Mario Party 8 seemed to struggle to find the balance between motion games and classic remote games. The game concepts were not captivating and some were just lazy. So after a 4 year layoff and a slight change in developer, I think we all hoped they could come out with some great new and original minigames in Mario Party 9. Sure it’s the millionth Mario Party, but the Wii’s motion controls and a fresh set of minds can be promising. And what did we get in return? Well let’s evaluate this. This evaluation process will take multipal articles to cover. First we will cover how successful NDCube was with the minigames. Then the next parts will dissect every minigame.
So focusing back on our first step: Was Mario Party 9’s minigames an overall success? They tried to avoid having minigames take place in the same setting. That helped encouraged every minigame to have their own identity. Next, they tried to avoid having too many luck games and none that are controversial. There are 4 Free for All minigames that can be classified as luck. That feels like too much to me, but then again the whole board gameplay is luck so it flows I suppose… And there is Bowser Jr’s boss battle, but some say you can see what number you hit if you look close enough into the dice block while it spins. And to give this game a fresh feeling, they tried to create original ideas. Games like Buddy Bounce, Card Smarts, and Urn It are concepts that had never been tried in a Mario Party, but were great games in their own respect. And then the major challenge was to try to make motion control minigames. Games like Ballistic Beach, Pizza Me Mario, and Logger Heads accomplish this well.
But the ultimate test came in the game Chain Events. Anyone who has played Mario Party 8 knows the worst minigame in Mario Party history is Flip the Chimp. The motion controls are so horrendous it’s almost impossible to win with the delay. And NDCube attacks this by making a game with the same control scheme. Sigh of relief, Chain Events ended up being a really fun and intense game. The controls worked. But there has to be some ideas that get reused, such as racing, button pressing, and fighting minigames. Snow Go, Growing Up, and Magma Mayhem keep the concepts that have been repeated over and over, but adding the new twists to make them still feel fun and not repetitive. Besides, we’ve accepted the fact that those type of games will be in every Mario Party anyways, so we just accept it.
So do you have an idea which way I’m leaning towards as far as my like or dislike for MP9’s minigames overall? If you guessed that I don’t like them…well you’re wrong. I love what they did with the minigames in Mario Party 9. It gets more than a passing grade. The games are so fun that it makes you mad that minigames do not appear as often as they used to. Where do I rank the minigames as opposed to other Mario Party games? I believe I said 3rd best in the MPL Podcast (#10) we did the other day. And I’m sticking by that. I feared that the choosing of 3 minigames would come down to which game I disliked the least, but instead it’s to which of the 2 or 3 good games that I like the best.
Part 2 will begin the short analysis of every minigame of Mario Party 9 in my opinion. Look for it to come out soon!