It's Mario time!
I thought I'd write about something more light-hearted than Mass Effect this time, so I decided I'd do one of my rare reviews. I'm going to talk about Mario Party 9. My boyfriend and I have been playing it a lot lately, and quite frankly it's a lot of fun. There are a couple major flaws with the game, though. We'll get to those in a bit, but first I'd like to talk about what I do like.
No coins/stars system.
I'm sure some people don't like that this has gone by the wayside, but I like that it's new. The coin/star system was getting tired and this is a welcome change. The new mini-star system makes even one mini-star feel important. Coins felt relatively worthless in prior games, and this solves that issue.
Everyone moves together in a car.
This is very weird at first and hard to get used to, but it's actually really awesome. It's really fun trying to figure out ways to screw your friends over, and this makes it a lot easier to do so. Plus, it allows some new dynamics to come into play, like the "captain" (the player whose turn it currently is) and mad dashes away from danger.
Maps are fresh and new.
It's fun trying to run away from rising lava, forcing others to be attacked by sharks, or trying to make it your turn when fighting a boss so that you gain a bonus, and these are just some of the things you can do in the new game. Simply put, the mechanics feel fresh.
All in all, the multi-player party feature is awesome, and makes up for the huge flaws in the rest of the game (though this is probably because you won't often be playing by yourself). Flaws, you say? Oh, indeed so.
Single player is the exact same as multiplayer.
There's not much to say about this except that it's really not that fun. Who wants to play a Mario Party map by yourself? There's a bit of "story" thrown in there, like how you are coming to get Bowser and are going through all the maps to get to him, and Bowser gets angry and sends minions after you. However, the maps are the exact same. The only difference is that your fourth player is Shy Guy, who is playing for Bowser. If he wins, you're screwed. So far, the only benefit I see to playing the single player campaign is earning new characters, which is the ONLY way to do so. Which leads me to...
There's not much to do with your earned mini-stars.
Sure, you can spend them on stuff, but not much. After you buy the one new level or master difficulty for a computer, you're left with different cars to ride in on the maps or star constellations (which do absolutely no good to purchase). I would have liked to see a large character roster that you could purchase with your mini-stars, instead of the current options and a couple extra characters only unlock-able via the story mode.
You still can't play online.
I really thought Nintendo would have added online play this time around since Super Smash Bros had it and did it relatively well, considering the Wii's limited system. Even though the Wii doesn't have a great online gaming system, I still would have played this while Skyping or using Facetime with friends. It would have been a nice addition to be able to play with real people when you have no one to play with at your own house. /Sigh.
The game is a solid installment in the Mario Party series. It's fun, and the multiplayer has a welcome facelift. I just wish the single player did, too.