Real Talk By: Ms. Throwback
I may be one of the few souls left in the world that look forward to a new Mario Party game when it hits the shelves. For years not only have I been a fan of Mario Party but the game in my eyes progressed tremendously well considering it could’ve just been a rehashed version of itself with new boards and characters. Some of you out there might think that is just the case, but then, maybe some of you haven’t religiously played every Mario Party game like I have. If that was the case you would know all was well and good with the party until 8 came along. Even for all the faults 8 had it had the Wii controllers going for it and they were used well. It got bonus points with me for that. So what can we say for Mario Party 9? They must be experts by now right? Before I answer that question maybe we should delve into who “they” actually are.
Originally “they” were Hudson Soft, the developers of Mario Party 1-8. This time, however, for the 9th installment Nintendo decided to use their subsidiary Nd Cube. This might be a significant point for how the game turned out but in all reality it shouldn’t matter much, as the Hudson Soft president and much of the original Mario Party team, have joined the Nd Cube company, so essentially, “they”, is the same team they’ve always been. So the answer is yes, they should be experts by now. Lets find out how they did.
Upon first startup of the game, a significant change in gameplay is noted. In other versions of the game players are set on the board individually and roll a die during their turn, moving that number of spaces along the board to be the first to collect the most coins and stars. At the end of everyone’s set of turns a mini game is played at random and the sequence repeats. Mario Party 9 throws all that out the window. In this installment each player still rolls their own die but all players are on a vehicle and they all move with the roll of every persons dice roll. The person rolling the dice during a turn is called the captain of the vehicle. Essentially if the computer rolls a 6 I move 6 places, whether I like it or not, and vice versa. On top of that a mini game is only played when the vehicle lands on certain special spots on the board instead of at the end of all the players turns.
I’m trying not to turn this into a rant but, this is the absolute worst possible idea that the Mario Party team has ever come up with. What in the world were they thinking? Yes, we all know there has always been a chance element to the Mario Party games, especially when it comes to the game board. For some people this is the thing they focus on for the excuse about why they don’t play it. I know however that Mario Party, no matter how simple it may look from the outside, is a game of strategy. To beat the game you have to plan your moves, will you go one direction and try to get the star even though someone is two spaces away, or will you head another and hope it lands right in front of you. Will you use your special dice to make sure you outwit the competition, or will you stop off and use your coins at various venues to make sure they wont have enough coins to pay for their star. These things are not chance and like any regular board game the strategy of the player is absolutely significant to the outcome of the game. That being said, all of that strategy hinges on the players not being bound together. By putting all the players in a single vehicle and moving them simultaneously you have taken out the strategic element and made it strictly a chance event. If I want to hurt the other players in the vehicle, I have to in some way create a negative element for myself. If I am captain and I decide I want to land on a spot that takes away other players mini-stars (that’s right they got rid of coins which we will get to later.) then most likely the group is punished for the act, including me. very few times during the game can I take away mini-stars from another player while gaining stars for myself, one of those few times being a battle mini-game which brings me to my next point.
Since you have to land on certain spots to play mini games instead of them happening after everyone has rolled their turn it is possible to play an entire session without ever playing a mini-game at all. Lets go over that in more detail. In other Mario Party games you could beat the entire game just simply by being good at the mini-games, I challenged anyone to a Mario Party match in my days working at the gaming store just to prove to them it wasn’t just a game of chance, knowing that my skill in the mini-games had a 95% chance of letting me win the session. I knew this because I played a mini-game after each round and then some depending on which spots players landed on. Now with Mario Party 9, I can go an entire board session without a single mini-game! Say what? seriously? this is so enraging and unacceptable that I don’t know what else to say about it. The likelihood isn’t that I would go a whole board session without playing a mini-game, especially with computer characters designed to roll right into the mini-game spots, but the mini-games are so significantly few that almost the entire point of the game relies on the board, which I have already pointed out, has no strategy what-so-ever thanks to the characters being clumped into one unit.
Tell me why else I should buy this game Ms. Throwback, it sounds like game of the year material well let me give you even more reasons. They took away the stars and the coins. For those of you not familiar with the Mario Party series beating the game consisted of getting first the most stars, and secondly the most coins. coins were used to buy stars and so they were an essential part of the game. you could win coins by landing on various types of spots on the board, and beating the mini-games as before mentioned. Stars were a bit harder to get as you had to pass them on the board and each time a player bought a star it would, not only cost them 20 coins but also change places on the board, essentially changing the strategy of all the players on that board. Once in a while players would also be able to throw a curve ball by stealing stars or coins from another player. Forget all that this is Mario Party 9 innovation is key! That innovation being throw out two of the most important elements of the game and put in collecting mini-stars. Mini-stars are placed all over the board at random places and what is the strategy to obtaining them? pass them on the board. nothing else, no mini-game, no paying coins, no stealing from other players, just simply roll the right number at random.
Part of the fun of past Mario Party games included collecting candies that would let you roll certain types of die, switch places on the board with another player, damage another player in some way, or simply move closer to a prefered destination. It comes as no surprise that since you are stuck on a vehicle with other players that most of those options aren’t available in this game, except for certain die which let you roll either lower or higher numbers. rolling lower numbers means that in the next three turns while the other players roll the likelihood of you running into the mini-stars is lower. rolling a high number means you will run into the mini-stars and most likely not run into the next set on the board. since there is no element to getting mini-stars except for simply running into them as you pass them on the board low and high rolling dice are somewhat useless except for avoiding spaces you don’t want to hit.
board setup has always been another fun element in the Mario Party series. Classically boards were set up in a way that players could infinitely go around them and they could choose how many turns they wanted to play up to 100 turns. This made it possible to play a ridiculous three-hour game which was an amazing feat. Even if you choose to play a mere 20 turns it could turn into an insane Party-fest that you never thought could end and no matter what the turn out was it seemed like a huge accomplishment to try. Mario Party 9 once again throws that to the wind in favor of a more point A to point B approach. Players travel from beginning to end never being able to turn around on the board which makes sense considering there aren’t any coins or stars to turn around on the board for. What this means is it takes away the option for the party feel that the game was named for. This is again thanks mostly to the fact that everyone is moving in tandem so there is no need for such a large board.
In closing this is absolutely the worst Mario party of all time. The changes they made to the game absolutely ruined it. Not only did they ruin it but the changes took the game 10 steps backwards by proving the world right, Mario Party 9 is just a game of chance and the Party is over. I hope for the sake of the series that this is not the last game, if so it is a sad ending to a game that has been so much fun for so many years. Even if you disagree that Mario Party has been a ground breaking game, you at least have to agree that you have had fun with the series at some point during its 14 years of existence. It might not be your first choice most of the time but there is no doubt that when you get a group of people together for a good game of Mario Party, whether you are a beginner or a hardcore gamer, it is a ton of fun. Unfortunately this Mario Party doesn’t come anywhere close to that standard and it is an unacceptable disappointment by Nintendo.
Mario Party 9 Gets
Out of Five
+Excellent Visuals and Vibrant Colors, The game works when you put it in the system without glitches
-All characters are bound together in tandem restricting almost every other aspect of the game, Stars and coins are not a part of the game anymore, there is no strategy to the board atmosphere, there are very few mini games and they do not make significant use of the Wii remote, The special candies are a thing of the past, Board design restricts the players
What can we do about a game this bad? Pick up Mario Party 6 and experience the real deal.