The Mario Party series was at one time infamous with some gamers as a one of the more uninspired franchises out there. Its been almost five years since the last console Mario Party and it looks like Nintendo used this time to reexamine the series and discover some new approaches. Here are five big changes we found after playing one round of Mario Party 9.
We're all in this together?
It was easy to get lost in Mario Party, with players walking around a stage sometimes on the complete opposite side of the board from the rest of the group. That confusion has been alleviated now that all the characters move as one in a single vehicle across the board. It renews the focus of a playthrough, though some former Mario partiers might think it simplifies things too much.
The stars at night...
The economy of Mario Party has been greatly changed and definitely for the better. No more are players battling over a handful of precious stars, as those have been helpfully replaced with mini-stars. Youll be collecting dozens of them in a single game, making things feel much more competitive and cutting down on the randomness of how stars were once awarded. We felt we had a much greater influence over our chances of winning.
Do not pass Go
More purpose is added to each board thanks to a healthy dose of linearity. No longer does each match last a set number of turns and focus on characters running in circles, as the now grouped together players move through a stage in more a less a straight line. A game isnt over until you move from point A to B, reaching each boards definitive conclusion. This update may separate the series from its Monopoly roots, but we liked the change of pace.
Remember how we said each board had a definitive ending? That has to do with any given stage featuring a final boss as well as mini-bosses. Each boss battle is as randomly selected as the minigames throughout a given playthrough, only they have much more gravitas. With all the players focused on attacking the same enemy, its a nice alternative to the constant battling for supremacy. The boss battles add variety to the minigames, lending each stage a more dramatic conclusion than ever before.
But boss battles arent all teamwork and sunshine, as you score points for dealing the most damage and hitting the finishing blow in a boss battle. You score bonus mini-stars for taking out the boss, a nice way that the game further emphasizes skill over dumb luck, which was one of the biggest issues with previous Parties. You want to be the best at all times because skill matters more than ever, making you care more than ever about the outcome of each minigame. Well see around March 11 if all these changes pay off in the long term, but right now were more interested in a new Mario Party than we ever thought wed be.