In case you missed it, Nintendo Canada threw a big party on Saturday for the launch of Mario Party 9 on the Wii. It was at the Hard Rock Cafe just off of Younge-Dundas square in downtown Toronto. There was pizza, pop and a massive Mario Party cake, with hourly give-aways and Mario himself stopped by for pictures.
I’ll give you my quick impressions on Mario Party 9, with a full review to follow just as soon as I get my hands on a copy. (It comes out tomorrow, Sunday the 11th) The biggest change to the series is the way the scoring is done. You expect a whole bunch of new minigames that have you mashing buttons, flailing the Wiimote, shooting things and generally going a little nuts, and I’m happy to report of the 80 new games, the dozen or so I played were all of typical Nintendo caliber. What has changed is that you now all ride together in a car, as I previously mentioned. What I didn’t know is that coins and stars are done away with almost entirely. Instead of earning coins for winning mini-games, you earn mini-stars. These decide your ranking from 1st-4th, and there aren’t any big stars at all, until the winner of the round gets presented with one at the end.
In the number of rounds that I saw and played in, this kept things much closer, and made the post-round awarding of more mini-stars actually matter. Most Mario Party games that I play, someone has pretty much won it about 2/3rds of the way through the game, from a lucky roll, a bonus star or somethign else that has put them in the lead. Less of this happened, and with the large amount of mini-stars that are still up for grabs near the end, it makes for a much more interesting end game. I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve played the full title, but it looks like the shake-up has been good for the series.
Thanks for the cake Nintendo!