Mario Party 10 – Review
Rating – G
Oh, Mario Party, how I love thee. Despite being overtly responsible for flung controllers, broken joysticks and many a loud profanity, the Mario Party series is one that continues to appeal to me, and Mario Party 10 is no different. It’s the same Mario Party experience with a touch more variety. And frankly, that’s all the series needs.
First of all, I’m still in love with how Nintendo’s first party games look on Wii U. Granted, the system lacks the horsepower of the other major consoles on the market, however Mario and his mates look better than ever. This is reflected again in Mario Party 10; it’s colourful, it’s bright and it’s fantastic.
The same can be said for the mini games themselves. They are hugely varied and fairly easy to pick up and play, which makes the game super accessible for younger players, or for those nights when you’ve got a few non-gamer friends over. All the mini games can be played separate from the Party modes themselves as well. Despite this great variety, I still feel like there is room to add more mini games, new boards and other DLC in the future.
The usual suspects make an appearance, with all but two characters being locked from the outset. As with previous games, content is unlocked over the course of natural play by earning Mario Points for completing games. These points can be spent on the aforementioned characters, a Master AI difficulty level and an assortment of things that add no real gameplay value – unless of course you live to unlock all the things like extra vehicles. I guess at least they give you something to spend your hard earned points on.
“So, there’s plenty of fat to chew on, but what about the meat on the bones?” I hear you ask. Well, wonder no longer, my friends!
There are three main game modes to choose from, each providing its own unique rule set and approach. Mario Party mode returns in similar fashion to previous outings. Players again traverse the board together, a change that was first introduced in Mario Party Advance and then to the console version in Mario Party 9. There are 5 boards to choose from for this mode, each with its own theme, bonuses and traps, as well as free play modes to try out any relevant mini games you like.
As well as Mario Party, there is the new Amiibo Party, which activates when you tap any compatible Amiibo on your game pad. It’s essentially a more traditional Mario Party in which four players move across the boards separately, collecting coins which are used to buy Stars. There is a mini game after each round of dice rolls, and the player with the most stars at the end, wins. It’s great fun and a good change from the standard Mario Party experience.
Despite this, the real magic in Mario Party 10 is in it’s newest mode, Bowser Party. Arguably the most unique game type, this five player mode allows up to four people to team up to take on Bowser, whom is also playable, in a race from one end of the board to the other. The goal is simple: Mario needs to get to the star at the end of the board, Bowser needs to stop them.
Where it differs from the other modes is the introduction of team play. Every Team Mario player’s dice roll moves the team across the board. Once all four have rolled, Bowser takes his turn and rolls four die collectively. If he manages to catch the group it triggers a mini game which, if Bowser is successful, can potentially knock players ‘out’ of the game. this is bad news for Team Mario, though it’s possible to revive downed teammates by landing on ‘heart’ squares spaced along the game board. Hearts act as health points effectively, with each player on Team Mario starting with six. Once they hit zero, they are knocked out and the team loses their dice roll, making it easier for Bowser to catchup and snatch the game away.
As with all Mario Party game modes, the tension rises as each team nears the end of the board, and it can easily swing in either direction, in typical Mario Party fashion. No matter how close to victory you are, you’re only one Bowser tile away from throwing it all in the bin and losing everything. This was a frustration with the older titles, however it feels a bit more balanced this time around, with chance rolls falling in your direction just as often as they go against you.
When it comes to getting the most out of a Mario Party game, you need friends to play with. Sure, you COULD play it on your own, and still have a good time, as long as you don’t mind sitting through three lots of AI dice rolls per turn. It can get tiresome pretty fast, although they make up for it by being more competent and challenging on the whole on both the boards and in mini games.
The real joy in Mario Party 10 lies in the laughs and tears you share with your friends and family on the couch, as you run the mini game gauntlet together. And you can be sure, there will be no shortage of either. Even the hardest of the hardcore will have fun with Mario Party 10.
James Swinbanks is a Games Critic currently writing for GameSpot, although you’ll still occasionally see him popping up on Player 2, because frankly, he loves the smell of the place.