mode. These games vary from platforming, to skill based, to luck and reaction challenges. The reaction games are my personal favorite. It is always fun to see who out of your friends has the quickest reaction time and wins the bragging rights. There are also a few different games you can play aside from the main game that allow you to play the mini-games. Step Up has you climbing up a step on a staircase with every battle that you win while Garden Battle adds some strategy into the mix by having the winner choose different plants to place in the garden with the aim of filling it up before your opponents. This adds some diversity to the game when you and your friends want a change from the typical boards and mini-games routine.
Sounds Like A Party, Mario Style
Mario Party 9 does a good job in sounding like a Mario game. The music is upbeat and happy and the sounds all fit into the Mario universe. Mario utters his typical “Its-a-me!” phrases and Peach is the still the same hollow headed princess that she has portrayed since Super Mario 64. I’m glad that even with all the changes, they still kept all of the music and sounds that we know and love from the Mario Party series and Mario in general.
Not Too Much Fun By Yourself
As I stated above, it is called Mario Party for a reason. There isn’t much fun to be had if you play the game by yourself seeing as most of the fun comes from playing the game in multiplayer with your friends. There is a single-player mode that has you playing through the various boards alone facing off against Bowser’s minions, but that doesn’t compare to joining up with your friends on the couch and turning it into an all out brawl. Sure you could play all the mini-games by yourself and perfect your skills, but where is the fun in that. If you really don’t plan on playing this title with anyone else, then it is best for you to look somewhere else for your Mario needs.
Could Benefit From A Classic Mode
Mario Party 9 could have appealed to the more hardcore fans a little better if they had added in some sort of classic mode that allows you to play the game the original way across a few different maps. This would have appeased the older fans and given newcomers a small taste of what they missed out on in previous entries. Maybe Nd Cube will add something like this into Mario Party 10, but for now we have to make due with what we are given.
Graphics Won’t Win Any Awards
The graphics in Mario Party 9 are what you would come to expect from a Nintendo Wii game. The textures tend to look a little runny and rough around the edges, and the game tends to slow down when there is too much action on the screen during some of the mini-games. But hey who buys a Mario Party game for the graphics right? It is just kind of sad that we can’t quite look at Mario and friends in a different light until we see Mario Party on the Wii U.
Mario Party 9 is a nice refresher for a series that has been slowly decaying and has been in need of a big overhaul. Nd Cube has really done a good job in restoring the life to a dying party. The overhauled gameplay, multiplayer and loads of content makes up for the lack of a classic mode. While there isn’t much of a reason to play this game by yourself, it is definitely worth picking up if you plan on playing it with friends and family. Hardcore fans may take some time to warm up to it, but once they do they will find that they can have a really good time playing Mario’s latest adventure with his friends.
[Editor’s Note: Mario Party 9 was reviewed on the Wii platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Mario Party 9 Review ,