50 Games in 2012 – #9 Mario Party 9 [WII] (Completed March 29th)
As a youngster Mario Party was a game that often became a main attraction at birthday parties. Besides maybe Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros no other game brought as much multi-player fun for me as a kid. Mario Party was the business to play with friends. Even to this day Mario Party still gets pulled out a long with an N64 for a good ol nostalgic party drinking game once in a while. Besides the nostalgia Mario Party has continued on into the 21st century and into 2012 with several iterations. The newest one of it's like is Mario Party 9. Having a younger brother who had Mario Party 9 on his birthday list I picked up the game and prepared myself for some family fun in the coming weeks.
Nostalgia aside Mario Party games have continually served the purpose of being a fun mini-game title for many generations. Mario Party 9 is no different in that frame of mind. Playing games on Sunday nights with my family was a lot of fun and something that everyone could enjoy and get into. Rarely do games offer that type of virtual experience in a high quality title which made playing Mario Party 9 a fun time rather then eye gouging experience.
Mechanically Mario Party 9 plays exactly as you'd expect it too. All the mini games are heavy on motion control and most objects on the games board are based of waving your Wii controller or pointing and clicking. The gameplay is where largely for me Mario Party 9 excels and falls short equally. The crafted mini games in this iteration are great and make using the motion controls fun to play with. Selected levels are fun and bring interesting new ideas a long with old fun mini-games for a good combination that works. Outside of the mini games is where I was left wanting with Mario Party 9. Normally the boardgame aspect of Mario Party added a bit of strategy on how to manouever and obtain the star. In Mario Party 9 this is changed drastically as coins are abolished and all players are now put together into a single moving vehicle. These few changes fundamentally changed how each game worked but also killed the core of what past Mario Party titles have been about. I respect the innovation to change the game but these tweaks took away a lot away what made maneuvering around the board so much fun. Unfortunately the board types seemed more streamlined to fit the new gameplay which made the strategy and freshness of each board significantly less.
Through my gripes I had with Mario Party 9 my family and I still had a fun time which stood out to me. It's a hard tightrope to balance on when your trying to innovate with new titles yet still trying to keep the core of what interested people in the first place. Mario Party 9 stumbles in trying to perform the balancing act but still delivers a sharp fun Wii experience that everyone can enjoy.
Date Finished: 3/29 | Mario Party 8 (Wii)
Pros: Fun family friendly party game that works well and doesn't lack charm.
Cons: Both the car and new star systems take out a lot of what was fun with Mario Party.
Conclusion: Mario Party 8 has troubles balancing innovation with nostalgia but still delivers a good party game experience.