Mario Party 9

It's a party as only Mario knows how to throw.
SeriousGamer - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

<b>Mild Cartoon Violence:</b> Mild instances of cartoon, slapstick-like violence.<p></p><b>Mild Spiritual Content:</b> Ghost and skeleton character(s) appear, NPC holds a magic wand and flies broom, character uses what appears to be magic

There’s nothing quite like a good party. On some special occasion, like birthdays and holidays, sometimes it’s fun to just get together and have a little fun. Of course, sometimes you have to worry about the person who decides to crash, and that

can ruin the experience for many a partygoer. Imagine the experience it would be if those party crashers showed up and started slinging Koopa shells all over the place or started lobbing Bob-Ombs at the other guests. Well, that’s something of the experience you’ll have at one of Mario’s parties.

Way back in 1998, our favorite plumber decided that he needed a break from chasing down the Mushroom Kingdom’s number one villain and rescuing Princess Peach on an almost daily basis. I guess that’s how it went because that was the year the first Mario Party got thrown. Before he decided on that trip to Isle Delfino, I guess Mario thought the best way to blow off steam from his heroics was to throw the biggest bash ever. Players seemed to agree because the Mario Party series kept growing and growing. It spanned consoles, handhelds, and now we come to the latest entry in the series.

Oh, and by the way, prepare to forget most of the stuff you know about Mario Party.

Story

Mario Party 9 doesn’t have much of a story to speak of, but if you decide to play Solo mode, you’ll get one.

One night, Mario and friends (and some foes) are enjoying watching the night sky. The skies over the Mushroom Kingdom shine with bright Mini Stars. It’s just the night Mario could wish for. All of his friends are gathered around, Peach is safe, the kingdom is at peace, and there is no sign of Bowser at all…Yeah right, as if that would happen.

All of a sudden, a shadowy looking vortex appears in the sky. The Koopa King himself is back, and he’s ready to ruin Mario’s night. With a giant vacuum cleaner that looks just like him, (Bowser was never the face of humility) the villain soon sucks up all of the Mini Stars. Not wanting to let Bowser keep them to himself, Mario sets off to recover them with the help of Luigi, Peach, Daisy, rivals Wario and Waluigi, and others.

Gameplay

If you’ve played any of the previous Mario Party games, you won’t be entirely in the dark. Players roll a die at the start of each board to determine the order. The goal of each board is to recover as many Mini Stars as you can before you reach the end. So, that’s one difference from the other titles. The others all had a turn limit.

Another difference is that all the characters take turns at the controls of a vehicle. Instead of paying coins to buy stars, whoever is currently at the wheel will gain Mini Stars if they happen to pass them after they roll the die.

Mini games also play a part in Mario Party 9, but you’ll only see them if you happen to land on a mini game space. Games consist of free-for-all, one-vs.-two, Bowser Jr., and Battle. The winner gets the most Mini Stars. Whoever has the most stars at the end of the board is named the Superstar, and you better hope it’s you. Otherwise, you could be starting the board over.

Oh and by the way, boards now feature two boss battles where you compete for victory, but they’re really the same as your standard mini game, just with a health meter.

Offensive Content

Mild Cartoon Violence

Mario Party was never much in the way of violence, but some does manage to work its way into the game, especially in the mini games. Characters get sent flying, run over by rocks or other objects, and smashed for example. In most cases, characters are shown unharmed or will flash. In some cases, the violence is played for laughs, such as in a mini-game that requires you to avoid a crushing ceiling. Characters who fail end up paper thin and float away, almost like in the old Road Runner cartoons. Other mini-games have you attacking characters with fire, electricity, or even rubber mallets, and several involve bob-ombs, the living bombs that inhabit the Mario world, and these will explode in characters’ faces. Again, no real harm is done, but the violence is played for laughs.

A few minor bits on the boards include being burned by magma and chased by sharks. We see a bit of smoke rising from hit characters in the first case, and characters jumping slightly in the second. Nothing happens except the loss of a few mini-stars.

Boss mini games require you to dish out a little violence. You shoot at and pound boss characters for example until their health is depleted.

Mild Spiritual Content

For any player of Mario games, this will be familiar. The staple specter of the series, the Boo, makes an appearance as does the Koopa skeleton Dry Bones. Also making an appearance is Magikoopa, a sorcerer-like Koopa who serves Bowser. We see him flying on his broom, and he does hold a wand. We don’t see him cast spells or anything of that nature. We do see Bowser using what looks like magic though. He lifts his hands, and a ball appears over his head. When he throws the ball, his minions for the board appear.

One board is set in Boo’s haunted mansion.

Conclusion

I was never much of a partygoer myself. To me, cake, ice cream, or pizza was party enough. But to some, that’s not enough. For Mario, it’s really not enough since his parties usually get, by real-world standards, really crazy and a little rowdy. After all, parties with Bob-ombs going off or players running out the way of spiked balls or duking it out with a few crashers are sure to raise an eyebrow. But actually, Mario’s parties, are really fun to play, and they make great fun for the whole family. Still, that doesn’t mean that Mario Party 9 is for everyone.

For one thing, it’s not the typical Mario adventure. I have to admit that while going through some of the boards, I thought, I’d rather go fight Bowser than play through this. It wasn’t because I didn’t think the game was fun or had too many problems for the discerning Christian gamer. Really, I found myself figuratively biting my nails at how quickly the leader boards would change. Let’s face it, when you know you could be starting over if you lose, you really don’t want to. So, needless to say, if you’re one of the overly-competitive types, you might not get as much enjoyment from this as you can. With minor content issues, that’s really the only problem I’d have with letting your kids hang with this batch of party animals.




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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