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Mario Party

Mario Party Arcade photo
Mario Party Arcade

Now you can throw a fit in public with Mario Party Arcade


A joint venture with Capcom
Feb 03
// Chris Carter
You're leading by four Stars in Mario Party -- it's down to the final few turns -- and you've won most of the minigames so far so you're pretty sure the Minigame Star in the bag. Then your friend uncovers a hidden Star, ...
Mario Kart 64 photo
Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 64 on Wii U DOES NOT have ghost data support


'Unable to read N64 Controller Pak data'
Jan 22
// Chris Carter
Whenever something hits the Virtual Console, most people kind of assume all the features are in tow. But that's often not the case, so we like to report on it just so you guys have all of the information (like when the origin...
Weird 3DS sale photo
Weird 3DS sale

After five years, Nintendo discounts an uneven list of 3DS games


Games for cheap you might not want?
Sep 28
// Steven Hansen
Nintendo games age somewhere in between a wine and a new car. We keep getting older and they just stay the same (price). The exception is in the "Nintendo Selects" line, which takes games that have already sold very well and ...
Silver Mario amiibo photo
Silver Mario amiibo

Nintendo finally spills the official beans on the Silver Mario amiibo


Not exclusive
May 14
// Chris Carter
[Update: I am being told by a source at GameStop that Silver Mario will not be available for pre-order, and should be in-store on May 29 for purchase. "No replenishment" is the expectation being communicated to stores na...

Nintendo photo
Nintendo

Nintendo's NPD sales report has lots of numbers


Some actually look like good numbers
Apr 17
// Joe Parlock
It doesn’t seem too long ago that Nintendo were struggling. With the slow sales of the Wii U that hit profits back in 2013 and the dwinding 3DS user base in 2014, It looked like the little (pfffft) company that could un...
Dinosexual photo
Dinosexual

Yoshi is trying to seduce me


I'm in love with dinosaurs again
Mar 30
// Jed Whitaker
Remember when I wrote that review and said I fucking hate dinosaurs? I take that statement back. I'm in love with Yoshi in Mario Party 10 -- just look at the fuck-me eyes and seductive tail waggle he gives you when in third ...
Next Friday photo
Next Friday

Super Mario series Mario amiibo releasing stand-alone April 3


Next Friday
Mar 26
// Steven Hansen
The second Mario amiibo (after the original Smash Bros. line) is no longer available only through its Mario Party 10 bundle. Nintendo of America confirmed that you can buy the doll on its own on April 3. Nintendo of Canada confirmed the date as well.
Golden Mario amiibo hunt photo
Golden Mario amiibo hunt

The Great Golden Mario amiibo Hunt & amiibo painting pandemonium!


Hard-hitting guerilla journalism
Mar 20
// Jed Whitaker
Last night I ventured out to see if I could aquire golden Mario amiibo from Walmart as well as the Mario Party 10 bundle with the normal Mario amiibo live on our Twitch channel. It was a thrill ride that most of yo...
Golden Mario Amiibo photo
Golden Mario Amiibo

You missed me on a treasure hunt to find the elusive golden Mario amiibo!


The map has an X on Walmart
Mar 19
// Jed Whitaker
Update: You've missed the stream but fear not, you can watch the replays here! In what could be the best or worst decision I've made, I'll live streaming my hunt for a golden Mario amiibo tonight. Using my technical wiza...

Review: Mario Party 10

Mar 16 // Chris Carter
Mario Party 10 (Wii U)Developer: Nd CubePublisher: NintendoReleased: March 20, 2015MSRP: $49.99 (standard game) / $59.99 (with Mario amiibo) If you've played a party game before, you'll have the general gist of Mario Party 10. This time there's a lot of uncertainty as to what control schemes are supported, so I'll break it down -- Wiimotes. Yep, just Wiimotes. You don't need Motion+, you don't need any Classic Controllers (including the new Pro), and you don't need anything other than Wiimotes and the occasional GamePad depending on the mode. What you'll immediately notice about 10 is the stark improvement in the visual department. The sharper and more vibrant engine makes the game feel more alive -- it's a huge upgrade from 9, which was dated upon arrival. Everything from Yoshi's bold green hues to Donkey Kong's amazing hair is crafted with care, and you'll notice the difference everywhere from the map screen to the minigames themselves. Sadly, developer Nd Cube (who took over for the now defunct Hudson), is still stuck on the vehicular based concept from the last game. Every single time you play the core "Mario Party" gametype, on every map, every round, you'll progress in a shared vehicle that goes from point A to point B, with everyone facing the same exact challenges and the same boss fight at the end. The idea was divisive in Mario Party 9, and I expect the same thing here. Personally, I'm a little more used to the mechanic, but it still severely limits the longevity of the game as a whole. If everyone is sharing the same rolls and movement, rounds are extremely dull as there is very little choice on any given player turn. For instance, in the past it was key to see where others were going, and either split up or chase them down individually. Even in the latter situation you'd get to experience all the trials and tribulations of the board with them -- but in the vehicle, they may pass over all the "cool stuff" leaving you with tiresome rolls and nothing to show for it. The other limitation is that every game on every board is estimated at roughly 30 minutes. There's no modification of turns like in the pre-vehicle games, so even if you wanted to have an hours-long session or a short 10-turn round, you couldn't -- you're at the mercy of the car. Right now there are a scant five levels on offer -- Mushroom Park, Haunted Trail, Whimsical Waters, Airship Central, and Chaos Castle. I haven't found a secret stage yet despite playing all of them. Having said all that, the minigame quality in general is markedly better than that in 8 or 9. At this point Nd Cube seems to be more at ease with the Wiimote technology, offering up a variety of different activities that aren't just waggle-fests. It's not truly innovative since only a small handful of Bowser games use the GamePad, but I'm happy with the variety on display with Mario Party 10. There are lots of traditional sideways NES style games, single-button games that actually rely on timing, and there's a good balance of easy to pick up bashes that require input rather than luck. One of the other core modes that does shake things up in a big way is Bowser Party. This one is five players, with four using Wiimotes in the traditional manner, and Bowser on the coveted GamePad. The concept is to have "Team Mario" run away from Bowser while the Koopa King chases them down, rolling multiple dice after the entire team has had their turn. If he catches them, he gets an opportunity to decrease their health (by way of "hearts") before they get to the end of the board and win the game. While the idea is fun, I ultimately had mixed results. Some games are skewed heavily towards Bowser, and some are skewed towards the team. While the majority of them are balanced, I had a string of bad luck as Bowser once with terrible rolls that didn't let me catch up for four turns in a row, and when I did, my two subsequent games were luck-based or favored Team Mario. As a result, I never even interacted with them for half the game through no fault of my own. I know there's always going to be an element of "Mario Party luck," but that's a little over-the-top. In another game things went exactly the opposite, as Bowser was able to catch up almost every turn. There's even an in-game challenge for catching and killing the entire team on the first go. The ending is also anti-climatic as heck, since the final confrontation isn't a boss fight, but a "find the star" micro-game that lets Bowser hide it with one of three enemies, and players take turns finding it. As you can probably tell, Bowser Party also uses the vehicle. To add insult to injury, you can only use three maps in this mode as opposed to all five. It's odd, as the boards are only tuned in a minor fashion to accommodate extra Bowser-only features; they aren't fundamentally redone in any significant fashion. There's absolutely no reason why all of the maps couldn't be used in Bowser mode, or why there couldn't be an exclusive map for it. It's enjoyable particularly because it allows a fifth player to get in on the action, but there's a lot of room for improvement if there's a Mario Party 11. Now onto the last mode, and for some, the most anticipated: amiibo Party. This one features a smaller board with a more traditional style of "trade 20 coins for one star, the person with the most stars wins." Except here, the idea is to facilitate huddled up party play, where everyone is gathered around the GamePad -- it's also stuck at a hard 10 turns to get people in and out faster. As a nice touch you can use the Bowser amiibo to unlock a mini Bowser mode within the system, and every player gets "tokens" that function like old school power-ups in earlier Mario Party games that are much more interesting than the other modes. I'm torn on amiibo Party as a whole though. While it's nice to have a classic mode in tow, the maps are small. Like, very small, to the point where a dice bonus can nearly get you around the entire board in one turn. You can change the theme and modify a few of the on-board minigames by using an amiibo (for instance, Rosalina changes it to a galactic theme), but the boards themselves remain tiny. With maps that were even a little bit bigger, this could have been a major game-changer and the bonafide side-core mode for people who don't like the vehicle. There's also the interesting little gimmick of having to put down the amiibo to roll, and place it back on the GamePad to "acquire" an item. It's a little thing and one I actually don't mind doing, but I'm sure a lot of people will find it annoying to have to group up on top of the GamePad. The main idea of keeping your customized amiibo from game to game or house to house is neat. Thankfully the extra minigames (accessed by a separate main menu) elevate everything by quite a bit. In addition to getting daily rewards for supported amiibo, you can also earn extra currency by tapping any amiibo to the GamePad on a daily basis, once per day. The bonus games are pretty killer, including Badminton Bash (1-4 players), Jewel Drop (1-2), solo Bowser Jr. challenges, the typical minigame-only tournament setup, and single-player Bowser minigame face-offs. The former two are easily my favorite, as Badminton is basically a mini-Mario Tennis. There are no real options and there's only one court, but it's fun nonetheless. Jewel Drop deserves a special shoutout, as it's a modified match-four version of Puzzle Fighter, Puyo Pop, or whatever other genre staple you want to compare it to. It only supports two players but the level of depth involved is insane, and I ended up playing for hours on end once without realizing how much time had passed. There is a "Toad Shop" that lets you buy the staple two extra characters and CPU difficulty, on top of extra cosmetic items like new cars, music, and art. If you're the type of person that doesn't care about fluff though you'll exhaust Toad's inventory in just one day of play, especially if you're keen to use the amiibo as bonus points. Mario Party 10 has an admirable bundle of minigames and sidegames, but the lack of interesting boards and half-measure amiibo Party mode hurt the overall package. There is simply not enough meat on the core game modes, seemingly in favor of adding in a hodgepodge of concepts that are isolated from one another. It's time to give up the vehicle concept, Nd Cube, as it inherently limits the sprawling nature of the maps we once played for years on end. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher. All of the current Mario Party 10 amiibo were also provided.]
Mario Party 10 review photo
Not the Narnia of Partias
I haven't enjoyed the past few console editions of Mario Party. I felt like 8 was rushed to the Wii as an excuse to show off the technology, and it ended up being a generic waggle-fest that was a stark drop in quality co...

Mario Party 10 amiibo photo
One of these isn't even out in March
Our Mario Party 10 review is coming next Monday, but for now, I can talk about select elements of it. After weeks of speculation on the supported amiibo for the newest franchise entry, I've narrowed it down by way o...

Mario Party amiibo photo
Mario Party amiibo

Here are some comparison shots for the Smash Bros. and Mario Party amiibo lines


They're taller but less detailed
Mar 09
// Chris Carter
I currently have access to all of the Mario Party 10 amiibo, which are arriving later this month, separately from the existing Super Smash Bros. line. To be clear, the new figures themselves are actually identical i...
Ameliebo photo
Ameliebo

Want the (non-metal) Super Mario amiibo? GameStop bundle pre-orders up


The Super Mario Mario available with Super Mario Party
Feb 04
// Steven Hansen
There's a lot of hullabaloo around the secret, newly discovered but unannounced gold and silver Mario in the Super Mario amiibo line, but remember the regular Super Mario is temporarily exclusive to the Mario Party 10&nb...
Ameliebo photo
Ameliebo

New Mario amiibo temporarily exclusive to Mario Party 10 bundle


Gotta buy 'em all
Jan 24
// Steven Hansen
Mario Party 10 is getting its own line of amiibo, lest Nintendo not have multiple $13 red plumber toys to peddle. Amazon put up listings for Peach, Yoshi, Bowser, Luigi, and Toad. Every one excep...
Mario Party 10 photo
Mario Party 10

Mario Party 10 details revealed, including amiibo support


New modes and bundle
Jan 14
// Laura Kate Dale
In Today's Nintendo Direct presentation Nintendo unveiled a whole bunch of new details about Mario Party 10 on Wii U. Alongside the standard Mario Party star collection mode, Mario Party 10 will have a number of new game mode...
Best Buy one get one free photo
Best Buy one get one free

Best Buy is doing buy one, get one for 3DS games this week


It's a mostly good selection of games, at that
Jul 21
// Darren Nakamura
Like the DS before it, the 3DS is becoming one of my favorite platforms. Now that we are several years into its life, it has a pretty great selection of first and third-party games. There are enough now that I have fallen beh...
Mario Party photo
Mario Party

It's everyone vs. Bowser in Mario Party 10 on Wii U


Someone gets to *be* Bowser!
Jun 10
// Jordan Devore
The Wii U could use a new Mario Party and it's getting exactly that at long last. It looks super fun! In Mario Party 10, there are new Bowser Party mini-games which let one person control Bowser using the Wii U GamePad while...

The best and worst games of the week - Game of the Month

Nov 30 // Wesley Ruscher
Previous November Round-ups: Week ending 11/23Week ending 11/16Week ending 11/9  Stick It to the Man! (PlayStation 3 [reviewed], PS Vita)Developer: Zoink!Publisher: RipstoneRelease Date: November 19, 2013 (PS3), Early December (Vita)MSRP: $12.99 (with Cross-Buy) I enjoyed the ever-loving crap out of this game. From the cast of zany characters -- many of whom you may think are throwaways only for them to show up again in later levels -- to the crazy art style, level and puzzle design, and whimsically hilarious script. Everything is pitch-perfect. And while Stick It to the Man! isn't a particularly long title (it may only take you between three to five hours to complete the game's ten chapters) there's loads to observe and listen in on, and dozens of minds per level to explore, leaving you wanting more. I couldn't get enough of it. Read the full Stick It to the Man! review Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know! (3DS [reviewed] PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360)Developer: WayForward TechnologiesPublisher: D3 PublisherRelease Date: November 19, 2013MSRP: $29.99 (3DS), $39.99 (PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360) At some point during the development process of Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon 3DS, someone should have looked at the current build, and scrapped the project entirely. Whereas Regular Show 3DS was a flawed love letter to retro fans, Explore the Dungeon is a sheet of paper with chicken scratch scrawled on it. It's the worst game WayForward has put out in years, and yet another example of a wasted licensed game opportunity. Read the full Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon review Borderlands 2 Headerhunter 2: The Horrible Hunger of the Ravenous Wattle Gobbler (Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Gearbox SoftwarePublisher: 2K GamesReleased: November 26, 2013MSRP: $2.99 After the disappointingly mediocre T.K. Baha's Bloody Harvest, I went into The Horrible Hunger of the Ravenous Wattle Gobbler with tempered expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised. Though the core gameplay is largely unchanged and the set of missions are just as short in length, Wattle Gobbler features a more fleshed out narrative, with funnier and more important dialogue. Mister Torgue shines as one of the most well-written characters in all of Pandora, and that brilliance helps make this DLC pack more worthwhile than the last one. Read the full Borderlands 2 Headerhunter 2: The Horrible Hunger of the Ravenous Wattle here Fighter Within (Xbox One)Developer: AMA, Ltd.Publisher: UbisoftRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $59.99 Fighter Within is a lazy tech demo with a poor story, unimpressive fighting engine, and a forgettable cast. Maybe one day we'll have a cool Kinect fighting game, where everyone at EVO is flailing around with some semblance of strategic value. But this is not that day. Read the full Fighter Within review Soulcalibur II HD Online (PSN, XBLA [reviewed])Developer: Project SoulPublisher: Namco BandaiRelease Date: November 20, 2013MSRP: $19.99 Soulcalibur II HD Online is a nearly flawless update of a decade old title. While it’s unfortunate that the online mode isn't nearly as polished as the rest of the game, the true soul of the game has never looked so beautiful. Hopefully Namco works out the kinks in the netcode, but even with its shortcomings there is more than enough game here to warrant another go with this fighting game classic. Read the full Soulcalibur II HD Online here Mario Party: Island Tour (3DS)Developer: Nd CubePublisher: NintendoRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $39.99 The only true merit of Mario Party: Island Tour is the ability to play Mario Party with your local friends on the 3DS. As long as they have a 3DS and are close-by, playing via Download Play is fairly quick and painless. However, the lack of online play and the overall single-player experience is a pretty big bummer. Unless you’re desperate and need a quick Mario Party fix on the go, stick with a console version if you can. Read the full Mario Party: Island Tour here BandFuse: Rock Legends (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Realta Entertainment GroupPublisher: Mastiff GamesRelease Date: November 19, 2013MSRP: $69.99 (Artist Pack:  game + 1/4" to USB guitar cable), $79.99 (Band Pack: 2 guitar cables, mic, 4-port USB hub, acoustic guitar adapter - game NOT included), $179.99 (Guitar Bundle - Guitar Center Exclusive: game, guitar cable, & Fender Squire Bullet guitar) It's impressive to see a game such as this, focused on not only teaching you how to play guitar, but also how to have fun with it. The multiplayer extensions are a blast (if you have that many guitars, or friends that can play), and the karaoke and backing track selections can really further the creativity. While the jumps in difficulty can be drastic at the higher levels, there's still plenty of ways to adapt, and BandFuse surprises at each step. Read the full BandFuse: Rock Legends here   Read the full Super Mario 3D World review
Game of the Month photo
Week ending 11/30 & November Game of the Month
Thank goodness November is finally over. It was a hectic month -- that will go down in gaming history as one of the greatest ever -- thanks, in no part, to the launch of two brand spanking new consoles from both Sony and Micr...

Review: Mario Party: Island Tour

Nov 27 // Caitlin Cooke
Mario Party: Island Tour (3DS)Developer: Nd CubePublisher: NintendoRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $39.99 Mario Party: Island Tour presents a variety of game modes: eight main party modes, three minigame modes, and StreetPass minigames. Party mode focuses on the core of the Mario Party series -- characters progress on a game board with the goal of either getting to the end first or collecting the most mini-stars. Each party mode is rated in three different categories: Skill, Luck, and Minigames. For example, the Rocket Road game is rated at two skill, four minigame, and five luck because it’s basically a game where you roll a die to get to the end of a line, but also contains many tiles that make you switch places with opponents (i.e., lots of luck involved). Estimated play times are also shown, which I found helpful but somewhat unreliable. I had kind of hoped for a mode that resembled the original premise of Mario Party -- screwing over other players to collect the most coins and stars. Unfortunately, nothing like that exists. It’s almost as if they took each aspect of the original Mario Party and chopped it up into different modes. One board’s goal is to collect mini-stars, another board focuses on items that affect players, etc. There isn’t really one “complete” Mario Party experience. That being said, there are a few boards that break from the mold. For example, Kamek’s Carpet Ride utilizes cards instead die, forcing players to use a bit of strategy in which cards they decide to play. In Bowser’s Peculiar Peak, the goal is to stay in last place by not making it to the end or Bowser will smash you with his hammer. These modes are somewhat enjoyable but not really the complete package I was hoping for since the goal is usually one-sided and involves finishing the board. To make matters worse, the gameplay is somewhat unbearable at times. I realize this is a child-friendly game, but Toad goes above and beyond with babying the players. His trademark is to point out something obvious each turn -- like who is about to win the game or how many rounds until a minigame is played. If I get a card or item that could potentially allow me to win the game, he’ll say something like “Between you and me, if you use this, you could reach the goal!” Nothing is left for you to figure out on your own. Island Tour seems rigged in the sense that nothing is truly randomized -- the games are fair to a fault. Toad will sometimes rearrange the turn orders based on minigame ranking to allow players who are behind to catch up. Each mode also seems to have a mechanism to prevent players from progressing too far ahead, whether it be Bonzai Bill knocking players back or a Whomp blocking the path. In Star-Crossed Skyway players are forced to stop advancing once they hit a certain platform, allowing everyone else to catch up. And usually there’s some sort of “random” havoc that happens every once in a while to even the playing field for opponents who are behind. The one mode I actually enjoyed was Bowser’s Tower, a single-player story(ish) driven game where you climb a tower and defeat bubble ghosts by playing minigames. As you climb, Bowser likes to randomly select a punishment or reward which could affect enemy levels or your sacred Mario Party Points (which are used to purchase collectables). There’s also an option to save and come back later to finish the tower, which is a useful addition for folks who are strapped for time. Minigames are the highlight of Island Tour -- there are a wide variety of games and for the most part they’re entertaining and original. I was happy to find that 3DS capabilities were used in most minigames -- tilt, 3D, mic, touch screen, dual screen, and augmented reality all made an appearance. I did notice however that any of the games utilizing the mic were extremely off. I tested both voice impersonation games with my fiance -- he whispered lewd things into the mic while I actually attempted to play and I lost each and every time. It was hilarious, but disappointing. Although I enjoyed most of the minigames, Mario Party: Island Tour lacks heart at the end of the day. I explained the situation to a non-gaming friend and she replied, “So if this were a party in real life, the host basically ordered too much salad instead of pizza.” Her assessment is eerily accurate -- in the Mario Party diet, the salad is the necessary but restricting structure and the pizza is the delicious, random fun that makes it worthwhile. The amount of hand-holding in this latest installment leaves me longing for the Mario Party days of yore -- a time when people actually worked hard to win minigames because it got them that much closer to the big reward: a star. The minigames in Island Tour are enjoyable but the structure around them can be tiring and almost too fair to bad (or just plain unfortunate) players. The only true merit of Mario Party: Island Tour is the ability to play Mario Party with your local friends on the 3DS. As long as they have a 3DS and are close-by, playing via Download Play is fairly quick and painless. However, the lack of online play and the overall single-player experience is a pretty big bummer. Unless you’re desperate and need a quick Mario Party fix on the go, stick with a console version if you can.
Mario Party review photo
More like Island BORE
I consider myself a Mario Party veteran -- I’ve been a huge fan of the series, with a particular emphasis on the cutthroat days of the N64 titles. There’s nothing like losing the skin on the palm of your hands t...

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Try playing this new Mario Party mini-game in public


And not get embarrassed while doing so
Nov 22
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Today was a big day for Nintendo as both Super Mario 3D World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds both came out. There was also another major first party title for the 3DS released today with Mario Party: Island T...
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The Gentlemen's Club! We are ruining our friendship live!


I SWEAR, IF YOU TAKE MY STAR...
Nov 06
// Phil
Spencer and I pretty much agree that Mario Party 2 is the best in the series. The characters cosplay depending on what stage they were in! You haven't Mario Partied until you see Donkey Kong in a wizard outfit, that's what I ...
Mario Party 3DS photo
Mario Party 3DS

A quick look at the new Mario Party for 3DS


Hope you don't embarrass easily
Oct 08
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
While some games in the Mario Party series are easily better than the others (*cough* Mario Party 2 *cough*), I think we can all agree that each one has been fun to play. Mario Party: Island Tour for the 3DS is no different, ...
New 3DS Mario Party photo
New 3DS Mario Party

Nintendo Direct: New Mario Party announced for 3DS


Seven all new boards on offer
Apr 17
// Chris Carter
Nintendo announced a brand new entry in the Mario Party series today for the Nintendo 3DS. New power-ups, and seven "all new boards" that feature their own mechanics are in the works for this new entry. One board showed a ris...
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Wii U gets a new party game from makers of Wii Party


Board game style
Jan 23
// Dale North
A new game from the creators of Wii Party is currently in development for the Wii U. From the looks of the footage shown this morning during Wii U Direct, it plays out over a game board, much like Mario Party, launching the p...

Preview: Mixing things up in Mario Party 9

Feb 29 // Wesley Ruscher
[embed]222920:42859[/embed] Mario Party 9 (Nintendo Wii)Developer:  Nd Cube Co., Ltd.Publisher: NintendoRelease: March 11, 2012It doesn't take long to see how things have been mixed up for Mario Party 9. The previous titles all followed the concept of moving a character around a board game, collecting coins and stars, and then competing in some sort of crazy mini-game for extra rewards; the winner being the one with the most stars at the end. And while the core spirit of Mario Party is unchanged -- you still travel around a board (now called stages), collect things, and compete in a multitude of hectic mini-games -- the experience has been streamlined so much that Mario Party 9 feels almost like a new game.  The first, and biggest, change to Mario Party 9 is the way players travel the game’s seven distinct stages. Instead of moving one at a time, players now proceed together as a cohesive unit in a vehicle. As each player takes their turn, rolling the die, they assume the role of the vehicle’s captain and therefore collect the benefit (or punishment) of whatever surprise awaits them at the end of their turn. This can be special die that guarantees a player a certain range of numbers on a future roll, extra mini-stars (the new currency and ultimate determinate for the winner), or the activation of one of the 80 new multiplayer mini-games. The mini-games I competed in ranged from typical 1 vs. all matches, like “Pizza Me, Mario” where the goal was to be the first player to land their topping on all slices of a pizza spinning by, to the occasional 1 vs. 3 match -- which now scale depending on the amount of players since CPU controlled characters are not required to fill the available slots in any multiplayer outing. While these games have always been the heart and soul any Mario Party experience; they are by far the least unaltered. Where Mario Party 9 shakes up the formula the most, in this department, is with the addition of boss and mid-boss battles. No longer do players go in circles, trying to collect the most stars over a pre-set amount of turns; instead each stage is one big level (hence why Nintendo doesn’t refer to them as boards anymore) where a player’s goal is to be the one with the most mini-stars by the time they reach the Bowser gate and defeat his end level boss. These cooperative yet competitive battles, were by far some of the most engaging games I’ve had in a Mario Party title in quite some time; thanks to the mind games required to be used by players to be victorious. In the mid-boss battle during my preview, called “Whomp Stomp,” each player is given a section of a circular platform that sits in front of a giant menacing Whomp. To defeat the Whomp players must avoid his stomp and thus proceed to attack him with butt-stomps, on his exposed backside, until his life bar depletes. The psychology and most devious part of this battle comes prior to each opportunity to attack, when everyone casts a secret vote dictating how much the platform moves; either zero or one positions. Be the unfortunate person to be rotated in front of the Whomp, and watch your character get flattened, losing the chance to attack for mini-stars and possibly land the final blow for a nice little bonus. This and the end boss battle -- a fight against King Bomb-omb -- were by far the most fun I had with any mini-game since the tension and added strategy really upped the trash-talking. In fact my short time with Mario Party 9 -- it took roughly 45 minutes to finish a four-player match -- was some of the most fun I’ve had with the series since I burned holes in my palms with the series’ first endeavor. My only complaint, one I share with the Mario Kart series, was the stage’s cruel way of letting the player in last place catch up and steal my -- what I thought was an assured -- victory in the final rolls of the die. As the group makes it near the end of a stage, Bowser appears and litters most of the remaining spaces with his own diabolical squares. Landing on these squares can result in a player being forced to give some of their mini-stars to another player, or having to ante-up half of their stars towards the prize in a mini-game (something that cost me my 20 star lead one roll before the final boss fight). There’s is some less devious outcomes to the Bowser space, such as reverse mini-games, where you win by actually losing, but I found all the hard work I did in the beginning was highly susceptible to many of the hazards that plagued the end of the stage. Now granted I only had the chance to play one stage -- which I had blast doing until my luck ran out -- so I can’t really pass a fair judgment on the entirety of the game. Mario Party 9’s does a nice job of breathing some fresh air into a long, but stale series. While some fans may be turned off by the removal of the board game structure -- which to them I say go play any of the eight other entries -- I, for one, am looking forward to tackling more of the game’s new, adventurous party spirit when the game launches this March 11.
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It’s hard to believe that by the time Mario Party 9 releases on the Wii it will have been close to five years since the last game in the series landed on a home console. In fact, it’s a little crazy considering ...

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Have some new Mario Party 9 details


Feb 11
// Chris Carter
Mario Party legacy has dug up some interesting new Mario Party 9 news from German Nintendo magazine "N-Zone". Other than some standard info on a few mini-games that will be appearing in the game, we get some cold, hard f...
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Your new February Club Nintendo games are here


Feb 01
// Chris Carter
As you may have heard, Club Nintendo has raised their excitement level to eleven this year, and started offering actual games in exchange for play-coins. Step right up to Club Nintendo and pick up your two new digital offerin...
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Game SERIES Debate to the Death!Smash Bros VS Mario Party


Sep 22
// Tom Fronczak
Last week's debate made me pretty nervous. On paper, comparing a cartoony and speedy shooter to a realistic and slow stealth shooting game made perfect sense. But this was Metal Gear -- could any series compare with it in a d...
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PC World names the most offensive games of 2007


Dec 26
// Colette Bennett
2007 was a banner years for gaming, but that doesn't mean that tripe isn't being turned out at an equal pace. Some crappy games are hilarious though, and I think my world would be a different place without them. PC World has ...
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New footage and screens for Mario Party DS [Update]


Oct 15
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
I've lost track -- Is this the ninth or tenth installment of this series now? Sure, there has been a lot of sequels to this game, but the DS one should help in revitalizing the series. From the looks of the trailer and screen...

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