|System: Wii U|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||ESRB|
by Matt Walker
I must confess, Mario Party and I have a long history together. We have been the best of friends and the worst of enemies. I have missed Mario Party - so much that I didn’t believe it was at my door, even while I held it in my hand. After the initial “I can’t believe it,” the next step was to gather people that I could either stand not being friends with ever again, or those that would get a deep satisfying joy out of punishing each other digitally. So naturally, I waited for my kids to get home. We played so long, the next day oddly they were too sick to go to school, and just like that my kids had the first game they “called in” to play. It was an awesome time. Mario Party was back and I couldn’t have been happier, and that was before I even played as Bowser!
It is important to say that this is Mario Party. If you’ve ever played one, you know what to expect. You and three other friends gallivant around a game board and play mini-games in hopes of being the ultimate victor. I’ve often described Mario Party the digital Monopoly. It’s the only equivalent of people having tremendous fun while also enjoying the fact they are screwing other players over constantly. This formula still holds true, especially in the Classic mode of the game.
With roughly 70 mini-games to play through, players are able to enjoy that aspect of what has made Mario Party a long-standing franchise. Some of the mini-games are a little recycled, but in my opinion having that familiarity helps the game's potential staying power. If you’ve stayed with the series throughout you might have that extra, and sometimes needed, advantage when a game you recognize shows up. Just hope it’s not the game you sucked at before.
I know a lot of people have had issue with some of the ways mini-games were decided before, so rest assured that this Mario Party rewards skill. There are some instances on the board in which some questionable things can happen, but since you also have that same capability of “using the system,” it balances out. In the end, you can easily tell who will be the victor before the mini-game is over. For example, there’s a mini-game that is simply you moving from one platform to another, but the extra effort you put into stunning your opponents will help you ensure you are the winner.
There’s also a new mode, which incorporates the Amiibos. You know, those things you bought because they were cool statues, not because you planned on actually playing anything with them. You and three other friends can bring your Amiibos in a special play mode for them. The great thing here is that you can collect abilities throughout the game which will save to the Amiibo for you to use either during the current game you are playing, or surprising someone the next time you play. It’s a dirty, dirty tactic but well worth it for the surprise on other people’s faces when you reveal you can now steal their stuff with your plastic Peach.
However, the best mode, the mode I spent the most time with, is Bowser Party. Yeah, you get to take the Wii U gamepad and it’s you versus up to four other players. I cannot express how much fun this mode was. The mini-games in this mode are very Bowser-centric for the player as Bowser. You (literally) breathing fireballs at the other players, spinning them around in a giant hamster wheel (with electrified points), and the sickest version of quasi-Bingo I have seen. Your granny ain’t going to like this one.
Fortunately the fun doesn’t stop just in the mini-games for Bowser’s Party. On the actual board there are advantages to being the big bad. For example, Bowser wants to win so he’s going to do everything he can to stop the others, and one of the ways is through graffiti. Certain spots on the game board will have the “good guys” get an opportunity to go to a spot on the board which will reward them with extra hearts, special dice blocks, or punishing side effects. It’s your job to take the stylus and draw on the GamePad to distract and ultimately get the other players to chose wrong. Depending on the audience you are playing with, this could very easily become the best part of Mario Party 10. I say we get a Nintendo-inspired Pictionary title in the works. Make it so, Nintendo.