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Monday, September 17, 2012

Mario Party 9 Game Review # 1

There have been a lot of Mario Party games over the years. Looking at the North American release dates we see something. The Nintendo 64 had one each year from 1998 to 2000. The Nintendo Gamecube had one each year from 2002 to 2005. Also earlier in 2005 the Nintendo Game Boy Advance had a portable entry. In 2007 we had another one on Nintendo DS and then one for the Nintendo Wii. If we stop at 2007 we see that #1 there are a lot of Mario Party console games and #2 Nintendo releases them annually on home consoles as soon as they release that first one for the console. This is very odd when looking at Nintendo History. If we take a series like Super Smash Brothers it has only had one per console since its release on Nintendo 64. Going back further we see Mario Kart has had one with every console since it started on Super Nintendo plus one on every handheld starting on the Nintendo Game Boy Advance which is similar to Mario Party portable entries. All of these series are praised as great multi-player experiences. One wonders why the Mario Party Portable series has followed this and yet the consoles have seen multiple entries. Then after Mario Party 8 something happened. No announcements on a Mario Party 9. I remember waiting for a Mario Party 9 announcement during this time. I expected it but it never came. Mario Party 8 was graphically similar to the Nintendo Gamecube games which is expected from a game that was in development early in the Nintendo Wii's life. The gameplay also suffered from this early development as the controls were not fully realized. There was a lot of waggling in place of pushing buttons. Now Nintendo has released Mario Party 9 this year and let me tell you, it was worth the wait.

Mario Party 9 is a must have party game for the Nintendo Wii. That is saying something since the Nintendo Wii is home to a lot of party games. There are only a few groups that I would exclude from the must buy list. The game shines in multiplayer. You can play single-player but a majority of the enjoyment is with other people. This does not take advantage of online so local multiplayer only. If you have no one locally to play with or not enough Wii Remotes for at least one more person then this game would be more enjoyed as a rental instead of a purchase more then likely. Even though the game supports four players and is built around that, you can enjoy the game greatly with just two people. Nothing in this game supports any Wii Remote attachments or Motion Plus so any Wii Remote will work just by itself to enjoy this game. If you have friends that also have Nintendo Wiis then have them bring their Wii Remotes to have fun at your place if you don't have enough Wii Remotes.

Graphically, this game is beautiful. It is widescreen and the art style is very visually appealing. I had no issues playing the game caused by graphics.

The music was great for what it was needed for. It was designed to be background music and it does a good job with this task. The music may be repetitive but that never became a problem in my playthroughs.

The gameplay is great. There was less then a handful of minigames where I felt the game would play better without the motion controls which are forced upon you. Also there were only a few minigames which are based upon luck only instead of any skill. Luckily if you play the main mode or a majority of other modes in the game with human players then you can usually avoid playing these minigames. It should be noted that the main mode does require luck and skill to win. I feel that luck weighs more on this scale. I feel this is different from past Mario Party games. Each had luck but I felt skill was still more important in those games. There were several times I saw I would win a majority of minigames but wind of loosing the whole game due to bad luck. After playing the game a lot I eventually was able to improve my odds by realizing how the game would work against the winning players and work to avoid those traps if I was winning. Likewise I would work towards those things if I was losing. It is fun in its own right. If the other players are not putting up enough of a game then it becomes you vs the game itself. Also you can put a handicap for other players if you want things a bit more balanced. You will also notice that the main part of the game is all done with everyone in the same vehicle plus every map has a beginning and an end. This is new to the series and I love it. It takes getting used to but I feel it is something that I want to see more in the future. I would not mind having both modes in future games but would be upset to see this not show up again. If you hate the new way the main game plays then there is always several other modes where skill becomes the name of the game.

This was my favorite Mario Party game and it was a great Wii game. If you don't own this game then consider adding it to your collection.

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