Pack up your nostalgia, dear readers, because today I’m writing about a game many of you have probably played at some point in your gaming lives. Many of you probably started with Mario Party 1-3 on the N64. Maybe, like me, you started with the GameCube games. You know how Mario Party is the bane of thumbsticks and delicate parts of your hands alike. You may have wished you had the special Nintendo glove made specifically to protect your palms from the less than forgiving mini games. You probably know how simultaneously fun and infuriating it is to have siblings because of this game. You might even know how absurd it is to play with 8 people at one time on one screen long before touching the latest Smash Bros. You know how much of a pain special awards at the end of the game can be, the internal scream as your friend nonchalantly gets their sixth star, and the bladder strength needed to go through 20 rounds.
Well, forget that. Put those warm, fuzzy, angry feelings away and hear me out. Mario Party 10 is not your typical Mario Party. A lot has changed, and, quite honestly, I’m not sure how we got here in the first place. My last Mario Party was #7, the old Toad cruise boat Mario Party. I never tried the two Wii games, which is such a shame; they look so shiny. I remember being pitted against three other people, a battle of wills and stick wiggling. It was vicious, and at no point did we feel the need to be a team. Perhaps that’s what Nintendo was trying to create: a need for camaraderie.
In previous games, you were running solo. Your roll only affected you, and you only had yourself to worry about. Now, in Mario Party 10’s main gamestyle, you are loaded in a vehicle with your competitors and carted along with each person’s roll. You have a greater worry amongst the four of you: Bowser. You can still toy with each other as you each collect as many mini stars as you possibly can, possibly trolling each other in the process. You just have a much greater concern looming over every player. If you are all so unlucky as to roll one of each number, you release the great Koopa king to rain down a number of maladies for your party. You may still be playing against each other, but now you have a greater goal to battle against together. Truth be told, I’m not sure how I feel about this. This is no longer just a game about trouncing each other in mini game after mini game. That was what Mario Party was all about. With these new changes, you also don’t play a mini game after each round of turns; now it’s based entirely on where the vehicle lands with everyone on board. I don’t think this is a bad change. It’s certainly making games move along faster, and bringing along a need for even more strategy to battle. However, I do think this is a direction I’m not fond of simply for the fact that it does make the game easier. There are fewer games to master, and a different skill set needed than previous Mario Party games. I’m still on the fence.
Mario Party 10 introduces a couple of new concepts to the Party series, though. The first is Bowser Party. Instead of being locked away until someone rolls a very unlucky number, Bowser becomes an immediate threat to the group in the form of a suspiciously fortunate computer player, or an even luckier fifth friend. The four players with Wiimotes will have to face a constant battle against the fifth player with the Wii U touch pad. The four players will try to reach the end where Bowser Jr. is hiding a star while defending their limited hit points. The Bowser player will try to catch up to them after they all roll their turn. Once Bowser catches them (which he almost always does), it’s time for a Bowser themed mini game. It’s up to the Bowser to destroy the other four players’ health before they reach the final goal. There’s no point being vague; I love this game mode. It’s very challenging and requires a lot of planning among the four players to survive the frequently fortuitous Bowser player’s onslaught. It’s very easy to lose all of your health in the first game, and maybe even take down a fellow player in the process. You can aid surviving players by rolling special die for them to use, but a solo player can only do so much after a point.
The other new party mode is Amiibo Party. Nintendo’s latest cash cow reigns supreme in this mode, and definitely requires a player with several open Amiibos. The day Mario Party 10 was release, half a dozen new Amiibos were released alongside it just for the sake of this game. Each Amiibo has their own board, which you open by scanning in their base. Once you start playing, your Amiibo starts to collect tokens to modify future boards. Each board is a pie with four slices. When you change a slice with a token, the special events also alter to match that slice’s theme. This change can even happen in-game with found tokens. Once you’re in the game, prepare yourself for old school Mario Party. You get to enjoy rolling for yourself only, collecting coins and trading those coins in for stars. However, get ready to have your Amiibo read by the pad every few seconds. I enjoy playing this game, but I can’t imagine the tedium that comes from having more than one person playing. You have to use your Amiibo for every roulette or wheel spin. For some reason, you have to tap your Amiibo for most confirmations as well. It seems really unnecessary, though I guess I can see why they wanted it that way. They really want to push the use of these $15 plastic chunks, and push they shall! I guess they wanted to simulate the moving of a piece on an actual board game, but I just find it to be a pain in the butt. Between that and needing to have multiple Amiibos dedicated to this game, Amiibo Party tends to be a little overkill on the marketing for me.
Special note for Bowser lovers: beware playing Bowser in the Amiibo Party. You get special rules specifically for you. Bowser spaces are awesome for you, but you still might end up getting the short end of the stick. I’m playing as I write this and just had to give last place a star, pushing them ahead of me. Woe is Bowser.
Mario Party 10 is fun and incredibly enjoyable. Gather your friends together and see how long you can last before hating each other. Just don’t expect the same old Mario Party; this 17 year old series has definitely changed over the years.