After FIVE LONG YEARS, Mario Party is back! Was it worth the wait? No, not really. More Mario Parties would have been nice. Nevertheless, this is the best looking one yet, with some of the most polished mini-games and a brand new concept of play!
Now that every player shares the same place on the board, you might think the competitive strategy aspect has been taken out or dumbed down…
From the two boards I played, strategy is now a BIGGER factor than ever! Firstly, where you land doesn’t affect everyone. If you land on a space that gives you three stars, it’s just you that gets it. Secondly, the entire board has been designed around this new concept. Mario Party 9 has abolished the turn limit in favour of a finish line – once the car gets there, the game ends.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
If you’re winning, you’ll want to get to the end as fast as possible to cement your victory, while everyone else will be battling to delay the game in a desperate effort to catch up. A large part of Mario Party 9 is in the hands of Bowser; your luck depends on the roll of the dice, but items help give you a bit of control. Items are found in the guise of different “special” dice, so if you want to land 3 spaces in front, it’s best to roll a dice that only has 1-2-3 on it to increase your chances. If you’re losing then the 0-1 dice becomes a huge asset, while the winner will try and be an asshole and roll a 10 if the finish line is in sight. I feel this new concept brings everyone together and has more of a connected team spirit than the previous Mario Party system, where everyone would go off on their own way with little consequence on other players paths.
Mini-games aren’t much different to what we’re all used to, though I’ve only seen about a third of them at this point. All fun and simple with responsive controls. One of the games uses the tilt sensor extremely well – it felt like I was playing Kororinpa on a tiny platform. The pointer is also used pretty well at times, but most games I played just used the d-pad and 1 or 2 buttons. Nunchuck isn’t used at all.
Boss battles are where the mini-games take on a new twist. They are welcomed with a Super Smash Bros. style introduction and have health bars. Everyone works as a team to bring the boss down, but like the board, this is just an illusion. There’s still a “winner”, whoever hits the boss the most times will claim the most stars. In this Wiggler game you can accidentally ground pound your friends to make them inactive for a brief period. WHOOPS!
The graphics are remarkable and blow away previous Mario Party games. The style is a bizarre mix between Super Mario Galaxy and Skyward Sword. The entire presentation of the game has been stepped up, and there’s a ton of unlockables and more content than I can wrap my head around at this point. I’m extremely impressed with Mario Party 9 and I think anyone who even remotely enjoys Mario Party should give it a shot.