Developer: Nd Cube
Genre: Party Games
Australian Release Date: March 8th, 2012
Australian Rating: G
The ninth in the series of video board game style games in which you win by having the most stars.
While you still play on a board game style track and compete in mini games to receive prizes, the first thing you will notice that is different to previous Mario Party games is that you all progress together in one vehicle rather than individually on the board. For each player’s turn, that player is the driver, or ‘captain’, and whatever the vehicle lands on while it is your turn, happens to you, i.e. gaining (or losing) stars, special events, etc. The second thing you notice is that there are no coins and no ultimate star goals. Stars are gained and lost by traversing the board: picking them up when you go through them, losing them when you go through ‘z-stars’; and winning them in the mini games. In a sense, they have merged stars and coins to simplify the game.
Like before, solo mode is pretty much just playing against the computer. However, one other player is playing for Bowser, and if they win, you have to do the level all over again. This can be a little frustrating as completing a bored isn’t done quickly. Something else new that I love is boss battles. Like a Super Mario world, at the end of each track is a Bowser castle, and a Bowser minion fort half way through. At the fort, you must fight one of Bowser’s minions in a mini game style fight where the boss has a health bar and you gain points based on the damage you do. Then, obviously, at the Bowser castle you fight Bowser in a range of different mini games. I find these battles really add a sense of accomplishment to the game, and they are a lot of fun.
In the Extras menu you have different, not-so-mini games. You complete these to earn Party Points (which are used to unlock bonuses in the Museum), but nowhere near as many as you would in Party Mode. Goomba Bowling and Shell Soccer are fun, but best played with others. Perspective Mode is a new way to play the regular mini games. Seeing the play field from a restricted view point definitely adds a level of difficulty to it. Then there is Castle Clearout, which, if you let it, will last forever. It is an arcade style game that involves dropping balls to clear out groups of six or more touching of the same colour. My biggest complaint about it is that there is no point system for it. There is only level progression, and it takes quite a few levels before the difficulty moves up a notch.
Being another Party game on the Wii, the graphics aren’t that much better than the last, perhaps a little crisper if anything. But the colour schemes are nicer and so is the audio. It is also much easier to unlock things in this game than its predecessors. All new mini games, all new boards, similar premise but slightly different gameplay. Great for light casual gaming, but best played with friends. If you’ve skipped the last couple of versions because they were too similar (and let’s be honest, they were), 9 has the right balance of new vs. familiar.
Game Play 9
Ease of Play 10
I kind of made up the genre myself, as everywhere else had it as puzzle, and it really doesn’t come across as a puzzle game at all to me, except for maybe the one arcade game.