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"Mario Party 9" Review: Is the Party Over?

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A "gamer" since way before the term was coined, I have been playing video games in one form or another since the 1980s.

Mario Party 9 Video Game Review

Mario Party 9 is yet another game in the highly popular franchise from Nintendo. The Mario Party series has been in the homes of gamers since 1998 and since its introduction on the Nintendo 64.

A large group of gamers, old and young alike, have become fond of Mario Party and its fairly predictable style of gameplay. Mario Party 9 attempts to reimagine some pivotal aspects of the game, but there's a fine line between ingenuity and failure.

This article will point out a few of the reasons why Mario Party 8 may be the better choice of the two video games.

Cover art for Mario Party 9

Cover art for Mario Party 9

Both Sides of Mario Party 9

Mario Party 9 remains a highly creative and fun collection of minigames that are reinvented with every new installment. This game doesn't fail to include new minigames that are often reminiscent of the old games that players to this day still revisit on occasion. The introduction of new aspects of the minigames system is the most innovative in this series since the introduction of Mario Party 8 on the Wii. With new additions of boss battles, reverse minigames (where you race to lose first), and more thought-based challenges, this is by far the most diverse game when it comes to minigame options.

However, getting to play the minigames is where the game falters a bit. Many fans of the Mario Party series have grown to know the simple dice and board game style of every game so far. You roll a dice, decide where you want to move, land on a spot, and something happens. Then everyone joins together at the end of the round to play minigames for coins, and another round starts again.

For this installment, Mario Party 9 opts to remove the solo character movement style, instead using a team movement style to move around the board. There are no rounds. Instead, there is a common goal at the end of the board to decide when the game is over. Since there are no rounds, there are also no group minigames at the end of each round either.

The predictability of the previous style is lost with these changes, along with any strategy that may come with it.

Mario Party 9 Thwomper Room

Mario Party 9 Thwomper Room

What Happened to the Coins and Candy in Mario Party 9?

Another big change involves removing any coins and candy and instead using ministars and blocks for advantage. This results in a dumbed-down game that relies more on luck than strategy. Considering that ministars are found on the board (and lost too), there is less reliance on winning minigames and using candy to your advantage.

You can win the game without ever even coming in first for minigames if you stumble upon the right luck. In other installments, receiving bonus stars at the end of the game for various reasons can often turn an entire game around. Instead of using this same method, the designers decided to use bonus ministars that have very little effect on the ending unless the game was close in the first place. Which it usually isn't.

Playing the game with other people is much more enjoyable than playing the one player mode, mainly because the computer gets so "lucky" at times that it is plain suspicious in solo play. It can be very frustrating when you spend the entire board in the lead, then an uncontrollable event happens and you lose a great portion of your ministars.

Mario Party 8 Chump Rope

Mario Party 8 Chump Rope

Final Verdict on Mario Party 9

Mario Party 9 still gives players a great group of creative and fun minigames.

New aspects of the game help to refresh the experience for those who are long-term fans of the game. However, the dumbed-down feeling of the game can leave fans unsatisfied when comparing it to memories of previous games.

The new group movement style is a major downgrade for the game, taking out strategy and replacing it with luck.

This game seems more directed at younger players, which is very unfortunate for gamers who have made very positive memories off of the games earlier in the series.

Mario Party 9 gets a 6 out of 10 (on a good day).

While there are redeeming qualities of the game, the new aspects bring the overall experience down greatly.

I suggest picking up Mario Party 8 before spending any money on this one.

Mario Party 9 Video Trailer

© 2012 Hal Gall

Visitor Guestbook - Please Leave a Comment!

Whatsittoyou from Canada on March 28, 2013:

Completely agree about Mario Party 9 being a disappointment. I have played all of the others in the series with my niece and they were great. Hopefully they will go back to the old game style for # 10

audrey07 on February 26, 2013:

I used to play Mario Bros when I was a teen. Now, I have a PS3 and do not have any of the Mario games. I'm sure some of them are great games to play, especially for kids.

TransplantedSoul on February 25, 2013:

In spite of its fairly simple graphics, Mario will have a lasting place in gamer history.