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Mario Party DS Review – Handheld Hilarity

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I’ve played Mario Party games for as long as I can remember. Given that experience, I wanted to take a look at some of the older games in the series. Right now Mario Party really isn’t my go to series anymore. Newer generations of consoles and people have changed the games into something I simply no longer recognise. Still, they can’t stop me from appreciating the older games of the series. To be fair, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Read on for the Mario Party DS review.

This comes solely from the fact that I own so few DS games that I have an excuse for reviewing them all. It’ll be a genuine accomplishment if I manage to review every game I own for one console, even if it is only about twenty or so. Still, enough buffing out the word count, lets actually review Mario Party DS.

Now one major pro of all older Mario Party games is that they, quite simply, have the best variety of minigames. Take it from me, the minigames in this version of the game may be short, but they’re fulfilling none the less. Simple ideas were experimented with and they paid off extremely well. Take the minigame where you run around a corn field taking photos of the other three players to stun them. Sounds boring, right? Wrong, it’s some of the most tense and high octane action you’ll pretty much ever experience.

Still, the downside of this being a handheld game is that, while the minigames are short, there just simply aren’t enough of them. For this review I decided to play through every minigame there was, and to be honest it only took about an hour to breeze through every one with easy AI. Of course, every Mario Party game has the whole range of good, bad and mediocre minigames, right?

Something I always thought was amazing about the hardware of the DS was the fact that, as long as one person owned a copy of the game, everyone could play. I found this out when, for some reason, me and a friend decided to play this at three in the morning. Obviously I only have one copy of the game, but we were pleasantly surprised to find out that the two of us could still play the exact same game.

The minigames were short and sweet, maybe a bit too short sometimes. (Mario Party DS – 2007 – CC. Nintendo)

Even with the true marvel that was simple transfers of code, it never added up to the experience of console Mario Party. By all means this is a good game and a great experience, but Mario Party is something you play on a big TV with some drinks and a pizza. Sitting cross lapped on the floor with Mamma Mia! blaring in the background isn’t the true experience. But that’s what you sacrifice when you go handheld, isn’t it? The DS was made for on the go gameplay, but some, like Mario Party, don’t make the greatest transaction.

What confuses me is the attention to detail in these games, more specifically the maps. There are a total of five maps if my memory serves me correctly, god knows if that’s right, Google it. A sixth map can be unlocked by finishing story mode. But to be fair who really played the story mode of Mario Party? Sure, if you’re a completionist then you’re going to want to unlock that map. On the other hand however, there was no real achievement or gamerscore attached to it, therefore I didn’t see the point. Anyways, the five original maps available serve their purpose quite well.

As do the characters, thankfully Waluigi made the cut. I’ll never forgive Nintendo for cutting him from Mario Kart 7, yes I am that petty. Still, all your favourites are there, they’ve went for the classic characters and none of the sub characters like Dry Bones or Birdo. Who the hell plays as Birdo anyway? You pick Waluigi, and if your friend picks him before you can, you unplug their controller from the GameCube. That’s what I do anyways.

Something Mario Party can oddly pride itself on is their musical scores. Each map has its own unique musical soundtrack, along with every minigame also having a tune that they share with only a few other games. This breaks up the pace rather well and as far as musical scores go it’s definitely an impressive one to say the least. Overall there was a definite sense of being able to keep up with the console versions of Mario Party and to be fair I was most certainly impressed.

Of course, not everything was perfect. Far from it actually. My main concern was that, even if it was on par with the console versions of Mario Party I knew in the back of my mind that it couldn’t possibly be better. I was right, as I usually am, it wasn’t as fun as the best Mario Party (which is obviously number five you philistine.) but at least it was trying to keep up with the series. It had the same characters, good minigames and a great musical score, what was really keeping it back?

Yes, that image has fully loaded, I’m as surprised as you. (Mario Party DS – 2007 – CC. Nintendo)

Well, apart from suffering from being on the DS, the graphics were atrocious. Yes, I understand this game came out way back when, 2007 I believe, but good grief it looks bad. To be fair the DS was graphically underwhelming at best. Mario Kart DS had the same problem but that was a timeless classic as soon as it released. Graphics shouldn’t impact how good or bad a game is though, it was more of a footnote than anything. That’s why you’re at the end of the article actually.

Verdict

Mario Party DS is good. It’s certainly not perfect. The game has flaws like nearly every game does. Having to play over a handheld device and not on the same screen really falters the game and it’s a stain it can’t remove. With dated graphics to go along with this, you’d be forgiven for not playing this game.

But if you do manage to look beyond these problems you’ll find a very fun game. I did, and my friend who had never touched a Mario Party game did also. I’d argue that some minigames in this game are more fun than the console counterparts. Previously mentioned in this article, the minigames are short and sweet. On top of that, it’s better than Mario Party: Advance. But, to be fair, every Mario Party is better than that.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Mario Party DS
8
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Sarcastic. Pessimist. I write what I think, hopefully you enjoy that.