|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hudson Soft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 19, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda Kondolojy
There was a time, probably around Mario Party 4, that I completely believed that there was nothing better then Mario Party. I thought I could play this franchise forever, and looked forward to each new itineration of the series with great anticipation.
But then something happened. As unbelievable as it was, the Mario Party formula started getting stale. The minigames became really uninspired and the different boards suffered from a chronic sameness. It seemed that the franchise which I had always counted on to bring me fun party-style fun was running out of steam. And Mario Party DS, much like most of the Mario Party games that have been coming down the pipe lately, continues this trend of underwhelming fun.
At its heart, Mario Party DS is your typical Mario Party game. There are a total of five boards and scores of mini-games to keep you diverted. However, because Mario Party DS is a handheld title, there's more of a focus on single-player based play then there has been in previous Mario Party games. In addition to party mode, Mario Party DS also features a mini-game mode, an all-new puzzle mode, battle mode, and story mode. The story mode is fairly thin, but it's nice to see real effort to make a solid single-player mode for the Mario Party franchise. The story mode starts off with Mario and the gang being suspiciously invited over to Bowser's place for a dinner party. And of course, in true Bowser fashion, it was all a trap. Bowser then proceeds to shrink everyone, and you'll have to play through several mini-themed boards to get back to Bowser's castle and reverse your current shrunken state. There are a total of five boards in the story mode, and after you conquer each board, you'll have a "boss" mini-game that you have to defeat before you can move on.
One very interesting thing about the story mode is the replay ability. Although you might think it's pretty obvious because of the mini-games for each mode, but there's also a different ending for each of the different characters that you can play as. So if you love Daisy but also have a passion for Peach, you can experience the Mario Party DS story through both perspectives.
But if you want a shorter and more structured Mario Party experience, there's also battle mode. What battle mode does is essentially let you design your own Mario Party. You get to pick five mini-games to play, and then you test you skill to see who can come out of your challenge on top. This mode is especially good if there are some mini-games that you feel especially good at or one that you really want to avoid.
In addition to the story mode and the battle mode, there's also a puzzle mode that features some more lengthy puzzle-type minigames. This mode is great if you enjoy the puzzle-type genre (as I do) and just want to play these types of games. There's also some vintage puzzle mini-games from past Mario Party games here as well, so that's some good news for puzzle-lovers as well. My personal favorite has to be bomb-omb breakers, which made its debut on one of the GameCube version all those years ago.