After five years of waiting, Mario Party gets its latest instalment in Mario Party 9, the series’ best release yet.
Holding the record for the longest running mini-game series, you’d think that Mario Party would be having trouble staying fresh all this time. However, thanks to the ingenious developers at Nd Cube, it’s been revamped significantly to feature improved gameplay, exciting multiplayer battles, and just good fun with three other friends.
Wii Mario Party 9 is basically an interactive, virtual board game. The premise is that Bowser has stolen all the stars in the Mushroom Kingdom sky, and it’s up to a party of up to four brave adventurers to get them all back. You and your friends then select your favourite Mario characters and start the game on a map that resembles a board game.
Gameplay involves rolling a dice and going to the corresponding square on the board game. Unlike previous entries in the series wherein players move around the board individually and separately, Mario Party 9 places everyone together inside a big, mobile vehicle. Whoever has the current turn is designated as the driver, and the number on the rolled dice moves the vehicle accordingly. All bonuses and penalties incurred are experienced by the driver alone, but movement is now shared since no one can get off the car. This new game aspect significantly shortens the playing time, and it also eliminates the feeling of disinterest from having to wait until your turn comes (a common pitfall of every board game), since all the choices made by the driver can impact your fate.
Sprinkled throughout the map tiles are stars which you have to collect; whoever has the highest number of stars at the end of the game wins. However, Mario Party 3 is filled with chances and opportunities that can literally turn the tide of battle in an instant. To spice up the chaos, more than 50 minigames can be randomly encountered during the course of play. The minigames involve competing with each other in an assortment of activities such as jumping rope, riding dolphins through hoops, avoiding getting crushed by Thwomps, racing amidst rotating blocks, and so on. The games are incredibly fun, varied, and challenging that you’ll soon find friendly competition turn into cutthroat battles. Whoever wins a minigame gets a leg up in becoming overall winner.
Also new to Mario Party 9 Wii game are boss battles. At the end of every level, you encounter bosses your team has to battle together in order to progress. However, note that competition among players don’t get put on hold; the boss battles make it so that you have to work together and try to ruin each other’s score at the same time. As you can imagine, this can lead to some pretty interesting pandemonium.
Mario Party 9 is not without its flaws. Most notably, the single player campaign isn’t quite as fun or exciting as multiplayer. If you don’t plan on inviting anyone over, then the game isn’t worth playing by your lonesome. Another complaint is the emphasis on chance rather than skill, as too often the person who wins is the one with the most luck rather than playing experience.
Overall, the game shines on its merits, and Mario Party 9 is guaranteed to be a worthwhile investment for you, your friends, and your whole family.
Mario Party 9 is available exclusively for the Wii. It has support for up to four players at a time.
Mario Party 9 took five years to complete, but it’s well worth the wait. The game is an excellent multiplayer experience that is friendly, fun, and viciously challenging in a good way. The vibrant graphics, new content, and incredibly numerous minigames more than make up for its perceived shortcomings. Just be sure to play it with other people where the game is at its best.