Original Release Date: 1998
While I’ve heard of this franchise for years, I’ve never actually played a Mario Party game before. It’s not a series that’s generally ranked as the best of the best, but there is one thing that it seems to have down, and that’s being fun. And while the successive games may surpass the original (I’ll see when I get around to them), this is still a pretty good starting point for a series.
Mario Party is a party game structured like a board game. Up to four players choose a character, and make their way around the board. Each map has a specific and unique objective, and lots of mini games along the way. The main goal of each map is to try to collect as many stars and coins as possible, while doing your best to prevent the other players from doing so.
Mario Party captures a constant and endearing sense of fun that not a lot of games are able to. It’s clearly designed to be enjoyed with friends, but it’s still quite enjoyable even when playing against computer characters. Each map is unique, the constant twists and turns of each map keep things exciting, and most of the minigames are quite fun and engaging.
The only real issue I have with the game is how much it emphasizes luck. In this genre, usually the odds of winning are about 50% skill and 50% luck, giving skilled players an edge, but still allowing less skilled players a chance at winning. In Mario Party, however, the odds of winning are more along the lines of 25% skill and 75% luck. Most of the game, from how many moves you’re allowed to make each turn to which space you end on is determined purely by luck. The only aspect of the game that is truly skill is during the minigames, and even then many of the minigames are still quite reliant on luck.
This does suck some of the fun away from the experience, as whether you win or lose is determined less by how good you are, and more by how lucky you are. I understand that this type of game will always have a certain amount of chance to it, but leaving most of the game up to chance can make the game feel frustrating and arbitrary at times.
Despite this flaw, Mario Party is still a very fun and well designed game. It’s still worth playing even to this day, and it has peaked my interest in this series.
How well it holds up 3/4
Personal Enjoyment 4/5
Overall quality 8/10
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