Nintendo’s latest virtual board game offering.
I imagine a Mario party as having Mario, Luigi, Toad and Peach, along with perhaps an assortment of other plumbing buddies (he must have plumber friends, right?), wearing party hats and having fun. In the background, possibly peering through a window with a tear in his eye, is Bowser. Obviously his invitation got lost in the post. With Mario Party 10 for the Wii U, Bowser appears to have had enough and brings his very own mode to the virtual board game, attempting revenge on Mario and friends. But Bowser is not the only one to bring their own mode to the new game, Amiibo also want part of the action.
The Mario Party games have been around for a while now, and what started as a fairly standard board game interspersed with highly enjoyable mini-games, has evolved, becoming more streamlined as the game became ever more good to look at. With the first outing on the Wii U, we have a glorious coat of HD making Mario Party 10 the best looking virtual board game so far. To streamline the board game experience, which traditionally left players with little to do whilst other players took their turns, all of the players move together in the basic Mario Party mode, and games have a time limit, preventing the sprawling games which were often abandoned before the conclusion in the past.
Mario Party mode will see up to four players moving around the board together, each taking turns to roll the dice and move around some incredibly imaginative and elaborate boards. Along the way, and through playing some of the brilliant mini-games that pop up depending on which space the player lands on, players will collect mini stars, the aim of the game. A certain amount of strategy can be employed by the players, as different dice can be rolled with a different range of outcomes in an attempt to try and force landing on a favourable space.
The mini-games, which don’t come up often enough in the average game, are wildly varied. There are more than 70 games to enjoy, and they all have that level of Nintendo fun that you would expect from a mini-game collection. Playing these mini-games with friends or family strike me as the purest Nintendo experience – little bite-size chunks of fun that can be enjoyed by pretty much anyone, of any age, whether they happen to be a gamer or not. they embody family friendly fun and generally raise a smile on the faces of everyone involved.
Of course, some mini-games are more enjoyable than others. The majority of these games offer free-for-all competition, with the occasional game being two-on-two or having three players face of against a single player. Given the frequency of the mini-games in any given game of Mario Party, and the huge number of mini-games included in the package, repetition is something that players will not have to worry about for a fair while, and the excitement of something new stays around for ages.
There is yet more excitement to be had in Bowser’s very own mode. In Mario Party 10, Bowser Party will set a fifth player as the iconic Mario bad guy and set them to chase down the other four players using the GamePad. He moves independently of the group and, upon catching them, can launch into some incredibly fun mini-games in which the Bowser players makes use of the GamePad to generally cause trouble for the others. There are 10 of these Bowser-based games to play, and they are all great fun.
The final mode in Mario Party 10 is one that is dependent on owning at least one of the compatible Amiibo figures, making it something more like additional DLC. To enjoy Amiibo mode, someone will need to own either Bowser, Donkey Kong, Luigi, Mario, Peach, Rosalina, Toad, Wario or Yoshi in Amiibo form, which is unfortunate for anyone who has chosen to purchase any of the other Amiibo available. Still, if you have one of the compatible Amiibo, then you can access Amiibo Mode, and each of the different characters unlocks their own specific board.
Amiibo Mode is a much more traditional version of the Mario Party game, and each board is very basic,divided into four parts which can each have a different theme applied as the player wishes. Players will then tap their Amiibo on the GamePad to make them move around the board, or to make them roll the dice. If you happen to have left your Amiibo at home for this particular game session, then the game will provide you with a cardboard cut-out to play as instead, which is a nice idea.
The entire Mario Party 10 package is rounded out with the usual collectibles and unlockables, rewarding players for their continued use. There are also a couple of additional bonus games which are nice little time-waters, and players can jump in to enjoy the mini-games without any of the board game shenanigans if they wish.
The core Mario Party Mode in Mario Party 10 varies little from the previous entry in the series. However, both Bowser Party Mode and the possibility of Amiibo Mode change things up a little in this long running series. The mini-games are great fun and the game really does look lovely. It may not be one of Nintendo’s premium game series, but Mario Party has always been about casual family game night, and Mario Party 10 succeeds admirably. If you have enjoyed any of the previous Mario Party games, own a Wii U and like the idea of getting friends and family together for some board game fun, Mario Party 10 is an excellent addition to your library.