Mario Party 9 Review

Though an enjoyable addition to the series, Mario Party 9 is much too familiar and predictable.

by

If Mario Party 9 were an actual party, it'd be a high school reunion. You turn up, look around, see all your old friends, and think "Hey, you guys have changed!" But within five minutes, you realize that beneath the flashy clothes or new facial hair, they're much the same people. That is what playing Mario Party 9 feels like. There are changes, sure, and frequently, they're for the better. But the improvements are largely superficial. There's no getting around the fact this is the ninth console iteration of a bunch of minigames in a board-game wrapping, and after this many entries in the series, the formula feels tired.

Mario and friends traverse a series of themed boards, as usual.

The goal is to collect the ministars that can be picked up while moving around the board or won during minigames. Up to four players travel around the boards together on a vehicle. The player whose turn it is (the captain) controls the vehicle by way of dice rolls and can reap the rewards (or punishments) for being in charge. Each of the boards has a theme that comes complete with unique benefits (such as dolphins that lead you to bonus areas) and hazards (such as a hot potato bomb that drains the unlucky captain's stars).

Boards are littered with ministars that award either positive or negative points, depending on their color. Because the captain reaps all the rewards (or suffers the punishment) there is strategy involved in setting yourself up for a windfall. However, as is customary in the series, chance is the ultimate decider of who wins and loses. The luck factor is even more apparent when you land on a square with Bowser's picture emblazoned on it. These squares shuffle up the standings, potentially destroying any progress you've made. Random chance having such a huge impact on who wins is a serious detriment, and your tolerance for this unpredictability goes a long way toward determining how much fun Mario Party 9 is.

The minigames are where Mario Party 9 shines, and in the heat of competition you'll bump your opponents out the way to catch thrown hula hoops, chase each other down in a variety of vehicles, or leap across moving platforms. There are some more thoughtful, slower-paced challenges, too: memory games, jigsaw puzzles, and pattern-recognition tests. The majority of the minigames are a free-for-all, with every player for himself or herself, but sometimes the current captain has to face off against the other players working together as a team. These can be particularly rewarding, especially if you're the captain and manage to evade three friends all gunning for you.

The minigames can provide frantic fun for you and up to three others.

For the most part, the minigames rely on traditional directional pad and button controls, with the remote held sideways, though there are some exceptions. Those minigames that feature gesture or pointer controls are usually easy to get the hang of, so there's little to prevent inexperienced players from joining the fold. The single problematic minigame is one where you have to turn the dial of a safe--here, fussy controls needlessly complicate things.

Such problems thankfully don't exist in boss confrontations. Frequently, they have you competing against each other as much as the boss character, such as bouncing each other out of the way as you try to stomp Wiggler or rigging a rotating platform so a rival is in the path of an angry whomp. Each board features two boss fights and, much like the majority of the minigames, they are genuinely good fun.

The minigames make Mario Party 9 entertaining for a few hours, and there's enough content to make it worth coming back for more. But be warned: because luck is such an important factor, it's highly preferable to play with friends. It's easier to overlook the problems when you have a real-life companion to moan, shout, or throw picked onions at when you lose half of your stars in a way you couldn't avoid. In contrast, playing against the AI is a tedious and tiresome affair. Unfortunately, if you want to access all the content, you don't have much choice.

Mario Party 9 contains a single-player story mode, in which the nefarious Bowser and the equally nefarious Bowser Jr. have stolen the world's ministars. This serves as an hour-long introduction and isn't very engaging. Ringing up a victory is easy because you only have to stop one AI character from winning (rather than winning yourself), and each game lasts too long. Unfortunately, to unlock the sixth board and two of the 12 characters, you have to complete this mode, which is a frustrating requirement.

You can't shake the feeling you've seen this all before.

Beyond the Party mode and the tedious Story mode, there are a host of unlockables that can be purchased with party points (earned simply by playing the game). These include a Donkey Kong-themed board, new vehicles to traverse the boards in, and constellations to marvel at through a telescope (read: a waste of points until you've unlocked everything meaningful). The minigames are also playable by themselves, should you fancy diving right in with friends, and there are four extended remix games, including a rather good Hexic HD-like shape-swapping puzzle game.

Overall, Mario Party 9 is a decent package with a lot of content, even if the Story mode is something you'll wish you could avoid. It's colorful, good looking, and fun with others, but after so many games, the appeal just isn't going to last for many people. There's no denying that what Mario Party 9 does, it largely does well; it's just that it's largely been doing it well for nine console games and two handheld games. Once you've spent a few hours with mates, seen all the different boards, and played all the minigames, there's very little incentive to return. Much like that high school reunion, it is fun for a night, but you won't have any hesitation about moving on.

The Good
Fun multiplayer action
Wide variety of minigames
Cheerful, colorful visuals
The Bad
Little lasting appeal
Far too much emphasis on chance
Solo mode is tedious and required for unlocks
It's all too familiar
6
Fair
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89 comments
lordquasar
lordquasar

Why would a party game have a single player mode need to unlock stuff?

mruppel2
mruppel2

It's so ironic how the reviewers are controversial in all Mario Party reviews. First they complain about a thing, it gets fixed in the sequel, they complain about it again saying it was better on the previous one. At least consider the effort Nintendo is putting into fixing this game

Also "Far too much emphasis on chance" are you serious? Just go back and play the N64 ones to see how easy is to cheat and win, luck gives a fair chance to everyone.

matthova
matthova

I bought this with hesitation. The only other MP i have is #1 lol

drschplatt
drschplatt

The game is just one big pile of lazy game design. As an example, unlike in Party 8 where the candy gave you a lot of options to overcome bad luck, in Party 9 it's simply...roll dice and cross your fingers.  In Party 8, if you were really good at the mini games it made a difference.  In MP 9  I regularly win every mini game but lose on a regular basis because of all the luck based play. 


Also, who decided building a game around focusing on avoiding the negative instead of achieving the positive?  Most of the maps require you to simply hope your luck holds so that you don't lose half your stars every 4 rolls, or that you don't land on all the bad spaces.  There's no goal of trying to hit good spaces because the rewards pale in comparison to the punishments handed out in the game.


Lastly, why can't we play on teams?  Why do we all have to travel together instead of people moving around the board independently, choosing their own paths and playing their own strategy?  Why is it always "Do what the whole group does."  Cookie cutter game play and homogenization is simply lazy game design.

koolkid4327
koolkid4327

So many things wrong with this review... They say the formula is stale, but this completely reinvents Mario Party! You're not forced to play minigames at the end of Every turn, the games go by quicker (or longer, depending on how and who you play), there isn't really too much luck based; there IS a way to skillfully roll (it's easy for me to get 1 or 6, but 3's and 4's are a bit trickier), as well as choosing a certain spin on a Bowser space.
Also, the Boss Battles would constitute the first time you could play Cooperatively against a boss, which I've wanted in ANY game EVER, so it's amaaazing. Pluuus, it's no longer, get coins, rush to star, use items to immediately get to star, or steal star, or etc; it's get the greatest amount of these ministars, which are all over. So in previous games, you could have more coins, but not be able to find the way to the star before the opponents, and they would win (excepting bonus stars, but those are cool) and also, the absence of Boo houses, lack of circular board motion (race to the finish line instead) and so many other things make this game SOOOO much different than any Mario Party before it. Not saying it's the best ever, but it IS fresh and new, unlike the reviewer says.

Also, you don't have to go through Solo mode at all. I unlocked the Bowser level without stepping foot in Solo Mode, just by playing through party games multiple times. I think once on each board, or perhaps after ten.. I forget, but I didn't do solo o.o

It kinda sucks that there couldn't be any More modes, and that there's not much of a real storyline (after 9 iterations, still none...), and that there's hardly anything really worth buying after the DK board (which goes by incredibly fast), so I guess lack of content; but it provides a good amount of fun for experienced Mario Party players and new players alike. It gives all an equal chance, which is good :D

bullseye077
bullseye077

Mario Party 9 has some nice improvements like no longer shaking the controller to roll the dice. (still catch myself doing it). I never felt like the dice rolls were so much a problem as the game can smooth out the competition at any time. One visit with Bowser, and you can go from being 50 stars ahead of the competition to unable to catch up before the board is over. .Also sometimes it can take 30 minutes to complete a board. It felt like there should have been a save point in the middle.

Jhowkun
Jhowkun

it's time to a online Mario Party ):

ackmondual
ackmondual

As someone who plays more "modern board games"/"eugogames"/German-style board games like Ticket To Ride.  The amount of luck (especially for typical "roll and move" games) in the game was dissappointing. I'd get it for the mini-games, but not at the full $50 price tag, and alas, not if I have to spend alot of time unlocking stuff.

Rod90
Rod90

Buying this and COD togheter!!

Redley911
Redley911

Only fun up to four people .

Shytink8965
Shytink8965

I hope the minigames are more versatile. Right now, minigames in the past have been downright Boring.

toshineon
toshineon

"It's all too familiar.", and still, every Call of Duty installment gets a 9...

Shishio817
Shishio817

I'm quite disappointed in this installment, but we'll see where it goes from here.

shamguy4
shamguy4

mario party 9 is fun, but i agree, the dice dictate what you will do and there is no way around it. The only thing you can do is roll different type of dice in hopes of a better outcome. they should have chance and community chest sort of cards or items that you can use to prevent bad things from happening. For instance if you know you are going to land on a bad spot this turn or lose stars you should be able to play a special card that prevents you from losing any stars this turn. of course getting these items requires landing on a item spot and some of the items can be bad or rare. this gives an added strategy and a help to the randomness to even the odds

NaviJ
NaviJ

The chance aspect I totaly agree about but this mario party was quite a bit more different than most of the other corresponding games.

Herodthegreat
Herodthegreat

I think the whole reason they made this game was to get the number '9' out of the way so the Wii-U Mario Party could be named Mario Party 10.

Temperedelm
Temperedelm

Every MP before 9 was better than 9.

inso-maniac
inso-maniac

the mini games are better but the amount of luck in this game is rediculously increased compared to the others especially solo play. its more fun than skill based.

Wensea10
Wensea10

Lets hope that the minigames are greatly better than in 'Mario Party 8.'

Ceadre
Ceadre

I love Mario Party and fully agree with mysteriously. I do think 9 is worse than its predecessors, though. They had the perfect equation going for 8 installments: run around the board SEPARATELY trying to be the first to collect stars and get the most by the end of the game. Then they changed it for reasons to unknown, to all the characters riding in a single car and collecting "ministars". Nonetheless, it still keeps the party going. Plus, where do people get off claiming this is a stale series? At least they've spread it out over 12 years. Barely anyone plays Guitar Hero anymore for that reason, and Modern Warfare is the same rehashed crap with a different story and most people STILL just sit in a corner camping online all day and do the same thing they've done for 4 (I also count Black Ops) installments. So before you dock the people that enjoy one of the few good game series Nintendo has going, how about you go back and check your popularity-based reviews that are the same crap you claim Mario Party to be: STALE.

Ceadre
Ceadre

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

mysteriously
mysteriously

Mario Party is not really intended for us jaded adults to play and yet we do. We like it because it is the same. We have silly fun with friends and crush them in crazy mini games. What's wrong with that? The reviewer is harsh so he can maintain his street cred with the core gamer crowd.

silversix_
silversix_

Just like almost every Mario ever released. Fun for 30 minutes to 2 hours, after that u don't want to touch the game ever again.

Cocotroid
Cocotroid

Be thankful it wasn't Mc Shea reviewing it, or else the game would've gotten a score of 4.5 or lower.

Sunuva22
Sunuva22

fun to play with friends gets boring after a while but as long as you play with different people keeps it interesting

Even4life
Even4life

Whatever. The point of this game is to party, and it's done its job.

wiidsduelpack
wiidsduelpack

IGN gave it a 7 and said the same thing. Way too much luck

dklinger64
dklinger64

I wish they would make a Nintendo Party with mini games being segments of classic Nintendo games. Then you could see who really was the Nintendo Superstar! I do like this game though.

dxdevilex0
dxdevilex0

Okay now.We get it Gamespot.You dudes are too busy playing COD,now go back playing that.

ShadowofSonic
ShadowofSonic

Can't wait to scream, curse and flip the bird with this game. :P

x2rufff4u
x2rufff4u

9th? I really like the mario party series all the way back to the 1st on N64. Good times, good times. I'm actually glad they keep the same system because how the hell can you find a party game like this? You guys want to use the stupid wii characters they give on the system? Hellz no!! Real man stuff here!! Party it up. Get High, Drunk, the game is always fun sober or however you wanna play! MARIO PARTY 9 FTW!!!

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

@Gelugon_baat I have a feeling this is de ja vu over again. Since The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, I believe the gamers reached a new low: the power to change the staff reviews the way they want. But no matter how much will power they have, it won't change one bit. Anyway, keep on posting.

fluffy_kins
fluffy_kins

It's too bad that MP hasn't gotten revamped. 8 was just awful. I think they need to scrap the idea of "mario" party and just go for Nintendo party. Include all the characters, like Smash Bros... I think this could make for a much more interesting game.

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

Im gonna have to respectfully disagree with this review, just because its the 9th game, doesnt mean that the formula change should be ignored and should be slapped a recycled badge, the new competitive co-op really does the game justice with the new goal and overall better gameplay. Plus, most of the minigames ISNT a wagglefest but instead use the wiimote sideways with buttons. Its WAY too easy to bash this game JUST because its the 9th game in the series, as i said, the formula change revived the series from multiple rehashes. Having to compete with each others while also working co-operatively to beat the stage and its bosses gives a new experience and is very fun overall. You guys need to stop reminding yourselfs of the series name and enjoy the fresh new gameplay.

iPostMaReviews
iPostMaReviews

@Gelugon_baat hahaha I'll say whatever I want, suck it up if u don't like it cuz u're not stopping me

SoNin360
SoNin360

@wiidsduelpack I think the review did a good job justifying the score, and it's just one opinion anyway. By the way, how is a 7 a terrible score? 7 is good, but not great, and I'm not just mimicking GameSpot's labels for their scores.

wiidsduelpack
wiidsduelpack

From what I am reading, the game deserves a 7. A 7 is a real terrible score. Metacritic has it at 7.4. It is a terrible score

YoshiYogurt
YoshiYogurt

Oh come on.. this is a fun game that deserved at least a 7.0. Not a fan of the single cart play style. The point of the game was to get to the star first...

Paoksis
Paoksis

Mario Part 9? lol,when did the others come out

Mc_Trickz
Mc_Trickz

I got the game,i will look forward to this ;)!

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

That's the reality of videogames. Once something works, they try out different things without sacrificing the formula and it still works. But if there isn't any twist and turns, then the game wouldn't be fun. I don't know how many years between now and when Mario Party 8 first came out, regardless it's a fair game which can't seem to break out of its formula, not to offend the family and kids but like Morpheus said "Rules can be bent, others can be broken".

franzito
franzito

@Gelugon_baat Recycled stuff is everywhere in game's market and is inevitable even to set the tone for a lots of games. Because an ever-changing concept for gaming seems risky.

franzito
franzito

Whoa, Mario Party is still going on!?

FashionFreak
FashionFreak

Call of Duty MW3: 8.5 - "Multiplayer sticks closely to familiar formula" Mario Party 9: 6.0 - "It's all too familiar." "After this many entries in the series, the formula feels tired." Gamespot :lol:

mlcarter815
mlcarter815

@ackmondual What I don't get is that Mario Party has always been about luck. Mario Party has more luck than an Ameritrasher would even be able to handle. It's been that way since the N64.

ackmondual
ackmondual

@mlcarter815 @ackmondual 

Figures... I'll be avoiding the Mario Party series it seems.  The standard fare (New SMB Wii, SSBB, etc.) have all been "A material"

Mario Party 9 More Info

First Release on Mar 11, 2012
  • Wii
Mario Party 9 brings back the four-player board game mayhem with a bunch of new minigames.
7.2
Average User RatingOut of 154 User Ratings
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Developed by:
Nd Cube
Published by:
Nintendo
Genres:
Party/Minigame
Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
Everyone
All Platforms
Mild Cartoon Violence