Mario Party 9 – What to take of this recent new information?

                After patiently (or even impatiently) sitting down awaiting new Mario Party 9 information, a new path in that road of wait opens up, and on the other side of that road is new information regarding a game from a series that fans deem to need “fixing.” This information came as a surprise (as Nintendo usually does to its fans), and that information was, well, informative. The release date was confirmed as Sunday, March 11, 2012 for a North American release (with a European release sometime during the same month), and that is somewhat of a shocker for me to say the least. Sure it was announced at E3 2011; however, we didn’t receive many updates on it at all until now, almost 3 months before release. I’m hoping that this game is not being rushed, because this could be the game to decide whether Mario Party fans would remain loyal to the series or just lose hope in ever seeing a Mario Party game which keeps them wanting more. It’s a lot like the mini-game Cut from the Team, they take a chance to get it right to see the reactions of the players.

Choose wisely developers, you don't want it to be curtains for you.....

With that out of the way, there’s more info on the new Party Mode mechanic introduced to the Mario Party series, travel via vehicle! All four characters will be traveling around the board for some team work action in order to overcome the evil that lurks elsewhere in the board. Whether it is King Boo or Bowser, everyone playing in this particular style will need to pitch in to defeat the enemies that roam about. Though this solves the issue regarding some people complaining about waiting times, it seems to limit how much you can do in a game. If you’re playing Single Player, you can only put 25% of the decisions made, and that will make it pretty difficult to win the board map given the idea that even while traveling as one group, you still are trying to defeat everyone else (in the vehicle). I would like to see how that will work out. They want to keep us always involved; however, though it might be a new idea, it detriments the amount of freedom.

You're all together, but you are still trying to defeat each other apparently

Boss battles aren’t necessarily new to the series, but if everyone’s involved as this quote claims them to be:

“For the first time in the Mario Party franchise, each stage culminates in a Boss Battle. Collectively, players must combine their strength to defeat classic foes such as Bowser™ and King Boo-”

then this indeed would be something new. I do hope it isn’t something too easy to complete. Although I imagine that the difficulty of each boss battle will be based on the difficulty of the CPU’s, what if there are 4 human players? If you can play together in one vehicle as a 4-player team (with respect to human players), how will the game be able to determine the difficulty of the boss battle? Skill level? The amount of coins or stars collected? Hope for that to be correctly answered soon.

Another thing was mentioned, but this time regarding the play through of the board maps. The boards apparently

“[have] a clear destination point but with multiple paths along the way, so no two games will play the same.”

Ok that’s nice, but each board has an ending to it? Or will that just be with respect to the new vehicle travel mechanic? Hopefully, there will also be a classic form of party mode play, because this new mechanic doesn’t seem like the games will last very long. It’s like taking the idea of Goomba’s Booty Boardwalk and fitting it with the rest of the boards while also forcing you to stop at the end of the map.

One path, but different ways of maneuvering that path. Not sure if that's the jackpot per se...

The mention of 80 new mini-games wasn’t surprising at all. I wasn’t expecting a larger collection of mini-games since most Mario Party games topped out below 90 total mini-games. As for the supposed “new mini-game modes,” I have a feeling that they’ll be good to deal with, since this usually isn’t a problem in a Mario Party game. Mini-game mode game play usually is where a lot of people spend good time on, so these modes should keep the player entertained and wanting to play more mini-games whether they are chosen at random, by vote or by choice.

These were good bits of information on Nintendo’s part, so we can expect more from the Big N as we roll into 2012!