Review: Mario Party 10 (Nintendo Wii U)
- Release Date (NA): March 20, 2015
- Release Date (EU): March 20, 2015
- Release Date (JP): March 12, 2015
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Nintendo
- Genres: Party
- ESRB Rating: Everyone
- PEGI Rating: Three years and older
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Mario Party 10 has a few offerings available for you right off the bat. You can choose to play regular party mode where you take on 3 AI or 3 other friends, and battle it out to determine who the ultimate champion of the mini stars is. Or, if you feel like having a small heart attack as a gigantic turtle chases you around a board game while attempting to murder you and take all of your stars, then you can jump right into Bowser party! And lastly, if you want to play something a bit simpler, and if you have a lot of plastic hanging around on your shelves in the shape of some classic Mario all-stars, you can play amiibo party! This review will be sectioned off to describe each of the 3 game types in turn, so how about we start off with the amiibo Mode?
This was the mode I was most interested in when I first heard of Mario Party 10 having the ability to use them. I have every available amiibo that can be used in the game currently (Wario has yet to be released), but decided to play mostly as my Rosalina amiibo since she’s one of my favorites.
Now to start this off, you may want to grab some tape, and tape that amiibo to your hand, because you are going to be smacking it onto your gamepad often in order to actually play the game. Make sure you have a Wii remote on hand as well, as you will only really use the gamepad to read the amiibo and tap on a token on screen that we will get to in a moment.
Tapping in your amiibo will start you on a board that corresponds to the amiibo you choose. In Rosalina’s case, this allows you to play on a galaxy themed board.
Once the game starts, you’ll have to tap the Amiibo to the gamepad to start the game, then tap the Amiibo to roll the dice, then if you land on a spinner, you’ll tap the Amiibo to stop the spinner on a random item, you’ll tap the Amiibo to use an item – y’know, it’s easier to just say you’re going to have to smack that Amiibo onto your gamepad to do literally anything.
It may not be that big a deal to some people but when you consider the read time it takes for an amiibo sometimes, it gets old pretty quick.
Amiibo party is a lot more simplistic than the normal party mode. Every character will roll the die, (there is only one 6-sided die), to circle the rather small board, and gather enough coins to buy a star. It’s very reminiscent of the old Mario Parties, but severely cut down and simplistic. There are little no interactions with the actual stage, with the only real events occurring from simple mini-events that give you a little extra spending money to buy stars.
The end of every round at least allows you to play a mini-game, so it has that going for it. Things may not be very fast-paced, but you’ll probably end up playing more mini-games here than actually playing the main boards themselves.
Upon winning in amiibo party, you’ll receive Mario Party Points that can be redeemed in the in game shop, as well as win a few cosmetic items for your in-game Amiibo. This allows you to customize the base, among other things, of the Amiibo and make it a little more unique while playing.
There are also tokens you can obtain while playing that switch up the way the board looks by maybe incorporating a piece of the Mario board into it, or allowing you to warp to a star. Either way, the board changes don’t really add much, and all in all, amiibo party really only serves as a dumbed down version of the main party modes. If you already collect amiibos, than this at least gives you the opportunity to use them in a new game, but it’s hardly worth it to actually buy an amiibo just to play this game.
Now to the main course of the game. First of all, the boards are all incredibly vivid and pretty, but I really wish there was a lot more to look at besides 5 game boards. While they may look great, the gameplay on the board is pretty lackluster. All of the boards are completely linear with the only end goal being to… get to the end. You collect mini-stars on the board itself and the player with the most will win the one star at the end of the board.
Many of the mechanics of Mario Party 9 return, including having all of the players play in the same vehicle and taking turns rolling one 6 sided die to move everyone along the board. This makes the game play a bit quicker, but the downside is the fact that not every turn ends in a mini-game anymore.
As a matter of fact, you can go a long while without playing a mini-game if you never happen to actually land on a mini-game space, or find a hidden mini-game block. This actually got incredibly frustrating as the AI, as well as my friends and I were itching to try and play some actual games on the main board, only to find ourselves letting out exasperated sighs as we passed one of the few mini-game spaces on the board.
When you actually do get to play a mini-game, a lot of them feel rather bland and overly-simplified. Some mini-games return that force you to just watch the screen and pay attention to how many Goombas walked by to see which group had more. Is… are we actually calling that a game? Of course, not every mini-game was terrible, and a lot of them looked and played fantastically, from obstacle courses to brawls on tight spaces.
Slightly irritating however, is the fact that all of these mini-games are played using only Wii remotes. I had expected Nintendo to at least deviate to using some of their pro controllers or other peripherals they offer, but instead it’s still back to the same old shake to win games and NES sideways controller style platformers.
The other downside is you have to deal with excruciatingly long loading times in between mini-games, and when you already feel like you’re slugging along in the first place, the last thing you want to deal with is bad loading times.
You can at least specify the type of mini-games you would like to appear in game, but even your options are pretty small. Your options are easy mini-games (really not sure how the game determines what is easy for everyone), No luck based mini-games or just “all,” mini-games.
It was quite disappointing to play through entire segments without hitting a single mini-game, but the boards at least all break off into segments that allow you to face a mid-boss, a sub-objective, and a final boss.
The boss mini-games are pretty cool actually, and easily the most competitive part of the game. From swinging into a mecha-koopa’s face, to shooting rockets in space at Kamek, you’ll easily get most of your enjoyment here in the boss games.
There are also outcomes at the beginning of every board depending on dice rolls. For example, in the airship level, once all sides of a die have been rolled, whoever rolls the last number that hasn't been rolled yet will release Bowser from a cage on the gamepad, and make him steal half of the mini-stars from the player. He will also riddle the board in bowser spaces that will force adverse effects on you if you land on them. The airship board also has Bowser’s airship follow you for a segment of the board, and take aim at certain spaces on the board. Landing on these spaces will cause you to lose mini-stars as he fires a Bullet Bill right into your face.
These small stage occurrences at least add to the variety of the game, and can typically turn the tides in a winning or losing battle.
Bowser Party will give you the chance to actually use the gamepad in gameplay, should you choose to play as Bowser that is.
This mode allows up to five players to play at a time, four on the Wii remotes, and one big turtle manning the gamepad.
The goal is to stay as far away from Bowser as possible while trying to hold onto your hearts and get to the end of the board. Unfortunately, you don’t even get to play this mode on all of the boards. Only three of the boards allow you to play Bowser Party on them.
Main players roll die to move their vehicle as far as possible while either picking up bonuses on bonus die spaces, or landing on lucky or unlucky spaces. These spaces can have positive effects like making Bowser lose one of the die he is allowed to roll, or can have negative effects such as forcing you to move back a few spaces.
Bowser is allowed to roll up to five die in order to attempt to catch up to the competition. If he manages to get his claws on you, you’ll be placed into a 1v4 mini-game that can favor either the players or Bowser. The goal of these mini-games is to attempt to survive Bowser trying to murder you basically.
Bowser games range from having all the partiers act as moles for Bowser's gigantic hammer to smack down on if they aren't careful, or slot machines that blast an onslaught of Bullet Bills if the slots happen to land on their face. The partiers can try their hardest to platform themselves to safety, but given the amount of control the player has as Bowser, it’s actually pretty difficult to survive his antics.
Playing as Bowser is pretty great, as it actually uses the gamepad to a pretty neat extent. Gyro controls to control flaming pillars, mashing the screen to swing down your hammer, all while behind the gamepads thick plastic so the other players can’t see what you’re doing.
All of this gives some pretty great versatility to the gamepad, but it left me wishing they had found a way to integrate it into more than just one game mode. Playing with the gamepad was the game’s greatest swaying point, so it was disappointing to see such a small use of it.
Mario Party 10 wants you to buy pretty much anything you want out of the game. The Toad shop is where you can purchase the only two characters that aren't available at the start, for 600 party points. It won’t take you long to rack up the points, but it feels pretty silly to just have to buy the characters, rather than do something special to unlock them. You can also buy new vehicles here to use when playing in the main game, songs, and models and backgrounds for the in game photo booth. The photo booth allows you to take some pictures with characters and things that you've bought in the store. I was hoping to be able to purchase some extra mini-games or something, but they don’t even offer you that option.
The game also has a bonus menu which allows you to play a couple of standalone games like badminton, a bejeweled like matching game called Jewel Drop, and the option to play some mini-game tournaments.
To be honest, my friends and I spent more time in the mini-game tourneys than anywhere else in the game. It was the only way to ensure we could actually just sit there and play a consistent stream of mini-games.
+ Fun use of the gamepad
+ Some entertaining minigames
+ Great visuals
- Amiibo functionality hardly worth it
- Lack of boards and gameplay options
- Infrequent ability to play minigames
- Lack of effort to play some games
Mario Party 10 at least looks great, but the presentation falls apart at the seams when it comes down to playing the game.
The minigames have some redeeming qualities to them, and there's still fun to be had with friends, but the fact that it takes a bonus game to really take advantage of all the mini-games is pretty disappointing.
The fortunate factor of Mario Party is that it has the appeal of being that game that you take over to a friends house to have fun together. It's definitely not a single player game, so if you bought it hoping to enjoy it all on your own, I'd say this lasting appeal score doesn't apply to you in the least.
out of 10
(not an average)
Mario Party has enough entertainment in it to still be a fun game to grab a couple buddies and play with, but given the choice, I'd easily pick older iterations over this title. The fact that you can go whole segments without even touching a mini-game and the hollow offerings of amiibo mode make this game a pretty big party pooper.