Greeted by Toad, the player is taken on a tour of the island that offers a variety of fun things to do. Mario Party: Island Tour brings back the whole board game feel with Nintendo’s Mario Party franchise, except now, it is available on the go for the Nintendo 3DS.
The game plays out just as we would expect to play an animated board game with rolling dice to land on spots. Some spots will include certain enhancements that will help the player win or even penalize the player. The boards mix things up, depending on how that particular board plays out and how it is presented. Some may offer rockets to tack on, which will result in higher numbers on the die, or add an extra die to allow for a chance at a higher roll. Some slots will even include swaps that may assist a player, who is behind, the opportunity to spin a wheel and swap places with the character it lands on. This can even have a downfall, if the player is in the lead.
After a few rounds, a minigame is usually offered and gives the chance to win bonuses that will assist in the next move. The minigames can also be replayed as extra practice, or to just revisit for the enjoyment. They can just be selected to play favorites or the player has the choice to play ten and see how fast they can be cleared through the Time Attack mode. Another mode available in the minigames section is the Hot-Air Hijinks that allows a battle amongst the player and three other characters until one of them beats three, five, or seven matches. The minigames are very short and do a fine job at utilizing the Nintendo 3DS features, such as the stylus utilization and the inclusion of the system’s gyro to aim and shoot in the favored Buzz a Fuzzy minigame. Some also include quick time events in which the player needs to press X, A, B, or Y to shoot targets or even reel in fish, in which the wrong button will cost the player their chances of winning. The minigames are a fun way to pass the time with some quick and quirky objectives.
Mario Party: Island Tour includes six boards, in which one can only be played with friends, Shy Guy’s Shuffle City. This game takes on a different vibe from the rest, as the main objective is to ensure that the player is not left with the Bowser Card at the end of the game. The deck of cards is shuffled and distributed among the players. The numbers on the cards will be the number the player will move on the board. As they make their way down the board game, they are forced to pick a card from their opponents, without knowing who has the Bowser Card in their deck. minigames are offered to win more cards, to avoid being left with just one card – the Bowser Card. This game was a great choice for playing with friends. The hype is all in picking cards from the other players, after they shuffle them around to try to hide it among their hand of other cards. The ability to move them around creates the hesitation from the player picking from the hand.
Bowser’s Tower is featured on the game as its own single player campaign type game where the player will work their way up to Bowser by defeating his bubbled troops. He has cloned our friends out of bubbles and the only way to Bowser is defeat four of them in minigames, working our way up to boss levels.
The most noted party games are Star-Crossed Skyway and Perilous Palace Path. Perilous Palace Path will offer the question blocks that give the player items to use to take out enemies to reach the finish first. Star-Crossed Skyway will only allow the player with the highest amount of Mini Stars, which are obtained throughout the board’s gameplay, win. No matter how far the player has come, the winner is not based on racing to the finish, but strategic gameplay to win the most Mini Stars before the first person reaches the finish. Some points will throw in a curve ball and take stars away, as well.
The game is pretty much the luck of the draw, or the roll of the dice. Whether someone is in the lead, or far behind, the game can do a complete 360, based on what spots are landed on. The only real skill that comes into play, is in the minigames. When playing solo, these are quite easy for the experienced player. Although, the game is tailored for a player of any age and any level of experience, it would be great to be able to choose a difficulty level to offer more of a challenge.
The rolling of the dice did not feel natural. Although it is working with limited space on the 3DS, it just didn’t give the feel that if rolling them a certain way would result in a better outcome.
Nintendo is known for their chipper and vibrant visuals in their first-party titles. They make no exception in Mario Party: Island Tour. It is exciting to see the Mario cast with many of them as playable characters. The player can choose from ten of the typical Mario friends to play as. It creates that same excitement when picking a piece to play as on a board game, but getting to choose from cherished Mario favorites is even better.
While there is nothing that really stands out about the music of the game, it does not mean that it is not fitting. The music goes hand-in-hand with the gameplay and graphics. When Bowser makes his appearance there is the gloomy, dismal music and chipper music for the happy times. The player will, however, love to hear the characters themselves. That is what Nintendo is known and loved for.
Upon raking up some Mario Party Points, the player can choose to purchase character sound bytes to add to their galleries, as well. These include ten tracks of that particular character’s voice of them winning, losing, and other sayings heard throughout the gameplay. To be quite honest, this is not a feature that will be frequented much by all players. In addition to the music and sound clips, the Collectibles section also includes bubbles of images of characters, once they are purchased with the Mario Party Points. It is here where players can check on their minigame records, as well. It would have been great to see the Mario Party Points used to be able to purchase the ability to use the player’s Mii in the game or even be able to dress up the purchased Mii with items and have them transferable to the Mii used in Mii Plaza.
Mario Party: Island Tour offers many minigames to go back into and enjoy. Some offer timed challenges and will give the player satisfaction of beating scores. The ease of the gameplay against its AI will not encourage the experienced player to keep playing some of the minigames. A difficulty level selection would keep the experienced gamer coming back for more.
StreetPass Minigames are said to further the single player action by competing against players that are StreetPassed with. Unfortunately, this feature was not able to be used during the review because the game is not on shelves yet, to be able to StreetPass other players. This feature should keep the player revisiting the game with more to do as opponents are met.
The game can be played with up to four friends through Download Play. This option will allow their Nintendo 3DS systems to share the game for the multiplayer experience. This is a great feature because they do not have to own the game to play with the game owner. However, to play on their own, a copy is of course needed. While this integration is a great way to share the fun, a multiplayer feature, in which the player can play with their Nintendo Network friends, would definitely keep the game from being shelved due to the lack of desire to play it solo continuously.
Mario Party: Island Tour’s lasting appeal is mainly in the multiplayer mode. Since the experience is always changing and the fun is shared amongst friends. It is a game that will provide a great party experience, but only when family or friends are over.
- One game can allow up to four players
- Great party game when friends and family are around
- Lack of online multiplayer
- Single player can grow old really fast
Mario Party: Island Tour was provided by Nintendo for review purposes.
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