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Mario Party 10 review


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There's been a bit of a drought lately of really great games to play with a room full of friends.  I haven't had the urge to buy a new Wii U game since Super Smash Bros Wii U, so Mario Party 10's launch was something I've been waiting for.  The Wii U has had a hard time justifying its design structure from its launch.  With a bulky mainstay controller that is essential to system operation, yet an afterthought for most games, it's had a hard time finding a niche.  Nintendoland, the first pack-in game, while a great tech demo for launch, couldn't quite convince the average consumer that the Wii U was a console that they couldn't live without.  I had always believed that a new Mario Party game was as inevitable as a new James Bond film, and when the time came, it would really dazzle and shame the naysayers.  It has arrived and, sadly, is merely limping along rather than strutting proudly.


I guess when a game series hits its tenth title, the magic tends to wane a la Final Fantasy.  With a variety of options for gameplay gimmicks to influence multiplayer mayhem, the Wii U seemed like the perfect opportunity to revive the series rather than simply continue it.  Sadly, this is not the case.  I'll be clear - I've not played the series since MP4 on the Gamecube, so I may not be the best judge of the series' progression.  All the same, I quit caring because the same old formula had gotten stale and nothing of value seemed to replace what had once been so euphoric.  If you've adored the series up to this point, feel free to take my opinions with a grain of salt, but Mario Party is showing its age.


One of the cardinal complaints of the series from the very beginning (aside from friction-based appendage mangling injuries) is that victory is based so obscenely upon luck.  The board game aspect of the earlier titles left you at the mercy of the dice.  What kept fans coming back was that intense competitive factor, that minigame performance could rescue you.  Mario Party had always featured a board game structure to the gameplay, but the minigames were the entire point.  In the same way that old Nickelodeon game shows were all about the mess rather than the quiz questions, Mario Party was all about the mayhem of turning the game to your advantage through deceit and underhandedness.  Those days are gone.  Mario Party 10 treats minigames like an afterthought.  The best parts of the series have been jettisoned to make room for everything players always hated.  The sadistic thrills of triple-teaming someone in Grab Bag or the humor of listening to a profane rant against how stupid or unfair Slot Car Derby is are both gone.  What started off as a really great way to cherish friendship (or end it)  has turned into an interactive Candyland.  The argument that Nintendo makes games for all ages fails miserably here.  The core gameplay of Mario Party 10 is shallow and unsatisfying. 


Luckily, there's an aspect to this title that is still worthwhile and that is 'Bowser Party'.  If you've seen any commercials, then you've already heard that the player with the huge gamepad can play as Bowser against the other four players.  This lives up to the hype in pretty much every way.  Bowser Party is basically a game mode made entirely out of screwing over your friends in the name of victory.  The goal of the typical four player group is simply to reach the end of a minefield of a game board of horrible traps and pitfalls while being pursued by a fifth player hellbent on their destruction.  The four of them all add their dice rolls together to put distance between themselves and their pursuer, who gets four dice.  Whenever that fifth player catches up with the group, everyone plays a Bowser event, which heavily favors their enemy.  Victory requires not only skill at survival, but minipulation of game mechanics and psychological warfare.  It's obvious that this was the spark of genius at the center of this game's development.


The final game mode is Amiibo Party.  Amiibo party is a tacked-on gamemode that sucks which exists only to sell Amiibos.  It no doubt took precious development time away from the better features of this game resulting in such a lackluster overall title and the management staff who so cynically banked on its ability to sell Skylanders ripoffs need to be beaten with rusty rods of rebar until they repent for their crimes. 


In all seriousness, though, a real selling point of the game was horribly mishandled here.  Imagine having a basic Mario Party-styled game mode where everything was just as it was when all was fresh and new in 1998, but with HD graphics and 17 years of great ideas supporting it - Mario Party as you always remembered it.  Now imagine shoehorning in Amiibos into every aspect of this game mode to justify their existence.  You'll need to touch your figure to the gamepad constantly to activate the most mundane of commands, from starting turns to rolling the dice.  If you need to take a leak when its not your turn, you'll be left wondering if you need your Amiibo for that.  Ergonomics and functionality are important in the world of consumer electronics - someone please tell Nintendo that.


In closing, Mario Party is actually less worthwhile than Nintendoland for multiplayer fun and isn't worth consideration until it reaches the same $20 price tag, even with the bonus features added on.  I certainly don't recommend buying Amiibos for this thing.  The one saving grace is that the Amiibos of any characters here who also make appearances in Super Smash Bros will be interchangeable between the two games.  If someone really wants to justify their purchase of a new Gold Mario Amiibo, they could always just train it to beat the living hell out of them in what is a far superior game in regards to both content and quality. 


Mario Party 10 is a tragic waste of potential and a Grade C game at best.

Edited by VladPiranha
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