The tenth installment of the virtual board game Mario Party 10, released in March of this year, has been the brunt on several jokes throughout the gaming world and endless negative critiques on their new approach. As far as hatred goes, I do not find myself among these ranks since I find myself playing it often when my wife and I have friends over, but I still can’t shake the feeling that Mario Party will never be the great game it used to be ever again.
There are multiple reasons why this game simply doesn’t meet the mark. Primarily it has to do with its gameplay structure. It pretty much mirrors Mario Party 9‘s changes. Minigames of course are a huge part of it, but almost every other element has been completely rethought and changed. Truthfully, it was almost as if everything my childhood loved about Mario Party would forever be forgotten on today’s generation. For those unaware, the gameplay has shifted to individually moving characters on a game board. Each blue space landed on grants the roller three coins, red spaces, their opposite, take away three coins. Blue spaces have been replaced with being granted a special dice block. These dice consist of slow dice, 1-3 dice, 4-6 dice, multiple dice…etc. Red spaces simply are non-existent expect for in Amiibo play. More on that later.
So you may be asking, so do I still get coins from minigames? Ha! Nope! So are there coins at all??? Well, uh…..no. Mario Party without coins?? Yep. Instead, your character collects stars. These are essentially replaceable with coins from the previous Mario Party games. You win them from minigames, and the board awards you with them if you land on the right spaces and choose the best route. Essentially, you’re still competing for stars, but the stakes are much lower.
The actual board work has completely changed as well. All of the players ride in a cart of sorts together. Characters take turns being the leader, or director of the cart, and are responsible for everything that happens when they are in command. For example, if they pass through a gate rewarding 10 stars, then they go to the captain. This is a pretty cool idea on paper. However, it simply falls short in practice. The problem is that it completely destroys the competitive nature of Mario Party and simply doesn’t even compare with its forefathers.
What about the other modes of play, and the minigames? I’ll start with the easiest to talk about, the minigames are very standard Mario Party minigames, and they really are a lot of fun. It really does feel like the older games when you’re playing them. However, the problem is that they have no stake in the single player at all really. In the older games, you had to gain coins to buy stars to win, which you really only got from minigames. The games in the new installment only award those pesky stars, and they’re fairly generous to the point where the competition falls through the cracks.
In the honesty of full disclosure, I’d like to come clean and say that I am too cheap to buy all the pesky Amiibo. So I haven’t actually played this one, but I’ve done my research. Amiibo Play allows you to enjoy a similar style of gameplay that is nostalgic of the old ways. Blue spaces award three coins, red the opposite, and stars cost twenty coins. Even the way you navigate the board is similar. However, the board is small, like really, really small, and it’s completely linear with no freedom of direction. Once again, the development of competition fails.
Last, but not least, the part everyone has been waiting for. What about Bowser mode? A brilliant idea really. Have the fifth player control the Wii U Gamepad and play as Bowser. I agree, it was a brilliant idea. However, this is one of the most broken games types I have ever played in my life of playing video games…which has been my life…all of it. Of the five times that I have played the Bower mode, team Mario has one once and from some of the articles I’ve read, looks like we got lucky. Here’s the premise: team Mario all have to roll their dice blocks and hope to get far away from Bowser, who, when his turn arrives, rolls four dice to catch up. Unless Baby Bowser gives him another die….which he does….a lot…then Bowser rolls five, or six dice to catch up which he almost always does. In fact, if he doesn’t catch Team Mario, Baby Bowser will let him roll again! Yeah, this game type is so broken, it isn’t even funny. I keep waiting for a Nintendo patch, but it hasn’t happened yet and probably never will.
All in all, I can see what Nintendo was trying to do and I can really respect them for trying to mix things up. They have some great minds over there coming up with great ideas. Unfortunately, the execution was poor. I haven’t given up on the franchise and wouldn’t mind seeing some more work on it. Mario Party 11 could be the break through. Seriously, it has potential. It just needs a lot of work.
Have you played Mario Party 10? Do you agree or disagree? Comment below! We’d love to hear what you think.