|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|
One very interesting thing about Mario Party DS is how it deals with unlockable content. There is quite a bit of unlockable content in Mario Party DS, and it includes everything from trophies to unlockable mini-games. And the way that you earn most of these is by playing different modes and earning "MP Points." You earn these points by doing well in different games, and the whole thing is reminiscent of the Xbox 360's achievement system. However, once you unlock everything, the MP points become mostly irrelevant, and you'll just find them accruing for no reason.
But as good as the single-player modes may be, Mario Party at its heart is a party game franchise. And the DS version totally lends itself to party-style play. You can do a download single-cart and play with up to four other people. This is great if you (like myself) have friends who always have their DS on their person. Mario Party is such a fast game that it only makes sense to make it multiplayer and portable so that families and friends who are out and about can enjoy a fast round of Mario Party DS without having multiple copies of the game. The only shortcoming of the multiplayer mode is that you'll have to sit through some loading screens during the game, especially right before going into the various mini-games. But it's a small price to pay to be able to play multiplayer single-cart.
As far as the overall look of the game, it's a pretty generic DS look. Everything looks just as you would expect it to, and while there's nothing bad about that, there's nothing really to shout about either. It's pretty much the same story with the control scheme as well. You'll be using the stylus, face buttons, and occasionally the microphone to control the various mini-games. It's great that there is a wide variety of control schemes, however they are all pretty predictable and don't really add much to the game.
Overall, Mario Party DS is a great game for those who love the Mario Party franchise. Its best feature has to be the single cart multiplayer function because it allows you to take the party to the streets and play it with anyone who has a DS. The different modes also make it a very interesting and somewhat novel title to pick up. However, if you've grown a little too accustomed to the Mario Party formula over the years, then you'll probably end up a little bit disappointed in Mario Party DS. At its base, it's really just a recycling of old Mario Party mini-games, and just doesn't feel new enough to be its own game. Here's hoping that the next itineration of the Mario Party franchise will be new and inventive enough to rekindle some of the love we used to have for it back when it was new.
CCC Freelance Writer