Mario Party: Island Tour
Mario Party: Island Tour is a game for the Nintendo 3DS, released first in North America in November 22, 2013 and the second Mario Party game to be developed by Nd Cube. It is the twelfth main installment (nineteenth overall) in the Mario Party series, the third installment for a handheld console, and the first Mario Party to be developed for the Nintendo 3DS. Mario Party: Island Tour has gameplay objectives unique to it compared to other entries in the Mario Party series. Rather than traveling around a board to obtain the most quantity of a particular item, either separately or together on a vehicle, players need to race their opponents to the finish in a linear, one-way board, with certain objectives in the race differing depending on the board played on. The game additionally retains several key elements from other Mario Party titles, namely obtaining and using items to gain an advantage over opponents and playing a wide variety of minigames.
Due to the platform being the Nintendo 3DS, some of the minigames take advantage of the system's features, such as the stereoscopic 3D, gyroscope, mic, augmented reality (AR), and the touch screen. The game additionally uses StreetPass where players can play minigames if their system has picked up signals from other Nintendo 3DS systems that also have the game and unlock special items from it. Up to four people can play together either with local multiplayer or Download Play using only one game cartridge, similar to how Mario Party DS and later Mario Party installments for the Nintendo 3DS handle multiplayer.
The game was eventually released as a Nintendo Selects title in multiple regions including North America, Europe, and Oceania, being one of the best-selling titles for the Nintendo 3DS.
After a relaxing day around Peach's Castle, Mario and the gang notice a strange letter in a bubble saying they are happily invited to the Party Islands. The gang then cheers about it but then the letter suddenly traps the gang in bubbles to carry them though the sky to the Party Islands.
While Mario and the gang are partying and playing games, Bowser shows up, feeling jealous about why Mario and his friends are invited, so he builds Bowser's Tower, saying that anyone can join him at his evil party. He begins locking all the fun from the Party Islands in bubbles. He also puts evil magic in the bubbles made by the bubble machine to make bubble clones of the gang to guard the tower. The player's selected character and Green Toad advance up the tower and defeat the bubble clones as well as various bosses. After defeating Bowser in Bowser's Sky Scuffle, the player's character then defeats the Mario bubble clones guarding the bubble machine and then destroys the bubble machine with a ground pound. Shortly afterward, Bowser reappears and boots the player's character and Green Toad out of the tower, inviting them to challenge him any time and that he won't be done.
Unlike the direct preceding game, Mario Party 9, where all four players travel together through a vehicle and aim to obtain the most Mini Stars, Mario Party: Island Tour uses the traditional independent four player gameplay as seen in previous Mario Party entries. The ultimate goal of the game in most of the boards is to race opponents on a linear-designed board to the finish line, unlike other Mario Party games where players are required to amass the most amount of a certain item to win in all boards. In order to advance through the board, players roll a Dice Block numbered from 1 to 6 to dictate their movement. Each board has its own play style with different rules from another: one board, Star-Crossed Skyway requires players to amass the most Mini Stars while Kamek's Carpet Ride requires players to land exactly on a particular space, called a Just-Right Space, by using numbered cards. Another feature of these boards is to replace the "6" on the Dice Block with another feature, such as a Banzai Bill icon on Banzai Bill's Mad Mountain that causes players to fall back to the halfway point or the start of the board or a 0 in Rocket Road, meaning the player cannot move at all. Prior to starting out, Yellow Toad explains the board's play style and after players are done viewing the rules, they roll a Dice Block to determine their turn order: players who roll a higher number than others will move earlier. In this game, a Round, similar to turns from earlier Mario Party titles, is taken once every player has rolled a Dice Block and moved accordingly, and while in earlier Mario Party titles had a limited amount of turns to take until the game ends, Mario Party: Island Tour proceeds until all players have reached the end goal. When starting their own round, players can either opt to use an item if an item is available for use or look around the map to plan out movement. If players end the game in a tie, a Dice Block roll determines who wins the game. At the end of the game, various stats are recorded such as how many spaces a player has landed on, a line graph depicting the players' progress, and other recordings depending on the board the players were playing on.
When players land on a Space, an event occurs depending on the type of space landed. Their function and design appears to be based off Mario Party 9; for example, if players land on a Green Space, nothing occurs while if a player lands on an Item Space on a specific type of board, they receive an item from a pool of randomized items. These items can either benefit the player directly or obstruct opponents. Players can carry up to two items, and players can use only one item per round. Only a few boards have an item system, however, and the type of items players receive varies on the board selected.
Some boards have players participating in minigames, either after every turn or if a Free-for-All Space is landed on. These minigames are small, short activities that have players competing against each other in defined, simple rules, most of them within a time limit. Some minigames involve players surviving a horde of enemies, some involve players racing against one another, some require the player to obtain the most points within a time limit, etc. If the player performs the best in the minigame, depending on the board played on, they receive priority when deciding which prize item to take or how much items are rewarded to them. The lower the rank players are, the lower the priority for selecting items and the less of a reward they receive, with last place players either receiving nothing or the worst rewards. If minigames end in a tie, a Dice Block is used to break the tie.
Mario Party: Island Tour supports local multiplayer if players have multiple cartridges or Download Play if there is only one cartridge. Up to four players can play the game, and they can participate with the player in Party Mode and Minigames Mode.
There are five different play modes in the game.
Party Mode, hosted by Yellow Toad is the main mode of Mario Party: Island Tour that uses the default gameplay as described above. Up to four players can participate in this mode, and the mode allows a minimum of two players participating. Players first pick from a selection of available boards, all which play differently from each other in terms of mechanics and goals. After that players choose their character out of a cast of 10 playable characters, with 9 default characters and one unlockable. If there are not enough players, players can fill in empty slots with selected computer-controlled players from the remaining characters. Players can then select the difficulty of each individual CPU player as well as the type of minigames that will be played with. Character settings are then saved the next time players access the mode, including those of CPU opponents.
Hosted by Blue Toad, players can play in one of the many minigames in Mario Party: Island Tour through this mode. Unlike most Mario Party installments, all minigames are available from the start. Minigames Mode has three ways to play: Free Play, Time Attack, and Hot-Air Hijinks. Free Play allows up to four players to participate, and like Free Play from previous installments, players have a free choice to decide which minigame to play in. Once a minigame is played on, players have the option to play the minigame again, go to a randomly selected different minigame, go back to the minigame menu, or go back to the main menu. Time Attack is a single player mode whose objective is to clear a set amount of ten minigames the quickest. Each minigame also contains optional objectives to meet if players want to further lessen the time it takes to complete them. Once all minigames are played on, the record time is saved. These are the minigames played in Time Attack:
The last mode is Hot-Air Hijinks (Balloon Race in British English), where up to four players can participate in. Players ride a hot air balloon, and in order to rise, they must clear minigames that are randomly selected through a roulette. For settings, players can use either All or Easy minigames and if their minigames require the Mic or not. Prior to starting out, players can set their objective to win 3, 5, or 7 minigames. If a player reaches past a certain level, the last place players get to stop the roulette wheel. Whichever player reaches the mark set first wins the mode.
StreetPass Minigames mode takes advantage of the Nintendo 3DS's StreetPass feature. Prior to setting up, players select their character to use in the mode and the choice to turn it on. If turned on, players who own Mario Party: Island Tour can pick up tags from other players who also own Mario Party: Island Tour and have it activated. When a tag is received, the Nintendo 3DS's LED light glows green, and a green dot notification is shown on the main menu on the StreetPass Minigames tab. When the mode is selected when a StreetPass tag is active, players see the other players' characters and their skill level, which dictates how difficult the CPU opponent controlling that character will be in the minigame. Players can participate against that character only once, unless the Nintendo 3DS is tagged with the same person the next day.
Bowser's Tower is the sole single player-focused mode of Mario Party: Island Tour and where the main story takes place. Players need to progress up a tower, and to progress, they need to win a gauntlet of minigames. Bowser's Tower contains 30 floors, where the opponents get progressively harder the more players progress up the tower. At every fifth floor, a boss-type minigame is played. Green Toad tags along the player character on the way, and the player faces off against Bubble Clones, bubble copies of the playable characters that players face off against in this mode. Players beat the game when they clear Bowser's Sky Scuffle, and they unlock Bowser Jr. as a playable character.
Much like Mario Party DS and Mario Party 9, players can earn Mario Party Points by playing boards, completing Bowser's Tower or playing Minigames. This points can be used to buy "Bubbles" and "Memories", voice recordings or music from the various characters, boards or minigames. These bubbles need to be bought from the gallery with various points, and not all bubbles are unlocked initially: the bubbles are unlocked when players first encounter them by simply playing the different modes and boards.
There are a total of 10 playable characters in Mario Party: Island Tour, consisting of 9 default characters and 1 unlockable character (Bowser Jr.).
*Bowser Jr. can be unlocked by completing Bowser's Tower.
As the title suggests, the boards are split between various themed islands. Seven gameboards are included in the game. Of these boards, one is unlocked by playing through every other board except for Shy Guy's Shuffle City due to the necessity for three or more players (Bowser's Peculiar Peak), and the other six are available from the start of the game.
Dice Blocks can be won from minigames in Perilous Palace Path and Bowser's Peculiar Peak.
Perilous Palace Path
Mario Party: Island Tour contains 81 minigames, the most minigames for a handheld installment barring the remastered minigames in Mario Party: The Top 100. Minigames are split into four categories: General minigames, Boss minigames, Puzzle minigames, and Extra minigames. General minigames play similarily to 4-player or Free-for-All minigames from previous installments: up to 4 players compete against one another to best the minigame, though players can compete against less players if they choose so. Boss minigames, first introduced in Mario Party 9, return in Mario Party: Island Tour. These involve players facing up against a particular boss enemy, and the objective is to take out the boss's HP first before they deplete the players' HP. Unlike their appearance in Mario Party 9, Boss minigames involve only one player. Puzzle minigames are self-explanatory: players solve minigames in a traditional puzzle game format either against themselves to set a new record or competitive against opponents. Finally, Extra minigames take advantage of the Nintendo 3DS hardware to play minigames, with The Choicest Voice using the mic and Ka-Goomba! and Sinking Feeling requiring AR Cards to play.
Minigames are sorted into two types of categories: minigames can be classified as "Easy", which are usually simpler minigames than the others. Players can toggle to play only "Easy" type minigames in Party Mode or Hot-Air Hijinks. Another type is whether the minigame uses a mic or not, and players can exclude minigames that use the mic from the set of minigames in the aforementioned modes.
Mario Party: Island Tour does not feature 2-vs-2, 1-vs-3, or 1-vs-Rivals minigames, making it one of the few Mario Party installments not to feature these categories of minigames. Additionally, this game is the only Mario Party game that has a minigame that cannot be accessed by a single player. In this case, the minigame Utter Nonsense requires 2 or more human players to play.
Mario Party: Island Tour is developed by Nd Cube and published by Nintendo. This is the second Mario Party game Nd Cube has worked on after Mario Party 9 and the first handheld installment that they developed for. The game was directed by Yukio Umematsu, who would later work under planning for the next Mario Party installment, Mario Party 10. The game's sound was directed by Ichiro Shimakura, known for directing the sound in other Mario Party installments while the soundtrack was directed by Rei Kondoh, who would later compose music for Mario Party 10.
Mario Party: Island Tour has received generally mixed reviews. The game currently averages a 59% based on 28 reviews on GameRankings and a 57 based on 47 reviews on Metacritic. As with most Mario Party games, Mario Party: Island Tour was praised for being fun to play with other people rather than playing alone and some of its mechanics were praised for being innovative, though general criticisms of the game include its short length, poorly implemented gimmicks, as well as the lack of online play.
Scott Thompson of IGN gave Mario Party: Island Tour a 5.5 out of 10, criticizing its motion control, "uninventive" minigames, and its "poor" single-player campaign unlike Mario Party 9, but praising its unique board rules and use of Download Play. While expecting this game to perform around the same level as the console Mario Party games due to the inventive touchscreen implementation and unique, new rules for the seven game boards compared to previous Mario Party games, Thompson felt that the "lackluster single player experience", Bowser's Tower, was a slow-paced repetitive grind, and the "bland minigame design" was a step back, due to the similarity of the minigames from the past entries in the Mario Party series and the only category of minigames being Free-for-All type minigames. Caitlin Cooke of Destructoid gave the game a 4 out of 10, disappointed that the game's board gameplay did not play as the original titles did and that the boards felt like chopped up variations of a single mode from previous Mario Party games. She additionally pointed out that the game has a too heavy hand with hand-holding players. She, however, enjoyed the single player mode of Bowser's Tower, the minigames, and the single-cartridge local mulitplayer, though criticized the lack of online play.
On the other hand, Kimberly Keller of Nintendo World Report gave the game the highest critic review, an 8.5 out of 10. She has praised the innovation of the boards, which has each their unique play styles, the usage of the Nintendo 3DS capabilities in minigames, as well as noting that the single player modes Bowser's Tower, StreetPass Minigames, and Collectables being engaging, with Bowser's Tower being the best of the single player modes, though she had criticized the lack of setting a difficulty setting for Bowser's Tower. She also praised the Download Play multiplayer, though criticized the lack of online multiplayer.
Mario Party: Island Tour is the 20th best selling game for the Nintendo 3DS, selling 1.14 million copies worldwide, as of March 31, 2014. It has become a Nintendo Selects title in various regions, including North America, Europe, and Oceania.
Pre-release and unused content
Mario Party: Island Tour's changes from the pre-release version to the final version ranges from minor aesthetic details to gameplay tweaks. Perilous Palace Path originally did not contain Moo Moos as ambient characters and a Whomp blocking the path. Originally, characters also used cards rather than regular items in Perilous Palace Path. In Banzai Bill's Mad Mountain, multiple Banzai Bills could get launched at once as opposed to only one in the final version of the game. In Rocket Road, more varieties of Lumas were added rather than just one type of Luma, the Yellow Luma. The game was tentatively called simply Mario Party before the subtitle, Island Tour, was decided upon.
Invisible Player Lucky Space Glitch
In order to perform this glitch, the player must land on a Lucky Space in the board Bowser's Peculiar Peak. If they happen to be blasted to a space that another player is currently on, then the two players clip through each other.
References to other games
References in later games
Names in other languages