Not the life of the party.
There are ten Mario Party games. Let that sink in. That is also only counting the numbered ones. Mario’s proverbial bash has been burning the midnight oil since the N64 days, with a decline in quality with each iteration. Now the Wii U finally gets in on the action, and proves once more that the series is creatively bankrupt. I miss the glory days when twirling my analog stick to row a boat was fun, alas those memories are now faded. Let us dive into another bash of less-than-epic proportions.
Let’s start with the basic downfall. Mario Party 10 delivers the same ideas as previous entries, but with most of the complexities that made them interesting. Dice rolls now move all the players at once, instead of individually. Likely to tone down the time it takes to play a game, but also removing the random chance of spaces to land on. This takes away the random chances that existed in older games. I personally loved seeing the person with the least stars taking everyone else’s at the last minute, it was the ultimate in salty comebacks.
Platforms: Wii U
Price I’d Pay: $19.99
Multiplayer: Up to 5 players with Wii remotes and Gamepad
So let’s discuss what we’re all here to know about, the mini games. Well when I got to play them, they are a blast. Taking platforming into the equation there are so many different diversions that work fantastically with four players. Skill plays a big role here, and visually they are stunning. The same love and care the Wii U can produce from such titles as Captain Toad and of course Super Mario 3D World shines through. Sadly playing mini games has become sort of a side piece for Mario Party 10’s curriculum.
Mini games only happen when players land on those spaces, which mean it is entirely possible to go an entire game of Mario Party 10 without playing one. That is just ridiculous. Ask anyone what their favorite memories of this series are, and mini games are sure to be near the top. Why limit the best part of the experience? It is just one of several mind-bending decisions that Nintendo has made for this franchise since its inception.
Sadly my disappointment doesn’t end there.
When I first booted up the game I wanted to let my son get his first taste of Mario Party. This is a Wii U game, so I assumed we could play with the Gamepad and my Pro Controller. Not so much. The game requires every player have a Wii remote to play the core game. At least it doesn’t require Wii Remote Plus, but alas all the batteries in our Wii remotes were dead, so he simply went back to playing Mario Kart 8.
One of the shining additions for the Wii U version though does involve the Gamepad, and that is Bowser Party Mode. This chase game type has up to four players fleeing from the classic antagonist as he rolls dice to try and catch up. Whoever is playing Bowser uses the Gamepad, and mini games are of the 1v4 variety. The games start off favored in the party’s direction, but as the game goes on, and Bowser gets more and angrier, they start to tilt in his direction.
This mode is a blast with friends, and ended up being the highlight of the entire package.
As with almost all new Nintendo titles, MP10 has some amiibo support for those otherwise useless decorations. The game even has a special set of the figures, albeit repeat characters, for it. This mode is requires players to tap their amiibos on the Gamepad to roll the dice and other functions. There is a lot of tapping, but it actually winds up being an old-school MP type of game. Players all move individually and there are more mini games to play. Sadly the idea of having to have four figures, four Wii Remotes, and the space to let everyone access to the Gamepad is not an ideal setup.
Hold on, we are almost out of the woods.
Mario Party 10 strips so much of what I loved about past games and fills those voids with hoops to jump through to get that same satisfaction. I really want a classic entry in the series that started on the N64. Bring back insane 50-turn options that take hours and only get better as the alcohol gets less plentiful. Let me enjoy the stupid mini games they created without having to play a mode by tapping toys. I am not sure if the MP franchise is an internal joke at Nintendo, but it feels like they have been trying to slowly destroy my memories of it for almost two decades.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.