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Mario Party 10 – Wii U

Mario Party 10 – Wii U

Mario Party 10Platform:  Wii U

Release Date (NA):  March 20th, 2015

Developer:  Nd Cube, Nintendo

Publisher:  Nintendo

Genre:  Party Game

Nerd Rating:  8 out of 10

After the lukewarm response to Mario Party: Island TourI was a little concerned about the future of the franchise, though I was excited to finally see an installment drop for the Wii U.  This is the fourth game in the series developed by Nd Cube, who really shifted the entire style of play from Mario Party 8 onward.  Mario Party 10 is still the same “Mario Party” that we’ve been used to for several years now, and although it doesn’t mark any leaps and bounds for the series, it is a solid entry that makes good use of the Wii U’s new features and spices things up with an entirely different mode.  I know that Nintendo has never put a ton of focus into online gaming, but out of all major Wii U releases so far, Mario Party 10 would seem like a prime candidate for online multiplayer behind Super Smash Bros. Wii U and Mario Kart 8.  Unfortunately, local multiplayer is as good as it gets.

Mario Party 10Those who’ve played Mario Party 8 and 9 will instantly recognize the standard Mario Mode.  The crew makes their way through any one of a few courses, a roughly linear path, while trying to collect Mini-Stars along the way through minigames and other chance events.  Outside of the minigames, gathering up stars is mostly a matter of luck.  They can be found lying around, awarded (or taken away) randomly, or massively redistributed through Bowser and Bowser Jr. events.  These incident have a slightly “unfair” vibe to them, but barring serious bad luck, typically the most skilled player will end up on top.

The courses are a little livelier this time around, but instead of relying wholly on a gimmick, the courses gradually increase in difficulty.  And by “difficulty” I mean more opportunities for “bad luck” and less for “good luck,” with any number of mechanics (Boo’s, rising lava, etc.) thwarting one’s attempt to gather Mini-Stars.  Luckily these hardships will generally affect all members of the party equally, so never at any point is a certain player relentlessly targeted.

Mario Party 10

Minigames may play a secondary role in the objective, yet they’re often one of the most fun parts of the game.  Between the Battle Minigames, the 2 vs 2, the 1 vs 3, and the 4 on 4 modes, there’s a huge variety – some are based on platforming techniques, others require speed or timing, and then others use the versatility of the WiiMotes and/or GamePad (in Bowser Mode).  Most of them strike a reasonable balance of luck and skill, though the Battle Minigames, where the most is at stake, still tend to lean heavily on luck, and the 1 on 3 games tend to favor the lone player just a tad.  This collection of minigames may not be the most memorable in the series – the developers seem to have played it safe – but they are fun, well designed, and diverse.

Mario Party 10

Most of these minigames are simple but effective – in this case, all the player needs to do is jump up into oncoming fish!

The biggest new feature in Mario Party 10 is Bowser Mode.  Supporting up to 5 players, it pits Bowser against Mario’s team.  One player can control the entire team, or one can control Bowser, or 2 people can control 2 members of the team, or one can control Bowser and the other the team, etc.  I think the adversarial approach to this mode is great – the players are trying to get to the end, and it’s Bowser’s mission to wear them down (via taking their allocation of hearts) before they reach the goal.

Mario Party 10

Bowser stalks a very nervous Team Mario.

Bowser Mode plays out a lot like a typical round of Mario Party, except that the players aren’t in competition with each other and Bowser gets a turn each round as well.  He attempts to catch up with the players; when he does, special minigames are played where the players must avoid being “hurt” or risk losing hearts.  Lose all your hearts?  You can still roll for your team, but you’re not able to participate anymore, and it can make it even more difficult for your remaining companions to outrun Bowser on subsequent turns.  There are also other fun twists and turns yet to be seen in a Mario Party game.  If playing as Bowser, the player gets to use the GamePad to try to influence the decision of Team Mario, be it on which pathway to take, which treasure chest to open, etc.  It’s a moot point against the computer, but if you’ve got at least 2 human players (one as Bowser and one on Team Mario), there’s a fun little psychological element to figuring out the “right” choice versus the “wrong” one.

Bowser Mode breathes some new life into the series; unfortunately the cracks start to show after a few sessions.  Actually outrunning Bowser becomes almost impossible.  Even when Team Mario gets an excellent roll or reduces Bowser down to 3 dice, Bowser Jr. comes a long and gives dear ol’ dad another die or offers him a reroll.  This means that survival ultimatly rests on negotiating a relatively small number of minigames over and over.  Worst of all, about half of them rely on blind luck.  With a little more fine tuning this could become a staple of future games.  It just needs a little attention to balance.

Mario Party 10

In addition to the “Super Mario” series Amiibo, a few other characters will unlock boards as well, like Rosalina, Wario, and Donkey Kong.

The other big feature added to this installment is Amiibo Party, and quite frankly this is one of the best uses of the Amiibo figurines so far.  Any and all Amiibo of characters from the game, including Bowser, are compatible.  These characters are responsible for large amounts of exclusive content, for instance each character has a “token” that can unlock a game board unique to that character.  The board is divided into 4 segments, so if enough human players are in on the action (Amiibo can’t be used for CPU players) or a single Amiibo has found enough tokens, the boards can be arranged in all sorts of interesting ways.  This highly customizable mode is also closer in gameplay to older installments of Mario Party whereby the player moves in a roughly circular path and aims to acquire as many stars as possible, normally by paying for them with coins earned throughout the game.

Mario Party 10

Amiibo Party mode is great for those who want a slightly more traditional Mario Party experience, though it does require compatible Amiibo to play, and there’s not much room to tweak the settings.  Still, it’s nice to change things up and I’d love to see this expanded on more in the future, perhaps with wildly different boards for each character.  Interestingly enough, if one uses the Bowser Amiibo in this mode, it turns it into something similar to Bowser Mode where characters compete not only against each other but must contend with the Bowser minigames as well.  It’s a bit unfair for the the unsuspecting youngster in the room, but it can provide a real challenge to a conscientious gamer.

Mario Party 10

Bonus content is minimal, relegated mostly to music, different vehicles for the stages (no bearing on gameplay), the “Master” difficultly level, and a couple of characters.  I was disappointed that there wasn’t anything like the carnival cards from or the stars/constellations from 9.  Previous games at least offered some kind of incentive to keep earning Mario Party Points, but you won’t need all that many this time around to get the really good stuff.

There are a few differences this time around.  First of all, the bonus stars awarded at the end of the game don’t have quite as much bearing as before since only 2 (instead of 3) are given.  The AI also feels more realistic, making for a more enjoyable experience during the minigames and moving around the board in general.

Graphically Mario Party 10 delivers about what we’d expect at this point; there’s nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary happening, just the smooth and vibrant renders that we’re more or less accustomed to on the Wii U.

Mario Party 10

A great looking course!

Overall Mario Party 10 is a solid step forward for the series.  Having a few different modes to throw around is something that the series has needed for a while now, and this game manages 3 such modes that provide ample variety while retaining the core Mario Party experience.  It’s also nice to see the Amiibo act as more than save states for the CPU AI.  Party games may not appeal to everyone, and if that’s the case, I don’t think Mario Party 10 will do much to change your mind, but if you’ve had fun with the last few entries, you should have a great time with this one as well.

Reviewed by The Cubist

Mario Party Series
Main Series

Written by The Cubist

The Cubist

Co-founder, Head Author, & Site Technician

Find out what these ratings mean and how I rate video games.

I collect as much video gaming paraphernalia as I can get my hands on, especially when it comes to hardware. With over 40 systems including oldies like the ColecoVision and Intellivision, obscurities like the CD-i and 3DO, and the latest and greatest including the Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, and PS Vita, I get easily overwhelmed. Most of the time you can find me firmly nestled sometime between 1985 and 1995 when it comes to my games of choice, but I’m also having a great time seeing what the 8th generation has to offer.

Currently in love with: Mortal Kombat

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One Comment

  1. Steroid Gamer
    Steroid Gamer says:

    Still can’t believe this game is missing online multiplayer. I mean this has got to be one of Nintendo’s dumbest moves in recent history.

    A game that is specifically designed for multiplayer, yet it’s restricted to local play only? Yeah, Reggie that makes a ton of sense. SMH.


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