Platforms - Wii
Genre - Party Board/Mini Games
Aust. Classification – G
Publisher - NintendoThe party game of the century has returned! Mario and friends are here to accompany a friendly (up to 4 player) battle against Bowser and co. to steal back the Mini Stars he has sucked into his vaccuum. The game is basically a turn-based dice-style board game with Mini Games being activated upon landing on their space. Collecting and losing Mini stars along the way as you pass through them and a Boss battle at the end. Also available on the board are rewards and obstacles with Bower occasionally popping in for a spin of his wheel for a game of chance. With 10 characters to play as excluding the 2 to unlock there you are sure to have a favourite.
In Solo mode you choose your character with the other 3 controlled by the AI but really, like its predecessors, this game has always been about multiplayer and if you can gather three other people to play it is worth it as this is where the game shines. Because of its colourful visuals and upbeat soundtrack it can even lift the mood of a gathering significantly. So if the party has become a bit dull, this game will turn those frowns upside down and replace yawns with wide eyed enjoyment. It's also a great babysitter and is guaranteed to occupy the kids while the adults have their grown up conversations in another room. Beware though, if you find the adults are disappearing, then check the kids' room because no doubt they will be in there denying the poor kids their turn in this highly addictive game.
Most of the 80 or so Mini Games are quite fun, even playing by solo. They are challenging and diverse but without ever becoming really difficult. Perfect for the casual player and groups of gamers who don't mind dabbling in a bit of no-nonsense (and nonsense) fun. These games utilise the Wiimote both on its side and vertical depending on the particular games playing style and requirements.
The additional elements add depth and strategy to the game. Things like winning 0,1 and 1, 2, 3 and 4,5, 6 restricted dice are a great advantage as they do not contain the other numbers, so they can be used to increase the chance of landing on your desired space within that range. Not being able to accumulate more than two is a pain though as you need to occasionally give them up and that hurts.
As mentioned before, the visuals are as expected from a Mario game, bright and colourful, with an upbeat soundtrack. The 7 distinctly different themed stages diversify the graphics and mix up the gameplay enough to not get bored with the selection that is available for quite a while as a single player; and quite a while longer if playing with friends. It becomes just like a real board game and becomes about beating your friends instead of just the AI.
What is great, especially for kids, is the way the game makes such a big deal out of the winner at the end. Anticipation drum rolls and dramatic pauses make it all the more rewarding for the winner and makes the losers want to play again to get the same attention bestowed on them. The game encourages repeat play by rewarding the console owner with Party Points that can be spent on unlocking the useful stuff like different vehicles and stages. Or useless stuff like returning stars to the constellations, buying music and character voices to listen to.
More refined and simplified than Mario Party 8, I loved this game and so did all the people who played with me. And with not too many games being released for the Wii these days it was good to dust off the console and give it a good workout again with a quality game like this. Something I have actually missed since finishing Skyward Sword.For the final score and more, go to Maceman Reviews