Mario Party 10

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The Mario Party se­ries is the very epit­ome of ca­sual con­sole gam­ing, tak­ing a se­ries of mini- games and wrap­ping them up in a board game style in­ter­face that’s per­fect for any so­cial get to­gether with nongam­ing friends. Or at least it used to be…

For this lat­est it­er­a­tion of the long- run­ning fran­chise Nd Cube and Nin­tendo SPD have made a few changes to the way the ac­tion un­folds, and while some of the new fea­tures work quite well, there’s a real feel­ing that the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” could have been more closely ad­hered to this time around. Of the ad­di­tions that work, Bowser party is far and away the best. In fact, it might even be the best ad­di­tion the se­ries has had for a long time. In this 5- player mode, one player takes the GamePad to con­trol Mario’s arch en­emy, while up to four ad­di­tional play­ers com­pete to see who can score the high­est. As Bowser at­tempts to foil the other play­ers, there’s a sense that he’s a tad over­pow­ered, and that’s fine, af­ter all he is a big, bad, cheat­ing brute, so it comes with the ter­ri­tory! Bowser Party rep­re­sents per­haps the best use of the Wii U GamePad to date - it’s in­tu­itive, slick and lots of fun. Just be­hind Bowser Party in the fun stakes is a game named Jewel Drop, found in the game’s bonus menus. It takes a Dr. Mario style colour match­ing en­gine and shakes it up, lit­er­ally, by adding an in­ter­est­ing an­gle that al­lows play­ers to shake the gems around to cre­ate mas­sive com­bos. The list of what doesn’t work here is, sadly, a bit longer. Ami­ibo mode could have been some­thing spe­cial, but in­stead it’s a tepid af­fair that tasks play­ers with tap­ping their Ami­ibo on the GamePad to do just about ev­ery­thing. There’s a lot of tap­ping to do and not much else when it should’ve been epic. Ad­di­tion­ally, rule changes in Mario Party mode have made it pos­si­ble, although very rare, to be able to play an en­tire game with­out play­ing a SIN­GLE mini- game. Why this was im­ple­mented I’ll gen­uinely never know, but it’s a com­plete dis­as­ter. Even when you’re not un­lucky enough to go a game with­out land­ing on a mini- game square, the games are far too thinly spread, and it of­ten feels like a slog to get through. Mario Party 10 has some nice new ideas, sadly most of them don’t work. If you’re happy enough to play through the minigames in­di­vid­u­ally with­out wor­ry­ing about mak­ing your way around the board or declar­ing a win­ner, then there’s fun to be had from some of the in­ven­tive new game types, but oth­er­wise this is a damp squib if ever there was one.

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