Mario Party 10 (Wii U) Review

By Jorge Ba-oh 27.03.2015 2

Review for Mario Party 10 on Wii U

Many Nintendo titles over the years have established themselves as long-term franchises; particularly those with the iconic dungaree-wearing plumber attached. Only a handful, though, have truly become a household name. Joining the ranks of the likes of Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart has to be the persevering Mario Party series. Up to the 10th mainline entry now, Cubed3 goes into party mode to see if this is a must-have Wii U experience.

Originally coming together as an original concept back in 1998 with Mario Party on the Nintendo 64, the game had four players roaming around trap-filled game boards, playing mini-games to earn coins, and exchanging their loot for golden stars in a bid to be the best.

Since then, the core ideas and themes have remained constant - characters within the Mario franchise battling for digital supremacy and eternal bragging rights. Nintendo and previous developer Hudson have tinkered with the mechanics in numerous ways over the years, introducing a key new gimmick or rule-set per iteration.

With Mario Party 10 being the third game in the series since the keys were handed over to Nintendo subsidiary ND Cube (which includes a handful of ex-Hudson staffers), the core ideas are still firmly rooted in place - four players, a heap of new mini-games and the potential for the living room to become engulfed by heated competition. The game is in play, dice are rolling, and it's time for another dose of Mario Party.

The game is chopped up into three distinct modes: "Mario Party," "Bowser Party," and "amiibo Party." The first is the standard Mario Party fare, but follows the schema outlined in Mario Party 9, rather than the first eight or so home-console titles. amiibo Party, however, falls more in line with what long-term fans may well be used to - but more on that later.

Screenshot for Mario Party 10 on Wii U

In the Mario Party mode, four characters are picked from the usual chirpy roster, including computer-controlled folk, and one of five game boards chosen; from a vivid funfair, "Mushroom Park", to the contrasting "Haunted Trail" - even Bowser's regal residence makes an appearance as "Chaos Castle." Each of these takes a fairly linear route from A to B, with all four characters plonked in a single vehicle - á la Mario Party 9 - taking it in turns to pilot the pod to an eventual boss fight. Unlike the games prior to Mario Party 9, there's no bartering for stars in exchange for coins - it's simply collect as many mini-stars as possible, through mini-games and events, to win the match.

Going in having played all of the earlier Mario Party titles, there will be some concern that the once ideal setup has been streamlined, or more so, simplified into a barebones shell of what the franchise used to be. Having had a fair few sessions, though, both alone and with fellow players, the main mode in Mario Party 10 is just different to its namesake, and facing the game with as much openness as possible, there is some merit to the new mould ND Cube has tried to weave the series into. Play-times are quicker, there's more engagement through interactive boss battles and board events than in past titles - it could be seen as the more contemporary flavour for Mario Party, where everyone is more strapped for time than ever.

On the flipside, however, the Mario Party mode itself does become a touch repetitive when playing through the limited number of game boards a fair few times, mainly due to the A to B approach, rather than a free-roaming match. Players are always clumped together in their rattling pod, and whilst tactics can still be had, the lack of different item modifiers and individual routes does make for a less dynamic experience, overall.

Screenshot for Mario Party 10 on Wii U

Where most of the excitement comes from this time round is in the game's secondary modes, with "Bowser's Party" being the perfect formula for the inner sadist. Four players, including computer-controlled characters, work through a selection of Mario Party boards in their vehicle, as usual. What's the twist, then? Well, the often neglected Bowser wants to play, but to his rules. Controlled by the computer or a fifth player on the GamePad, the devious antagonist has his own set of slightly-biased mini-games and also follows players from behind, holding four dice (although often more). This shake up to the plodding merrily along setup of the Mario Party mode is a much welcomed approach, giving a neat on-edge component to proceedings. Playing on either side - as Bowser or one of the victims players, has its benefits. The mini-games in this mode have Bowser unleashing a swarm of fireballs, players climbing up a tower, avoiding being pummelled by a hammer and even dodging homing, yes, homing, Bullet Bill bombs.

As for the remainder of the mini-game selection, there's a healthy set of standard favourites - trying to stay alive whilst dodging moving Bomps, hitting golf balls, jumping on (or into) fish, and evading a swarm of bees. The more unusual additions include placing enemies on a roulette table, a football session where players roll about on a giant ball, plus an infuriating block-stacking game. The majority this time round do involve a fair bit of skill, rather than luck, which does keep the action focused and rewarding, rather than clutching at straws - literally.

The final of the main modes comes with amiibo support and a more classic flavour of play. Boards are circular in nature, and it's back to basics, with stars being bought in exchange for coins and mini-games after each turn. With the more familiar ground comes a neat twist: the board is segmented into four parts, each unique and themed like each of the in-play amiibo - Mario has a slot roulette, Princess Peach blooms a coin flower, and so on.

Screenshot for Mario Party 10 on Wii U

With the coins and dice items are stamps that can be collected, offering additional rolls and even the chance to swap out parts of the board with other characters. Whilst the board layout is simplistic compared to the levels of old, it's a welcome inclusion and a neat use of Nintendo figures, bridging the gap between digital and traditional board games.

There are some amusing extras to play through outside of the main modes, including a badminton match, a Bowser Challenge (where Baby Bowser grades his father's performance), and a tournament feature for those wanting to go through the mini-game selection like butter.

Presentation, for the most part, is usually the last thing when assessing a Mario Party release, but both the sound and visuals come together nicely in Mario Party 10 - brimming with trademark Nintendo flourishes and HD charms - not quite the heights of Mario Kart 8, but well-rounded nonetheless. Sound is, too, of the usual Nintendo calibre - bright and cheerful - but could perhaps have been improved to more current standards by recording with real instruments instead of the midi approach.

Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of Mario Party 10 is that it, again, lacks online support. Nintendo's argument for stripping connectivity is that the core essence of Mario Party has always been its appeal to bring friends and family together in the living-room setting, but the game could certainly have benefitted from shorter online features, stripped down game boards, or even tournament-styled mini-game marathons with five, 10 or 20 games needed to win.

Screenshot for Mario Party 10 on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Mario Party 10 expands on the ideas ND Cube had tinkered with in the last pair of games, refining the vehicle mechanic and crafting enjoyable, primarily skill-based mini-games to compete in. The inclusion of a more traditional-type mode using amiibo figures is a welcome one, and perhaps something that will be fleshed out further in the future. Lack of online aside, the game is a worthy addition to the Wii U line-up and a game-night roster. Just be sure to stock up on those amiibo!

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Party

Players

5

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

Comments

Completely agree with the point about the car gameplay just being different rather than objectively worse. Obviously a major change like that isn't going to sit right with everybody, but 9 and 10 have taken a lot of flak for simply trying to update a concept that's been growing stale over 8 installments.

I should really get this. I haven't played a Mario Party since 4 and this looks like one of the best in the series.

This is definitely the next game I am going to buy. What is better than 4 pals playing together and Mario Party? 5 pals playing together and Mario Party!

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

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