Lasting First Impressions
The Mario Party series of games have become a staple Nintendo franchise and a popular one in my household. Though, more recently, this franchise has seemed to take a liking more to Nintendo’s mobile platform than to their living room based consoles. The latest game in this series, Mario Party Island Tour, is available now on the Nintendo 3DS handheld platform. Mario Party Island Tour presents 80 new mini-games found across 7 brand new gaming boards for up to 4 players to play together using only one game card. If your household is anything like mine, though, you’ll find yourself wanting to play this game a lot, but mostly as a single player experience. And that’s just fine with Mario Party Island Tour. Every game mode found here can be played with AI opponents but be warned, the AI opponents won’t go easy on you. At times I felt like I’d actually have a better chance playing against real people. I think Yoshi cheats.
Mario Party Island Tour shakes things up a bit with different way to play the available game boards. Instead of all the boards relying on the tried and true luck of the dice roll (which still exists here), there is now a sort of “card” game available to determine how many spaces you will move. Each player is given 3 random cards to begin with. Each card has a number or a range of numbers on it and you choose which card to use. That determines how many spaces your player will move along the board. After each player has had a turn, a 4 player mini-game will be played. The winner of this game will then get first pick of a new card. This adds a great amount of strategy to the game instead of relying on the luck of the dice roll. It does not, however, guarantee that Yoshi still won’t cheat. Well, maybe he doesn’t really cheat, but I should have won that game!
Mario Party Island Tour gives players a new way to play the mini-games in a solo game called Bowser’s Tower. Players choose the character they wish to play as and attempt to reach the top of Bowser’s tower by successfully winning their choice of two mini-games on each level. Every 3 or 4 levels features a “Boss Battle” mini-game. Players will only have one chance to win each of these games to move on to the next level. A single failure to nab the first place spot will be game over for them. Fortunately, there are an infinite number of retries available so players can try the failed level over and over again until they are successful. My only problem with this is the inclusion of the purely luck based games. Since a single failure to obtain first place is required to continue, the mini-games presented in Bowser’s Tower should be skill based. I found myself continually failing on a simple luck based game in which I had to randomly choose a shell in hopes that it contained more pearls than my opponents. There was no skill involved in this mini-game and each time I played it, I could never guarantee a win.
With 80 all new mini-games, 7 new boards with new styles of gameplay, and Bowser’s Tower, Mario Party Island Tour gives players plenty of gaming in tiny bite sized chunks in both a single player experience and for up to 4 players. The mini-games take full advantage of the 3DS hardware as well, so no two games are alike. One game may be a simple jumping platformer, while another requires the player to tilt and turn the 3DS to play, and yet another may require the stylus to play such as a golf type simulator. With so many games ready to play, it will take quite some time to experience everthing this game has to offer. The Mario Party franchise has definitely returned with a splash. No pun intended.
Nintendo I gave you an hour and I am IMPRESSED.