Mario Party has reached its 9th console entry and once again invites four players to utilize its classic board game style and explore a variety of themed lands collecting stars while avoiding certain spaces.
Welcome to Mario Party 9
We haven’t seen a new Mario Party title for a while now. In fact, it’s been almost five years since Mario Party 8. Unfortunately, its previous installments haven’t really been the series brightest stars. Luckily, Mario Party 9, by NdCube, brings us some refreshing changes which makes the game feel more like a reboot rather than a simple repaint job.
When you begin the game, a main menu with various options greets you along with the cheerful music Mario Party fans have learned to love. There are 5 modes in all; Party, Solo, Minigame, Extras and Museum. – For the sake of this review, we choose Party.
There are eleven characters to choose from with a few newcomers that must be unlocked through the solo mode to be playable. With the large gallery of different characters you should be able to find one to your liking. Once you’ve made your choice it is time to choose the stage
The same good stuff, new ways of movement
The structure of the stages is nothing we haven’t seen already. For those who are unfamiliar with the series, each board has various circles for minigames, power-ups and random events unique to each selection. And of course, the goal is still the same: Journey through each stage, competing against your fellow players to gather the most stars along the way. However, there have been a few changes which makes the progression through the stage a bit different
players take turns as Captain of the vehicle by hitting Dice Blocks to move the entire party forward
In previous Mario Party titles, you could set the amount of turns which determined how long the game would take and compete until they ran out. However, in Mario Party 9, each board is more linear with a clear beginning and end with certain events all players share. This means that games are shorter too, ranging from 30 to 45 minutes on average.
Also, you will not move across the board by yourself anymore. Instead players take turns as Captain of the vehicle by hitting Dice Blocks to move the entire party forward, hoping to land on good spaces.
This means that you share the ride through the whole stage.
Now, it might be easy to think that the turn order pretty much dictates who gets the stars right? In a way that is true, but there are factors and spaces affecting the turn order and the speed of the vehicle. These events make sharing the vehicle surprisingly fun. While these events might not be as radical as stealing all of your fellow players stars -like in some of the previous titles – I guarantee, it feels good to change the ministars to ztars (takes away stars) just before the next player is about to get land on that space.
The new way of moving with the gameplay perks it provides, is a good mix of balanced gameplay and random factors which will make each party worth the outcome.
The true juice of all Mario Party titles comes from its minigames. Mario Party 9 includes 80 which range from making pizzas, blasting a canvas with paint and splitting logs. These minigames are truly well-crafted, which is pretty much the reason why the games have survived the sands of time.
One example of a well-crafted minigame is Logger Heads, where players try to be the first to split a log in half by quickly moving the Wii Remote. Occasionally, a Bob-omb may be placed on the stump instead of a log, so players must press A to duck from the explosion. Failing to do so or chopping the Bob-omb results in players being stunned for the next round. The first player to get three points wins. While the minigame itself may seem rather simple, it provides right amount of curses and laughter from your friends when playing it together.
even when co-operating against a common goal, you’ll most likely sabotage your fellow players
Unlike in previous titles, these 80 minigames also include new type of minigames; boss battles. A few times in each stage – while still playing competitively to boost your own score – you must join forces to defeat foes such as Bowser and Big Bob-omb in their own specialized minigames. So even when co-operating against a common goal, you’ll most likely sabotage your fellow players to get the most mini-stars out of it. This all translates to a nice mix of co-op and competitive action that is -without a doubt – best enjoyed with friends.
While there are some special events, usually the player who steps on the space can pick between three mini-games, choosing the one you really want to play.
The party has started again with Mario Party 9. It still is a world glass get-together game. It does lots of things right, improving from its predecessors and yes, the minigames are fun as ever.
Even though the game might feel rather grinding for a lone gamer, that doesn’t make a game designed to be played together bad. Mario Party 9 is – as the title states it – a party title and although the game can never achieve its full potential when played alone, it is another game that should find its way to your shelfs.
BoG’s Mario Party 9 Score: 8.6
Why so high? Excellent minigames, new refreshing board game structure
Why so low? No online component, no one likes to party alone, might feel too linear to some.