As the first entry of the long-running series on Wii U, Mario Party 10 brings more of the chaotic party game experience but in smaller and more watered down servings than its earlier predecessors.
Now in its 10 iteration, Mario Party has been going on for well over a decade, beginning back on the N64. Since the original game, each iteration has made incremental adjustments to the formula, like adding more boards, relying less on blister inducing motions for mini-games, introducing new gimmicks, etc… One of the more infamous changes to the series made in Mario Party 9 was an partial overhaul of the rules, which fundamentally changed how the game was played. In MP9, the standard looped game board structure was replaced with a linear map for each board, along with the decision to put all players in a kart and move together on the board rather than separately. Also, rather than collecting coins to buy stars, both of those collectibles were done away with in favour of a single mini-stars currency, earned in mini games and events.
As the direct sequel to Mario Party 9, it’s not much of a surprise that Mario Party 10 follows the structure set by the last game, also it does squash any hope long-time fans of the series might have had for a return to the game play of MP8 and earlier.Similar to MP9, or last year’s portable entry, Mario Party Island Tour, this newer, more streamlined structure sets to make each game more manageable and less of a massive time investment to complete a game. With over 70 minigames, there’s a decent variety of games to play, but with the newer mario party games, mini-games are only triggered when you land on a particular space, rather than being guaranteed a minigame at the end of each cycle of player turns. So, you’ll probably only get a handful of chances to play the mini games during a game, especially on the shorter boards where you could be done in just under half-an hour.
One of the main new additions in MP10 is the ‘Bowser Party’ where you can have up to 4 regular players vs 1 player on the gamepad, playing as King Koopa himself! This mode basically consists of a race to the finish line, with the normal players in the cart trying to get to the end before Bowser can catch up with them and reduce their hearts to zero. To give them a sporting chance, Bowser lets the mario gang have the first go at rolling the dice to try and put some distance between them. After their turn, Bowser gets a go at rolling the dice to catch up. If you don’t get a good roll on the first try, Bowser Jr pops up to give you another roll. When you do eventually catch up to the other players, they’ll have to battle for their lives in one of the various Bowser games at our disposal. If you’re the lucky one playing as Bowser, this mode can be a lot of fun since the games seemed to be more favorable to Bowser over the other players.
The other major mode introduced is the Amiibo Party where you can play on smaller game boards with your Amiibo (Amiibos?), which oddly enough is kind of a throwback to the old ways of mario party, with each character moving independently, while collecting coins to ultimately buy (full-sized) stars. Although, an odd quirk about this mode is the fact each player needs to tap their amiibo on the gamepad to preform any action, such as rolling a die, using an item or making a selection, which means you’ll have to crowd around the gamepad with your amiibos in hand, ready for your turn.