Mario Party 9 Review

Title: Mario Party 9



Genre: Party/Board/Strategy

System: Nintendo Wii

Well, It’s that time again when Nintendo brings out another Mario Party game. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Mario Party 9 brings the tried and true formula of traversing around game boards collecting the most coins, or in this case “Mini-Stars” to win the game and become the Superstar. Strap in, it’s going to be a fun ride but don’t come crying to me when Bowser steals half of your stars and you fall to last place on the last turn of the course. Trust me, it’s going to happen and it will cost you a win from time to time.

Mario Party 9 has decided to change things up a little bit and its about time. It only took several other Mario Party games for Nintendo to realize that the formula was stale and needed a tune-up. First major change players will notice is that all four players( if playing with four people) share the mode of transportation but each one while driving is the “captain.” The captain runs the show while they are the captain and when the game gets to a captain event, whoever is the captain is in charge and decides the turn order or where each player will go on the board. Traveling this way gives the game a more “I’m going to stab you in the back” feeling to each turn. What I mean by that is while playing through the boards, it seems like the game wants turmoil between the party-goers. One level might have you trying to get someone burned by lava and in another level you might try to use your items to strategically get your partner bitten by a shark. It’s all about trying to collect the most Mini-stars to win the game.

Coins are out the door in this installment of Mario Party. Players are now trying to collect the most “Mini-Stars” to become the Super Star. You can collect those stars in several ways. You can play mini-games throughout the game board when you land on a mini-game space. You can get a free mini-game to play after you get your hands on a dice block or you can play a Bowser mini-game that could call for you to be the first one to lose the mini-game and get the stars that way. You could also find them along the game-board but at the same time, you can find Mini-Ztars, which lower your star total. You want to stay away from those and try to get other players to collect them before you do.  Many a Wiimote might be getting thrown through a wall or TV if other people have the same bad luck I did through some of the levels.

Mario Party 9 takes a page from the Super Mario 3D Land playbook by bringing back old Mario elements and using them again. Music and Boss battles are where these is seen the most. The Boss battles have some of the older Mario enemies re-enlisting in the Koopa Troop. Lakitu, Spike, King Bob-omb and others all come back to fight Mario and company. One of the major problems with the boss battles is that they are very luck oriented or point at the screen oriented. They aren’t games that have you play a mini-game. They are games that have you just roll the dice or point at something rather than achieve something. I would have liked to see more thought go into the Boss battles so they could be more than just pointing and clicking or as in the Bowser and Bowser Jr. boss battles, just rolling the  dice. Come on Nintendo, you’re better than that! As far as everyone knows about me by now, I’m a sucker for good video game music and love old-school video game music. Mario Party 9 does a great job with the music. It adds some old-school music similar to Bowser battle music from Mario 64 to Bowser’s music this time around. That type of homage is something I like to see. It shows me they did their homework and wanted to give the fans something to notice. The toad-houses are a nice touch as well. The game board gives the game that “Mario 3” feel to it by having a fortress in the middle of the level and a boss at the end of the level, similar to a castle at the end of the stage. The game has several unlockables as well as several cars to unlock, and a time-trial type game to beat a certain number of mini-games. Time trials always add something to a game and the ability to unlock the staff times is just another goal to work for. Mario Party 9 is a good change of pace for the franchise but could it have been better?

Now with every good game, there are good points as well as bad points. Mario Party 9 is no exception. First off, I like the Boss battles but I feel the mini-games that the players play just aren’t what they needed to be. Most of them are too “point and click” for my taste. Also you find yourself losing all your stars way too often and it seems like you have just as much a chance at losing the game in first place as you do in last place. The variations of games was much different in previous Mario Party games than what is was in Mario Party 9. Another major issue was the lack of online play. I understand the idea of getting everyone  in the same room but in this day and age, the game needs online functions and at least have the option to play online with your friends. At least give people the option to let two people play at home and two other people to play in another home. It’s for these reasons that I’m giving Mario Party 9 for the Wii a 8.0/10, a game that has its moments but could have been better.

My Conclusions

Mario Party 9 for the Wii is a good change of pace for the Party game franchise. Given the fact that it adds many good things to the series is reason enough to overlook some of the bad points. Goomba Bowling in my opinion is reason enough to get some friends over and play the hell out of it. However, the mini-games are too similar some of the time and being in first doesn’t really mean much, in the bigger scheme of things. Music is a nice touch as well as the old-school enemies making a return trip to the Koopa Troop. Mario Party 9 is a good first step in modifying the series and should make a good transition into Mario Party 10 and you all know it’s coming sooner rather than later.

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