"To Party or Not to Party?"
For those of you who haven't played much Mario Party since the N64, let me fill you in with some information. The first Mario Party was released in 1998, and then another one came out the following year and so on, skipping only 2001 and 2006, until we had to wait five years to see Mario Party 9. Unfortunately, it seems like the longer we wait for a game, the less impressed I am by it. After MP7 in 2005, we waited until 2007 for MP8, which was my least favorite of the series. That's why I was hoping Mario Party 9 would change things around, but perhaps not the way it did.
Mario Party 9 starts out as all the other MP games do. Fun, bright colors and an adorable host working as your guide. The first world I tried out in the Party Mode (board game) was Boo's Horror Castle. I immediately noticed the first big difference when I wasn't able to choose how many turns I wanted to play. Not cool! I always had so much fun setting it on the seemingly never-ending 50 turns, saving the game and then playing again in a few hours, saving the game and then playing again in a few days, and so on. If me and my pals only had a few minutes to spare, we'd squeeze in a quick turn or two. Not in MP9. You can't even save the game! Each game takes between thirty minutes to an hour. I miss being able to explore the board on my own and choose where I wanted to go.
The vehicle containing all four players navigates through the board on a single course leading straight to Bowser's Castle. No more paying Thwomp to move out of your way or constantly running to Item Shops to get a mini mushroom just to make it through a mini tube and have a shot at Chance Time. No more getting a special item to change the direction of the star or spending all your coins on a magic lamp to make a genie take you to the star or buying Boo Bells to sabotage opponents... and so on. Mario Party 9 let me down because a player is unable to make many decisions. It's pretty much mapped out for the players already. Players don't get to choose, well, basically anything. I personally enjoyed saving up all my coins just to visit Boo and steal stars from other players or land a chance to double my coins with Shy Guy. There are no coins in MP9!
If you view the game completely separate from other Mario Party games and don't compare it at all, the game isn't all that bad. However, when placed side by side with the other MP games, this one falls flat on its face. In Mario Party 9's defense, I will say the mini-games are pretty awesome. They are unique and challenging, and they don't all end in under twenty seconds. I don't mean to sound like I completely hate the game because that isn't the case. I still had fun competing with friends to see who would end with the most mini stars and win the most mini-games.
The aspect of Mario Party 9 that saves the game (other than the really fun mini-game competitions) is found under Main Menu and it's called Extras. Here, you can play special versions of games available only in that mode. These include Castle Clearout, Shell Soccer, Goomba Bowling, and Perspective Mode. I played these games alone for hours! Nice save. These traditional games with a twist add a much needed boost to the game.
All in all, although the Party Mode in Mario Party 9 won't be anyone's favorite, the mini-games and Extras will keep you from sending the game back the way it came, which is something I probably couldn't do anyway, as I'm a sucker for the Mario Party titles (I own them all!). If you're not too worried about the Party Mode's shortcomings, give this one a shot. I'm sure others will enjoy that mode more than I did, and you can't go wrong with the mini-games. Fully equipped with our favorite characters and witty traps, the fun themed boards and games force players to show off a little bit of skill and a lot of luck. If you're new to the MP games, you will probably love this one. However, if you've been crashing this party since 1998, you may be slightly disappointed. But like I said, if all else fails... play the mini-games!
GameDynamo's Score for Mario Party 9 (Wii)
Gamer of all systems back to Original NES. Was in a Nintendo Wii Commercial and a Nintendo Wii U Commercial! Actor, snowboarder, ghost hunter...
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