Mario's been partying with his friends for over sixteen years. However, his latest mini-game get-togethers have disappointed guests simply because he used to throw better shindigs back in the day. Now that the tenth installment is out, is it worth joining in on the fun or are you better off being a party pooper?
Mario Party 10 includes a few main modes and plenty of extra content to keep you from ditching the festivities early. Mario Party mode is similar to Mario Party 9 where four players travel through a game board together in a vehicle and try to get the most stars by playing mini-games and having oodles of luck. Bowser Party teams up four players against Bowser who can optionally be controlled by another player. The team must outrun Bowser by rolling high because if he catches up, he'll do some damage. Each player has their own health points and when they run out, that player is removed from the team. To sum it all up, it's basically an interesting take on the Mario Party mode where either Bowser or the team of players wins. Finally, you can play with your amiibo in a more traditional Mario Party match. That being said, the amiibo boards could not be more simplistic which ends up taking away from the experience that you're used to.
One area in which Mario Party 10 excels is its aesthetics. As the first HD iteration, it looks fantastic. Every pixel feels alive with vibrant colour, each of the five boards is full of personality, and many guest characters pop up to add even more classic Mario charm. The characters look incredible and their animations do a great job of reflecting their moods. You'll hear many new versions of familiar Mario songs, so there's more than enough nostalgia to keep fans engaged. Overall, it's simply a celebration of all things Mario and that always makes for a great time. You'd have to be a wallflower to not appreciate the sights and sounds of this party.
Mario Party 10 unfortunately brings over some disappointing aspects from recent installments. Earlier titles pinned you and your friends against each other in a battle royal fight to the bitter end which made for exhilarating multiplayer gameplay. However, this time around you (again) have to traverse the game boards together in a vehicle. This takes a lot of the competitive spirit away since you're mostly just along for the ride. Bowser Party further disappoints with counterintuitive mechanics that'll literally have some players waiting on the sidelines. That's right, when a player runs out of health they just sit off to the side. Sure, they can provide bonuses for the remaining players, but who cares at that point? Another issue is that the only time that you get to play a mini-game is when Bowser catches up to you. This is bad because you'll probably lose some health points but it's ironically the only fun part of the game. Besides that, you're just rolling dice. On a positive note, the amiibo mode may be a shallow version of older Mario Party games, but it's still the classic mechanics that everyone knows and loves. Considering you can save data such as earned tokens to your amiibo and actually play as them, this is the best implementation of amiibo support yet which should be great news for anyone who has at least one of them to play with.
The seventy-plus included mini-games are mostly of the quality that you would expect from a Mario title. You'll find yourself fighting to have your picture taken, keeping track of donuts on Goombas' heads, setting off Bob-omb chain reactions, and competing in many other silly events. Probably the most enjoyable mini-games come in the form of boss fights where you try to damage the bosses more than the other players. These take the form of classic Mario enemies and are a ton of fun to beat. Also contained in this package are a handful of extra games that are an amusing distraction. These consist of Badminton for up to four players, a puzzler named Jewel Drop for up to two players, and a couple of single player challenges against Bowser Jr. Of course, you can always play a selection of mini-games in a tournament, free play mode, coin challenge mode, and even ten of the big guy's mini-games in Bowser Challenge. That's a lot of ways to play, so even if you don't like the boards, there's still no excuse not to have a good time.
Although Mario Party 10 may not be the best one of the bunch, it still features a large assortment of enjoyable games layered with plenty of fan-pleasing experiences. If you leave your cynicism at the door, this is one party that you'll surely enjoy.
- + Fantastic graphics brimming with Mario charm
- + Mini-games are as fun as they have always been; especially the boss fights
- + Best amiibo implementation to date
- - Board mechanics minimize the competitive spirit of the earlier games
- - Multiple issues with Bowser Party can make gameplay feel dull and tedious