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Mario Party 9 (Wii) Review

Review for Mario Party 9 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

How can a company regurgitate the same formula over many years and hope that it still remains fresh? With football games it is a case of tweaking the style of play and updating rosters, platform adventures add in extra moves and special stages, but a board game will always be a board game, right? Well, Mario Party 9 aims to dispel any fears of staleness creeping in, with ever-changing boards, crazy new challenges for players, and a whole host of goodies to unlock. Does it retain its charm, though?

Mario Party 9 starts with the tale of how Bowser and Bowser Jnr have stolen all the Mini Stars from the Mushroom Kingdom’s night sky and the likes of Wiggler and Lakitu are used by Bowser to prevent the rescue crew from retrieving all the stars. The team changes dependent on the main character chosen by the player -- for instance, selecting Waluigi means that Wario, Princess Daisy and Kamek will be in that particular group. It is then off to the lush greenery of Toad Road where Mini Stars must be reclaimed from Bowser’s minions, with the added incentive of trying to personally grab as many as possible to be crowed the Superstar by the ever-friendly Toads. One of the team will be playing on behalf of Bowser -- in the case of Waluigi’s team it is Kamek -- and if they should win, all stars are transferred to the dark side and the stage needs to be replayed.

To capture the Mini Stars, the team must work its way around the windy pathway, and even up dauntingly high vines that reach up into the clouds, eventually ending up at Bowser Gate where one of King Koopa’s evil allies awaits, as well as overcoming another one guarding stars in a barricaded fort en-route. Which team member moves first is decided by hitting a Dice Block that appears above the characters’ heads and once the order has been set it is time to hit the road, with all four crammed into the one vehicle, moving around the board at the same time. Each character takes it in turn to throw the die, but although everyone moves together, any stars accrued along the way, by passing through them, only get added to the total of the person leading the charge during that move. Landing on a lucky pad transports the current player into an area where extra stars can be obtained, whilst hitting purple clusters of Mini Ztars results in stars being deducted. When red arrows appear during movement around an area, quickly hitting the D-pad will change the route taken, which can help with avoiding pitfalls.

Screenshot for Mario Party 9 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Mario Party 9, as with its eight previous home console editions, the GBA’s Mario Party Advance and Mario Party DS, is all about the range of mini-games available, and there is a massive selection of eighty to choose from during the adventurous route, with the game also taking a leaf out of Wii Party’s playbook by encouraging players to work together at times when heading towards a common goal, yet still striving to out-do each other in the same breath. Boss battles are key to Mario Party 9 as well, this time round, and anyone that felt the previous entries were perhaps limited in nature after a short period of time will be pleased to know that there is extra challenge and fun antics aplenty in this new Wii outing.

Thankfully, playing alongside three computer opponents, although not as entertaining as with friends, proves to be a far better prospect than imagined, mainly because the crew are always kept together, rather than being faced with a situation where the computer shoots off around a world leaving your character behind, and ultimate boredom creeping in. When playing through the mini-games, the controls during the action are usually extremely rudimentary to appeal to all ages. For instance, in the whack-a-mole games, players hold the Wii Remote in a horizontal manner, rather than opting for the usual IR pointer system. This simplicity, though, in no way leads to degradation of fun during levels, rather increasing it as even newcomers can easily jump in without having to memorise complicated button mapping.

Screenshot for Mario Party 9 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

To help make the journey to the mid-level boss and eventual end of stage enemy encounter more intriguing, there are special dice to collect, such as ones that only have 4-5-6 on or ones that go up to 10, and other items to speed up the process, yet some hindrances are to be found along the way, such as purple stars that detract from the captain’s running total, or special events on the board, like lava blocking part of the path when passing over a trigger pad. The addition of boss battles to the standard fare is definitely a great one. Take the fight against Lakitu early on, where the four characters must run around on a small platform, trying to hit randomly appearing blocks at just the right to fire Bullet Bills at the Koopa atop his comfortable cloud. Hit the blocks at the wrong time and spiny critters aplenty hamper your progress, so working together to bring Lakitu down is imperative. However, at the same time there is the ulterior motive of garnering more points than the allies, meaning there is a little extra edge to proceedings, especially if the mid-level fort was reached with you as the captain at the time.

Mario Party 9 is packed to the brim with hilarity, sheer delight, and downright addictive gameplay -- something that, on a personal note, I would not have thought could be said, never having been a fan of the games in the past. From musical chairs-like madness, to playing chicken with dice rolls, potentially losing everything, and even a fantastic Bomberman-esque battle arena where the characters sit in a special vehicle that is motion controlled, trying to chase others around, knocking them out; there is a cornucopia of brilliance to choose from in Mario Party 9, testing your skill, resolve, temperament, and even bravery.

Screenshot for Mario Party 9 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Another very smart addition is how the Party Points collected during Free Play can be used for all manner of goodies in the Museum section. For instance, various constellations can be placed in the night sky, such as Jungle Minor (forms Diddy Kong), Princess Major (makes a crown shape to represent Princess Peach), and many more, with fifty in total to open up, all weighing in at 50 Party Points each, with extra points spent by firing off fireworks whilst viewing the restored constellations.

Looking for other vehicles in which to ride during an adventure? No problem! There are twelve extras, ranging from Starship Bowser to Blooper Boat, all ready and waiting to be unlocked for 200 Points a pop. However, more impressively is how heaps of points can go towards opening up key features, like the Staff Best in Time Attack, Boss Rush, or the Master difficulty level for playing against the computer, and even a special new stage. Nintendo has managed to ensure that not only is the main game itself long enough to warrant plenty of time being whiled away, but there are stacks of extras to entice gamers back for an even longer spell.

Screenshot for Mario Party 9 on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

The amount of panache that has been brought to the table for Mario Party 9 is astounding, putting its back catalogue to shame in nearly all areas. Pure, simple fun and frolicking abound.

Graphics

Whilst not the best example of highly detailed graphics on Wii, the visuals are more than suitable for a simple board game. However, saying that, the locations are bright and colourful, and the characters are indeed faithful 3D representations of their former selves.

Sound

Filled full of familiar Mario tunes, with plenty of wonderfully composed music to help add some extra sheen to proceedings when blasting out of your sound system.

Value

The sheer number of mini-games and extras crammed into this ninth numbered entry into the ever-popular party series is phenomenal, especially when compared to other products in the genre that give gamers far less value for money.

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

Mario Party 9 is a resounding success on so many levels, adding plenty of extra variety to differentiate itself from previous entries, whilst also learning important lessons from the limited-yet-fun Wii Party. Nintendo has delivered a party title that will appeal to veterans and newcomers alike. Let’s get this party started…

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01.04.2012

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Developer

Nd Cube

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Party

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date 2012   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

A Mario Party game scoring a 9! April Fools!! Smilie Smilie Smilie

Best one so far. Smilie

( Edited 11.01.2013 15:47 by Guest )

Shaun (guest) 01.04.2012 15:28#2

Should I get this or Boom Street??

( Edited 11.01.2013 15:47 by Guest )

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Canyarion said:
A Mario Party game scoring a 9! April Fools!! Smilie Smilie Smilie Best one so far. Smilie

Yeah, Mario Party 7 gets a 7, MP8 scores 8 and MP9 gets a 9...I really don't want to give a 10/10 to a party game, though, so let's hope they drop the numbering convention Smilie

So you're a fan of the game then?

Shaun (guest) said:
Should I get this or Boom Street??

I've only played a very small amount of Boom Street, but it certainly seemed quite a different experience, to be honest.

The best person to ask is Cubed3 reader DavyK, who may well comment here if he sees this post. In the meantime, I'd suggest reading his recent review of the game Smilie

( Edited 08.04.2013 01:21 by Guest )

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

The last Mario Party I played was 1. Or maybe 2, I don't remember. I like some mini games but I hate the board game.


I was just waiting for an April Fools joke... but it never came! Smilie

( Edited 18.12.2012 08:58 by Guest )

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Oh Smilie I totally forgot it was 1st April! Smilie Been so wrapped up in N64 Month...

Really shocked me, though - didn't expect such an enjoyable game Smilie Having all character go around the board at the same time makes a HUGE difference!

( Edited 18.12.2012 08:58 by Guest )

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Awe I was looking forward to some silly fake story about Wii U. :p

Glad to see you've been enjoying it, Adam. Haven't written my review for it yet but I imagine it will also be be receiving some well-deserved praise. I just love how streamlined everything now is. That and the boss battles are epic!

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Definitely - the boss battles are a great addition! Clearly absorbing the key staff from Hudson into Nintendo/NdCube helped a lot.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Shaun (guest) said:
Should I get this or Boom Street??

Hard to say - they are two entirely different games. Boom Street is a "hardcore" board game - this is a party game.

Mario Party has always been a guilty pleasure for me - I have all of the console based games except 3 which is hard to get CIB. I've always liked the presentation even with the annoying unskippable portions and drawn out single player experience (though this has improved as the series has moved on despite what the knockers say). Some titles in this series have huge amounts of content and I've always enjoyed checking out the myriad options and bonus games hidden away in the menu structure -especially during the Gamecube era.


This is a great addition to the series - a game can last about 30mins now which is a great deal quicker than the earlier entries in the series. The single player experience is now streamlined quite well too and is nowhere near as annoying.

The boss fights are a nice addition(I believe this idea has been adapted from Pacman Party which also has this feature).

With Boom street having an online option I thought that maybe Mario Party would have got it too - bit of a shame it isn't there but Mario Party has always been about same room multi-player.





( Edited 02.04.2012 12:11 by davyK )

I really didn't like it. There's no real tactical element, a dearth of minigames (most of which lack excitement) and the whole thing seems to be an irksome precession towards the final boss.

In short: I wasn't impressed. Went back to Mario Party 6 and enjoyed it immensely.

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

The loss of circuits, the removal of the 20-coins-for-a-star mechanic and the glueing together of the players speeds up the game but inevitably lowers the scope for tactics. Its a different type of game now...there's no reason why both modes of play couldn't live together in Mario Party 10.....



( Edited 02.04.2012 15:44 by davyK )

DWN (guest) 02.04.2012 18:30#12

Such a boring game. You guys gave a it a 9?! Honestly, a 9?!!! They took out all the best bits in favour of a family friendly game with Mario slapped on it. Boring Smilie I am so disappointing in this one.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Interesting opinions here. So basically it seems fans of the older games really don't like the new style...and yet for me, who really didn't like the old ones, this new game appeals a LOT more.

Could be part of the reason this is the biggest selling MP in the UK so far, to be honest - wider appeal.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Adam Riley said:
Could be part of the reason this is the biggest selling MP in the UK so far, to be honest - wider appeal.

Wow, is that true? I guess given the popularity of the Wii and MP's general family party gameplay, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise, but that is impressive.

Cubed3 Staff :: Senior Editor
Follow me on: Twitter | YouTube | Backloggery

I don't think Mario Party is the kind of game where people check reviews before buying.
It's probably selling well because all the sale clarks are telling parents "Look, it's the newest Mario!". I've seen that happen here.
Also, I don't think Mario Party has ever been released on a console with such a big user base as the Wii has now.

AdamC3 (guest) 05.04.2012 17:27#16

Mario Party DS begs to differ Smilie Unless, by 'console' you're excluding portables Smilie

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