Here we go again. No other Mario spinoff has been milked to the extremes that Mario Party has. Apparently this mini-game collection franchise has fans, enough for Nintendo to warrant having another go with Mario Party 10. To their credit, the tenth instalment has a couple of unique features that use the Gamepad and Amiibos, but this is all a ruse. It’s the same party as last time and it isn’t any more fun.
Mario Party games have always had a rather inoffensive presentation, not really stretching the boundaries when it comes to the system they appear on. As such, the tenth instalment is no different. It is, however, the first time we’ve seen HD visuals in this spinoff franchise and they do look crisp, clear, and vibrant. Compared to Super Smash Bros. or Mario Kart, however, you probably won’t be blown away with what’s on offer.
Back is the “newer” style of Mario Party where you ride a vessel, taking turns at the wheel. Core gameplay hasn’t changed much since Mario Party 9 or last year’s Mario Party: Island Tour, so the appeal of the newest instalment will vary. At its core, it’s still the same random game type; however the boards on offer provide a little more substance. Each is littered with its own hazards, bonuses, and special Boss Battle mini-games that task you with hitting a boss as many times as possible while avoiding attacks. Also, if you don’t own a Wii Remote or four, you can’t even play!
New to this particular Mario Party is the Bowser Party mode and it’s easily the most unique thing to come to the series in years. One player takes control of Bowser using the Gamepad while up to four others can control Mario and friends with the Wii Remote. The Wii Remote players must try to get as far away from Bowser as possible while Bowser must make the entire team faint before they reach the goal. Mini-games in this mode use the Gamepad creatively, but the selection is a little on the limited side for this standout game mode. It’s completely dependent on randomness as well, so will not appeal to everyone and feels like a missed opportunity.
To get the fullest out of Mario Party 10, you will need a Mario themed Amiibo. Each Amiibo comes with its own themed stage and acts as a token during the Amiibo Party mode, which recreates the experience of the older Mario Party titles. For those who might have forgotten, coins buy stars, with the player who has the most stars winning the game. Some may feel a sense of nostalgia towards this old style, but the sluggish pace reminds me of why it was necessary to completely overhaul the main game. If you own Amiibo outside of the Mario franchise, you can still use them but only for scratch cards on a daily basis that reap little to no reward. If you are still interested in Mario Party 10, make sure that you get the version with the included compatible Amiibo.
In this particular instalment, there are several pages worth of 4v4 mini-games, outnumbering the 1v3 and 2v2 variants combined. As such, you’re more likely to encounter all of the team variants before the free-for-all mini-games, which seems imbalanced. Most mini-games are either too easy to complete or completely random, a common complaint within the Mario Party games; however this time there are a couple that require a small amount of skill. These are especially welcome, but come up all too infrequently.
That’s pretty much all that’s on offer. Very little is hidden away and is largely cosmetic content bought using Party Points accumulated throughout the game. The most ambitious inclusions you ever see are badminton and a puzzle game variant though there is no incentive to play either more than once. You do have goals to work towards to gain more points, however, a lot seem impossible without the participation of other human players. A Photo mode is there with unlockable models to choose from, but has limited appeal.
Board games over the past decade or two have proved time and time again that you can make a decent board game that caters to various tastes. Mario Party 10, on the other hand, feels that the same random board game and mostly tedious mini-games are the way to go, making for a cringe-worthy experience. With the Gamepad, there was a huge amount of potential that never comes to fruition. The biggest sin, however, is the requirement for certain Amiibos and peripherals to even play a few of the modes. This is one party that not you should not RSVP to.