My five-year-old son is a huge fan of the Mario Bros. characters from Nintendo, so when his birthday rolled around a short while ago, I figured he would enjoy trying Mario Party DS for his DS handheld gaming system.
I have to admit that I’ve never followed Mario-related game developments closely, so I didn’t realize that this was not the first incarnation of the Mario Party title. Apparently, this series of games dates back many years, and is a fan favorite.
Now that my son has been playing Mario Party DS for a few weeks, I’m ready to share my review with you.
First of all, this is one of the few DS games we have that actually works better in multiplayer mode. As the name suggests, Mario Party is meant to be enjoyed by two or more people, so I’ve frequently been roped into playing against my son.
In Party Mode, players choose a character, and then choose from one of five differently-themed game boards. The object of Party Mode is to have your character cruise around the board (after “rolling” a die) to collect stars, coins, and objects that you can use in your cause. After you roll the die, your character hops across the appropriate number of game spaces, and then either receives coins, loses coins, or goes shopping at the object store.
After each character takes a turn, everyone engages in one of dozens of different “mini games” in an effort to score more coins and stars. The mini games provide quite a variety of challenges, with some being far easier to accomplish than others. One of the easiest games requires that players simply press the “A” button repeatedly in order to see who can push the lead out of their mechanical pencil the fastest. One of the hardest games requires you to maneuver your character in an RC car across a space littered with obstacles.
While the mini games are fun to a point, I thought that having them crop up after every single turn was just far too much. Since there are 10 turns in a game, this made playing one game with just one other person take upwards of 30 minutes — definitely too long. I would rather see the mini games come up after every other turn in order to cut down on playing time.
At the end of the game, a few extra stars are rewarded for accomplishments such as covering the most ground, using the most coin hexes, etc, and then the player with the most stars emerges as the winner.
In addition to playing in Party Mode, it’s also possible to play the mini games on their own. My son loves doing either, so this game manages to keep him occupied.
Overall, I think Mario Party DS is a great game for kids, but a little too basic and boring for adults. I definitely recommend it to those of you with youngsters; just make sure you don’t join in on Party Mode unless you have a good 30 minutes to burn!