There's a good chance that you, dear reader, have heard of Mario Party, played Mario Party before, and have lost more than one friend over the course of playing a Mario Party game. If you have somehow never played a Mario Party game before, Mario Party 10 is the latest iteration of the series. It is a party game for up to five players, up from four for previous titles, where you race around a board collecting stars and battle each other in a plethora of mini-games, which are well known for destroying marriages and other relationships.
The main game mode is much like Mario Party 9: all four players ride around together, with the dice rolls affecting everyone. You can land on various squares with various consequences: extra mini stars, remove mini stars, jump back and forward spaces, mini games and random Bowser tomfoolery where he will just straight up jack all your stars with no real way to avoid it. Since the previous iteration, the only change is extra/different mini games, which is something you would come to expect from Mario Party game to Mario Party game.
As this is a sequel, the most important thing in my mind is how they have changed the game since the last iteration. The biggest change in comes in the form of 'Bowser party mode'. Bowser party mode adds the ability for a fifth player to play as Bowser against four other players in a battle to the death. As in you actually have to try and murder the other players through various mini games and traps. The basic gist of it is that each of the four players get to have a roll, and then Bowser gets to roll four dice to catch up. If he catches the players, a 4v1 minigame takes place, where Bowser can take hearts from the other players, if all the players lose all your hearts before you get to the end of the map, it's game over.
The addition of Bowser party mode brings quite a fun dynamic to the game. In previous Mario Party titles, all of the team based minigames had dynamic teams, where teams were assigned randomly, but with this new mode you can build a real team dynamic and work out tactics and strategies to defeat the big bad Bowser at his own game.
The other main addition to this title is amiibo party mode. From the title, you can probably guess the prerequisite to playing this mode, but it is most definitely worth the price of admission. amiibo party mode goes back to the old school "every man for himself" style of gameplay where you aren't tethered to your rivals like an anchor to a boat. It's an ingenious plot to sell more amiibos which I can see being successful.
In my opinion, the Wii U cops some undeserved flak about its power, and Mario Party 10 is one of those titles that makes me reinforce that view on myself. The game is gorgeous, which is exactly what you would expect from a 1st party Nintendo game; the textures are high quality and vibrant, the models are of good quality and everything just looks fantastic. Same goes for the audio: it's crisp, clean and fits perfectly in with the theme of the game. The voice acting, if you can call it that, is on point as always, its exactly what you would expect from a Mario game. The music is cheery when appropriate and dark and menacing when necessary. The tone is clearly aimed at children, but it never feels like I shouldn't be playing it as an adult.
All the major players make a comeback in this game. You have your Mario Party staples: Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Yoshi, Wario, Waluigi, Daisy and the returning Donkey Kong and Toadette. On top of that you have Rosalina, Spike - a character you may not be familiar with by name - and the big baddie himself, Bowser. The roster is pretty much what you would have come to expect from a Mario Party title, with the addition of Bowser as a playable character.
There is a lot of variety in the mini games. One game you will be pumping up a balloon, the next you will be swinging with your Wiimote at a virtual golf ball - yes there are motion controls. Because of the game's ability to have an arbitrary number of players, which wasn't a feature that I have yet to see in a previous Mario Party title, you also get two and three player minigames. The two players games can be particularly intense because you can focus all your frustration on whatever poor soul you will stop speaking to at the end of the night.
On top of the new minigames, you also get bosses, which I couldn't really fathom how that would work when I first saw it pop up, but in true Mario Party fashion, it's another mini game. They aren't anything out of the ordinary - except you have a health meter - you still have to battle your opponents for points, or to see who is the last man standing.
The levels are for the most part interesting, and playable, but the rather generic theming makes them feel mediocre. You would think a company with such immense nostalgia power like Nintendo would use it to inject their maps with some whimsy and wonder. None of the levels play like a traditional board game either, like previous games did. Instead, they are a race to the finish line. Very rarely are there multiple paths and overall it feels less interesting. It's understandable considering the mechanic of everyone moving together around the map, but it just feels like there are less possibilities in a game series infamous for their random nature.
All in all, Mario Party 10's addition of the Bowser and amiibo party modes are enough to warrant a purchase, but I only wish that the gameplay of previous games and the amiibo party modes was more liberally applied to the main game. Otherwise, this is a solid entry into the Mario Party series. If you have played previous iterations, not a whole lot will be new to you, but it is a very good looking game that plays well, and is well worth losing at least four friendships over.
What do you guys think? Is this game as good as the previous iterations? Is the Bowser and Amiibo Party Modes enough to make this game a must own? Let me know in the comments.
This game was purchased by the reviewer and reviewed on the Wii U. The game can be purchased from Amazon, as well as other retailers.