|Release: March 11, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p|
Though the game runs smoother, it's now even more random than it was before. In previous Mario Party titles, doing well in minigames gave you resources that you would then inevitably spend to gain the advantage. In Mario Party 9, most of that is taken out. Instead, all you really have control over is rolling the die when you are captain. Sure, you can use high-block or low-block items to skew your die-roll, but obtaining these items is also essentially random, as you have to land on a die block space to get one.
Yes, you get to prove your skill by winning minigames, but these are only triggered randomly when you land on one of their spaces. The captain gets to choose the minigame, but from a random selection. Not only that, but the game gives you far fewer choices than you had on the roulette wheel in previous Mario Party titles. You can pick mini-stars up or lose them by moving past certain spaces on the board, but, once again, you have very little control over this since the die-roll is always random.
Essentially, a single player could play everyone's turn outside of the minigames and nothing would change. It's nice that Nintendo has shifted the focus of Mario Party to the actual board game itself, but since there is so little strategy is involved, it feels like you are just rolling dice at each other for about an hour and then arbitrarily deciding who wins. Actually, that's basically all you are doing.
Is Mario Party 9 fun? Sure. In fact, its new gameplay formula is probably one of the most refreshing changes to hit the Mario Party franchise to date. Still, it hasn't addressed the main failing of Mario Party titles: the replay value. In the past, the long length and random nature Mario Party games made gamers forget them shortly after their release in favor of more strategic and skill-based party games like Rock Band. Now Mario Party moves quicker, but has even less of a strategic element. This makes the game less frustrating, but no more appealing than any other Mario Party title. After playing through each of the boards twice with a group of friends, I was ready to put this title on my shelf until the next Mario Party release.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: March 12, 2012