We are now more than ten entries into Mario’s partying franchise, and with all these years Nintendo has thrown many ideas through the games to drum up interest. For long time players who have played most of these games the old style gimmicks that have been used will no longer be enough to really bring people back, for a lot of people Nintendo needed to pull a big thing out of the woodwork for Mario Party 10 and I actually feel Nintendo does this with one of its newest modes.
Before we look at one of the newest ideas added in this entry I think we should address the classic Mario Party mode that follows the games namesake. Mario Party 9 provided a change up to the classic Mario Party formula moving the traditional style of play with each player traveling independently around the board to one where players are all tied together in a vehicle. I was not a fan of this when Mario Party 9 released however after playing 10 I actually found this idea to be quite effective.
In Mario Party mode each player takes turn to roll the dice and move the vehicle, this affords them the opportunity to collect mini stars and make your way across the board on the path to fight mini bosses and then continue on the path to defeat the major boss which then ends the board. The winner is then decided by the player with the most mini stars, along the way across the board we also go through the general level of Mario Party randomness with minigames and a whole lot of other events. The general basis of the Mario Party mode is really recycled from Mario Party 9 but that is not a bad thing.
Though there is a point where the game does derive from the previous formula, this I through the Gamepad’s usage with the game. From the start of each board Bowser is locked up on the Gamepad screen with six locks holding him in, each lock represents a number on the dice and should you roll a number not already rolled a lock is opened setting us one step closer to Bowser being freed. Should Bowser be freed the player who sets him free loses half of their mini stars and sets out a whole lot of Bowser spaces which cause some effects that could mix up the game. It isn’t much for Gamepad usage in this mode but it was welcome, it also becomes extremely stressful when Bowser has only one lock keeping him in I regularly panicked on my roll that I would set him free which amused who I was playing with.
However it is the Bowser Party mode that sees the Gamepad get the most use in a fun and highly refreshing way for both the Gamepad and Mario Party 10. Bowser Party works in a similar way to the standard Mario Party to begin with, the players in the car (each using a Wii Remote) roll a dice to move the vehicle across the board, then following that Bowser (played by the Gamepad player) takes a turn rolling dice to try and catch the other players. Bowser Party can easily be considered as a game of cat and mouse with the Wii Remote players being the mouse while Bowser is the cat, should Bowser catch the other players they enter into a Bowser minigame which the Bowser player attempts to defeat the other’s and stop them from reaching the end. Bowser Party makes great use of the Gamepad with each minigame having a different usage for the device while also allowing the Bowser player to be able to do a variety of things not possible otherwise. Though this modes real strength is in its fun and its stress, as your fellow players begin to fall and you end up moving less and less you wind up closer to losing with each minigame potentially being your last. I came down to being the last player quite regularly and without my allies it constantly became quite a thrill while also being quite worrisome. Whether you are playing as the vehicle player or the Bowser player this mode really contains a whole lot of fun.
It is not all greatness for these modes however as there is a problem that annoyed me greatly, Mario Party mode only features five playable boards, and Bowser Party only features three of these. While I enjoyed all the boards I was given with the game they did grow tiresome after a couple of runs on each, this brings down some of my enjoyment with Bowser Party as there was too few boards to play on. To really keep us playing we need more boards, I was satisfied with the ones we had but it still didn’t suffice, I am personally hoping Nintendo adds more in the future as downloadable content to bring a little bit more to the game and continue to keep us happy with Bowser Party.
Mario Party 10 also features a third game mode to play in with Amiibo Party, I wanted to like this mode but I often felt like I was playing a terrible version of the original Mario Party. Amiibo party features boring boards, annoying mechanics and was more annoying than fun. Basically Amiibo party plays out like Mario Party with you going around a small board, trying to get coins in order to buy power stars, however where this mode differs from tradition is in the Amiibo usage. Your characters in this mode are your compatible Amiibo figures which move around the board, however it is the Amiibo themselves that prove to be this modes most frustrating point. Each turn you have to place the correct Amiibo on the gamepad and lift it off in order to roll the dice, then you have to do the same whenever you pick up any tokens. I was annoyed by constantly having to pick them up and drop them and after one round in this game I was already annoyed.
However this was not the worst problem I encountered, while I have stated how much I enjoyed Bowser Party should you use a Bowser Amiibo in Amiibo party this just becomes a bad version of Bowser Party. Each turn players will have to endure Bowser minigames which really turn this into the all about Bowser game again. If you own a Bowser Amiibo I suggest just keeping it for use with Super Smash Brothers rather then trying to use it here. I am sure Nintendo can find better uses for Amiibo in games and honestly they are still a cool idea but they just don’t find their place in Mario Party 10.
I think we have reached a point even with part time Mario Party players where we come to have low expectations of these games and Mario Party 10 does prove the reason for this. Sure it is a game with plenty of fun to be had within the games Mario Party mode and of course Bowser Party is the games saving grace of a feature, but I never felt like there was enough. Of course I should not complain the modes that do work are enjoyable and make this game fun, just play in small bursts to maintain this illusion.