Me, and you, and amiibo too?
Since the days of Nintendo 64, Nintendo has been cranking out games in the Mario Party franchise at quite the steady pace. Set up in the style of a board games, the Mario Party franchise has made quite a name for itself as a rather light-hearted (and friendship-destroying) multiplayer board game which pits players against both one another, as well as the computer, as they scramble around game board after game board and duke it out in mini-games in search of items, stars, and coins all in an attempt to hit that coveted 1st place spot.
It’s only natural that the series would develop and change after being out for so long. The Mario Party franchise built off of the same, well-received formula for quite some time. Once Mario Party 8 came around however, Nintendo switched things up with less-than-stellar results. Mario Party 9 switched things up yet again and, although it was quite different, experienced a bit of relief. Mario Party 10 has been built to function in the same style as 9, but with quite a few tricks up its sleeve.
As with Mario Party 9, MP10 has everyone together on a vehicle together, rather than letting players move separately as they had done in previous games. Players take turns driving the vehicle (which can be customized for different levels) rolling a die and moving along the appropriate number of spaces. Most spaces are labeled with one of many events, including Bowser, Lucky, and Special Dice Block spaces. While most events must be landed on, every board contains certain mandatory (and usually good) events that happen immediately which range from collecting treasure to picking out a path for the entire party.
There are also two mandatory stops containing boss battles. The player currently controlling the vehicle is given a choice between several familiar baddies (which vary depending on the stage) including Petey Pirannah, King Boo, and Cheep Chomp. Boss battles take place as surprisingly lengthy and quite enjoyable mini-games in which players work together through various means to deplete the boss’s HP. All are rewarded at the end, although a higher place means a better prize.
Normal mini-games are a staple in every Mario Party game, and do not fail to return in Mario Party 10. The game boasts around 90 unique mini-games for players to enjoy, and include free-for-all, 2 v 2, and 1 v 3 variants. Rather than forcing a mini-game on the end of each turn, these competitions now only occur if a player parks on a mini-game space. While this does mean fewer mini-games on average, it also means more variation in each game overall; something quite pleasant.
Mario Party 10 has once again done away with stars and coins, once again opting for mini-stars to be the goal. Boss battles, mini-games, and even events on the board all provide players with numerous chances to gain (or sometimes lose) as many of these silver beauties as possible. The mini-star formula works quite well with the still-new board mechanics.
Bowser Party makes its debut as well in Mario Party 10 and can provide up to 5 players a chance at the action. All “normal” players have but one goal: work together to hit the finish line. Bowser, however, has decided that the whole “get to the finish” thing is nonsense and appears on the board and is controlled by either a player or the AI. After each player on Team Mario has rolled, Bowser throws a whopping four dice blocks in hopes of catching up. Got a bad roll? Just roll again. Bowser Jr. Said it was okay, don’t worry about it. When Bowser finally catches up to his victim, a Bowser Mini-Game ensues. Rather than going after mini-stars however, Bowser attempts to reduce the health of his adversaries. That’s right! Every player has health in Bowser Party (that can be recovered along the board). Players cannot “win” against Bowser, only survive. If a player gets knocked out, they’re gone unless another player manages to stumble across some hearts while en transit. Bowser will lose if even one player finishes, but keep in mind that fewer people on Team Mario means fewer dice rolls! Bowser party can be played on one of three maps out of the five total; a bit underwhelming.
Finally, there is amiibo Party; the priciest and possibly most fun mode that Mario Party 10 has to offer. The amiibo Party mode takes place on a small, square, board. Though small, the each of the board’s 4 pieces can be customized using pieces from 10 different boards, meaning a lot of replayability and different events The game functions as a lighter version of the original Mario Party games in which 2 – 4 players traverse the board collecting coins in hopes of buying a star. After each turn, it’s mini-game time. The winner(s) get 10 coins, while the loser(s) walk away empty handed. If Bowser is in play, the games are all Bowser Mini-Games; otherwise they are all standard.
Now, onto the “amiibo” part of amiibo Party. While only one amiibo is required to play while others may use paper cut-outs of characters instead (due to board game data being needed from at least one amiibo), more amiibo generally means more fun. amiibo gain new bases that they may use, and also have the ability to equip game-changing tokens. Tokens can do anything from changing the board to showering the board with stars. If an amiibo encounters a new token and equips it, they then gain the ability to begin the game with it as they like. The main downfall of amiibo Party (aside from shelling out more money than even Wario could hope for) is the fact that it requires everyone to crowd around the Wii U gamepad, which generally results in one person scanning all of the amiibo for everyone; kind of ruins the fun.
Mario Party 10 is a bit of a mixed bag, although a relatively nice mixed bag at that. Unless you’re a fan of the series, or genuinely like board games, you might find this party to be a bit if a bust. I, however, recommend at least stopping by to say hello; you’d be surprised at how many fun shenanigans go down when the Mushroom Kingdom throws down.
Final Verdict: 3.5 / 5
Available on: Wii U (reviewed) ; Publisher: Nintendo; Developer: Nd Cube; Players: 1-4; Released: March 20, 2015; ESRB: E; MSRP: $49.99
This review is based on a copy of Mario Party 10 purchased by Hey Poor Player.