e all have those undesirable yet mandatory moments in our lives. Actors have to sit in the makeup chair for an hour before a shoot. Plumbers have to plunge clogged toilets. Politicians have to deal with other politicians. As a video game journalist, my cross to bear is having to play Mario Party sequel after Mario Party sequel. At least this time, I get to try to warn you against doing the same thing. Don’t play this game.
Even at its most basic level, Mario Party is flawed. Yes, you play minigames against the other players. However, the reward for winning or consequence for losing is nil. If I win, I get a handful of coins. If I lose, someone else gets those coins. The thing is, coins as a whole don’t mean a darn thing in the game – it’s stars that you’re really after. Strange then that 90% of the game deals with coins changing hands, and stars are treated as an afterthought. Of course, I spent 90% of my time with Mario Party 5 riddled with thoughts that I need a raise for having to play this clump of dung. Again, don’t play this game.
At least some of the minigames, even without any motivation to win them, are passable. It’s doubtlessly harder to make quick gaming scenarios for multiple users than it is to craft single-player thrills like Wario Ware’s. Many are unimaginative, and you’ll be repeating a few of them even if you only play through once, but they are by far the best part of this title. I think the most creativity went into those games where it’s one player against everyone else. If this series became Mario Minigame – without any of the slow, tedious, painful board game elements – it wouldn’t be quite as rancid, though it would still stink. But, as is, you shouldn’t play this game.
Any semblance of strategy will eventually fail you – sooner rather than later. Basically, the rules are rubbish. This is because there are so many variables that alter the course of the game at the drop of a hat. Coins get redistributed, the star moves to another part of the board, and any power-ups you may collect are easily swiped from your hands. Of course, the best strategy is to not play this game.
Like Pavlov’s dogs, I may have become subconsciously ingrained to wince every time I play Mario Party. However, I need only see the looks of abject horror on the faces of any newbies playing the game with me (i.e. Jeremy and Adam) for the first time to know this is universal. The only laughs come from knowing your friends are suffering the same punishment as you are. They have to see the same save screen after every turn. They have to deal with the homestretch taking even longer than the early portion of the game. They’re cursing this to anyone within earshot, just like you.
Don’t play this game. Seriously. Maybe then, Nintendo will get the message, and this scourge of software will disappear from existence once and for all. You make all the difference. You vote with your wallet. Just say no to Mario Party. Thank you.