In anticipation of the release of Mario Party 10 on March 20, Mario Party Legacy is taking a look back at the Mario Party series to recount all the good and bad that has come in the last 16 years. You can see our schedule and vote in our polls here.
After the underwhelming fifth entry, Mario Party 6 was a welcome installment in the Mario Party series. Mario Party 5 started to get the ball rolling with some of the changes it introduced, but it wasn’t until Mario Party 6 where these changes were made fun and interesting.
Capsules are now replaced with Orbs, a similar system that rids the flaws that plagued Mario Party 5. Instead of throwing a capsule onto a space and having whoever lands on it receive the effects of the item, players now throw orbs to leave behind their own personal space. Anyone who lands on the space will have to answer to whatever item you threw, but this time you won’t have to worry about landing on your own space. Orbs are given out randomly and they can be purchased at the Item Shop. No more having to pay to use items!
One of the more interesting parts of Mario Party 6 is that only two of the boards in the game feature the classic 20 coins for a star formula. The other four boards introduce new mechanics and new goals for players to complete. You’re still collecting coins and trying to earn the most stars at the end of the game, but now you have boards like Snowflake Lake where you use Chain Chomps to steal stars, or Faire Square where you can purchase up to five stars at different prices at a fixed location on the map! These boards gave a new freshness to the series, and most importantly, they were a ton a fun.
Mario Party 6 also introduced a number of new features. For starters, a microphone was included with every game that went along with the new Mic Mode. Here you could play minigames that centered around a single player shouting commands into the microphone to activate different sequences in said minigame. There was also Speak Up, a quiz show that had contestants shouting out answers to the various challenges and questions. While these two modes were fun, the microphone didn’t do much else, and it was largely forgotten.
A Solo Mode replaced the usual Story Mode, this time having a single player try to reach the end of a miniature board. The spaces you landed on determined what minigame you would play, but the catch of this mode was that you had to land on exactly the last space to earn a Rare minigame. It was fun for what it was, but there really wasn’t any reason to go back to this mode after playing all three boards once. And as we’ve done with our previous retrospectives, here are a couple of mingames that stand out from the rest! You had Granite Getaway, Note to Self, Strawberry Shortfuse, Pokey Punch-out, Cog Jog, and a lot more.
Oh, and Toadette!
Then we have Mario Party 7. This installment in the series and Mario Party 6 share a lot in common. They both share the new Orb system, the boards take on similar objectives and goals, the microphone returns, and a lot of the different modes share similar ideas and concepts. Mario Party 6 was a great game, so there wasn’t much to complain about!
However, Mario Party 7 did add a new unforgivable feature that will go down as one of the worst features added to the Mario Party series: Bowser Time. No matter what board you play, a meter will appear and fill up after a few turns. Once the meter hits the top, Bowser appears and wreaks havoc. You’ll typically see everyone lose 20 coins, or you’ll see Bowser go and destroy a part of the board, sometimes meaning you will lose several stars in the process. Well, this can’t be that bad, surely someone is getting something good out of this? Nope. Everyone suffers. It’s automatic, it’s mandatory, and there is no reasonable answer as to why someone would think this makes the game more enjoyable.
Thankfully, Mario Party 7 has a lot to offer regardless of Bowser Time. By sharing each GameCube controller with another player, eight players can play on both the board maps and specifically designed 8-player minigames. To go along with this concept, characters where parented up (hello Dry Bones and Birdo!), giving each set of partners their own special orb that only they could use.
Minigames were also great in Mario Party 7, including the likes of Fun Run, Take Me Ohm, Track & Yield, Easy Pickings, The Final Countdown, Camp Ukiki, and so many more. DK minigames and Bowser minigames had both single player and multiplayer variations, giving us the largest amount of these types of mingames to date. A lot of different minigame categories in this one!
Mario Party 6 and Mario Party 7 showcased some of the best the GameCube era of Mario Party had to offer. From here on out, the games start to differ quite a bit from title to title. Will Mario Party 8 and the rest of the series hold up as well as the GameCube titles did?