First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Nintendo Mario Party
- Mario Party has gone handheld! Take your party anywhere, any time
- It's still technically the same Mario Party, no matter how many extra single player options you're given
Mario Party DS is a pretty good Mario Party instalment, but it's ultimately meant for gamers who regularly get together with their friends for some DS gaming.
Price$ 69.95 (AUD)
Buy now (Selling at 10 stores)
The long-running Nintendo party franchise comes to the DS Lite but just because the screens are smaller doesn't mean the action has to be! But be warned: you won't full mileage out of this game unless you have three friends around you at all times.
Considering how popular the franchise is, it was only a matter of time before Mario Party made the leap to the DS in the form of the imaginatively titled, Mario Party DS. The party formula hasn't changed much over the years and Nintendo certainly didn't make any earth-shattering changes for the handheld version.
You still zoom across game boards that each feature their own quirks and challenges, all the while competing in mini-games and collecting star pieces. The good thing is that Mario Party DS takes good advantage of the stylus controls and the mini-games aren't too taxing, which makes it perfect for bite-sized sessions of gaming.
Party of one
For the solo gamer, you have quite a few options available to you, though it's hard to really differentiate between them, as most are based around playing the same mini-games. Story mode is first and foremost: you play through all five boards while following a light storyline that has you taking on Bowser. If you win the round, you engage the level's boss in a pretty humorous fight. Of course, if one of the computer controlled characters wins, they will fail miserably and you'll have to play through the entire board again to get your shot at the boss.
Here is where the inherent limitation for single player Mario Party rears its ugly head: single player is no fun because it's always up to the computer if you win or not. The AI will either make blatantly stupid moves that any human player would have never missed to let you win or it will catch all the breaks and cruise to an easy victory. You have a slim fighting chance by playing mini-games well and using items correctly, but for the most part, you're pretty much at the mercy of the AI.
The more the merrier
Needless to say, Mario Party DS is much more fun when played with friends, and Nintendo has wisely made it easy to do so. Four people can play using just one game cartridge via download play. The sad part is that there is no Wi-Fi online play, which would have been a welcome option.
All in all, Mario Party DS is actually a pretty good Mario Party instalment, but it's ultimately meant for gamers who regularly get together with their friends for some DS gaming. Sure, there are a ton of single player options but it's not called Mario Party for nothing. If you can get three friends together, it's a blast but don't expect the same kind of fun if you're flying solo.
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