Mario Party 7
Mario Party 7 is a party game from the Mario Party series, released for the Nintendo GameCube console. It is the seventh Mario Party home console installment (and the twelfth installment in the overall Mario Party series), and the fourth and final Mario Party installment for the Nintendo GameCube. It was first released in North America and Japan in late 2005, before being released in Europe, Australia, and the United Kingdom in early to mid-2006. This was the last Mario game released for the Nintendo GameCube in Europe and Australia; in Japan and North America, Super Mario Strikers holds this distinction.
Like the previous Mario Party installments, the game is laid out as an interactive board game, where players use Dice Blocks to advance in the board, while also playing various minigames. In this game, Mario and the gang, using the MSS Sea Star, go vacationing to locations based on landmarks on Earth. However, Bowser is not invited on the cruise and decides to cause trouble for Mario and his friends.
Up to four players can enjoy the most of the game's modes; however, a special mode that this game introduces to the Mario Party series allows up to eight players to participate in a party. Players are required to share their controllers, and thus, controls are simplified in such modes. The microphone, first introduced in this game's predecessor, Mario Party 6, can also be used in certain modes.
From the Mario Party 7 Instruction booklet:
Toadsworth has invited Mario and all his friends to go on a luxury cruise around the world. However, Toadsworth invited every character except for one: Bowser. Furious due to being omitted, the Koopa King vows revenge. When the cruise ship MSS Sea Star arrives at its first destination, the passengers discover that Bowser has turned their vacation paradise into a stress-filled madhouse.
After conquering the boards, the player enters Bowser's Castle for their final showdown against Bowser, in which they eventually are able to use the power of the Stars they gathered to send Bowser and the Koopa Kid crashing down. The epilogue sees the duo landing on a tiny island with a tree and feeling dizzy afterwards until they catch sight of the player, who is waving at the duo from aboard the MSS Sea Star as Bowser says that he won't forget this.
Mario Party 7 features game boards on which players and CPU characters move around on spaces similar to a board game. Players roll the Dice Block with numbers from one to ten to advance on the board. At the beginning of the game, players can hear an explanation of the board's objective, as well as various other quirks the board may have. The turn order is then determined by a Dice Block roll, with the higher numbers going sooner. Each player starts off with ten coins, and the number of coins is affected by the spaces that the player lands on after their turn, as well as multiple other factors. For example, landing on a Blue Space gives a player three coins, while landing on a Red Space takes three coins away. The boards feature a variety of spaces that have different effects, and players can collect items known as Orbs (a feature returning from Mario Party 6) from Orb Spaces, buying them at Orb Huts, or winning them from Green Spaces. The items can be used to have different effects, which help players or hinder an opponent's progress.
After each player has completed their turn, a minigame is played. The type of the minigame is determined by the colors of the spaces that the players ended their turn on. When all colors match, a 4-Player minigame is played, otherwise there is a 1-Vs-3 or a 2-Vs-2 minigame. In Mario Party 7, minigames might involve clearing action courses, solving puzzles faster than the other players, or fighting against each other, but all rules and controls vary between minigames. Several minigames use the Nintendo GameCube Microphone that is shipped with the game and plugs into Memory Card Slot B. Players can play microphone minigames without the device by adjusting the game settings. Winning players earn ten coins; however, some minigames are dependent on their category, such as the special Bonus minigames (which are mixed in with the normal minigame categories; they are marked by a yellow name), Battle minigames, Duel minigames, DK minigames, and Bowser minigames. Various minigames have specific conditions to play in them: Battle minigames occur at random, rare intervals where players have their coins put at stake and the reward is dependent on how well the player has done. Duel minigames are triggered by Duel Spaces, where players can win Duel minigames for a prize dependent on a roulette, a change from the two preceding installments, Mario Party 5 and Mario Party 6, where players are required to put coins and Stars at stake to play. DK and Bowser minigames occur when players land on their respective places; a new feature exclusive to Mario Party 7 is that single-player DK and Bowser minigames are thrown into the mix of multiplayer DK and Bowser minigames. Once a minigame after every turn is completed, the game is saved and players resume their turns on the board.
At the last four turns, the Last Four Turns Event occurs. Bowser appears to give Koopa Kid the current standings, while also inviting the last player or team to spin the bonus wheel. Some of the effects can help or hinder the players on the board, where one of them triples coins earned on Blue and Red Spaces while others involve Bowser Spaces being placed on all Red Spaces.
The main objective of any Mario Party game is to gain Stars that are located at a special location in the board. In Mario Party 7, each board offers its unique way to obtain stars, unlike most preceding games in the Mario Party series where there is only one way to obtain stars. At the end of every game, Toadsworth announces the game's current Star count and final coin count. After that, there will be three Bonus Stars for the players who did the best during the course of the game. The player with the most Stars overall, wins the game. If there is a tie for Stars, then the winner will be decided with coins (Dice Blocks if the final coin count is the same).
A new addition to the board gameplay is Bowser Time. After each turn, a special gauge representing Bowser's head appears on the screen to tell the player when that time comes; the meter fills up every turn. When the gauge is filled, Bowser Time is initiated. During this special event, Bowser comes to the board and cause trouble in various ways, some are general while others are specific to the board being played on. This special event happens every five turns; in the Last Four Turns event, the gauge stops appearing after every turn.
After every session, whether on board gameplay in Party Cruise or playing minigames in Minigame Cruise, Cruise Mileage Points are earned. These are used to spend on various items at the Duty-Free Shop.
One change has been made to Tag Battle in Mario Party 7. Unlike previous installments, where both players in a team move separately, both players in a team move at the same time by hitting two Dice Blocks from 1-5. Also, both players may be able to participate in certain board events by landing on a Green Space. Players alternate between the leader every turn, where initially, the first leader is determined by the controller order. Leaders make the decisions such as using Orbs, visiting Orb Shops, or making choices in board events. If a human-controlled player is partnered with a CPU player, the human-controlled player is always the leader.
Toadsworth is the host of Mario Party 7, and he guides players through the various modes of the game. At the main menu selection screen, players can get a small description for each of the six game modes and navigate different ways to play through this screen. The game modes are themed after pleasure voyages on a ship and a ship's various locations.
Party Cruise is Mario Party 7's main mode. Up to four players can play the game normally, but the mode also features a 4-Team Battle, where four teams of two players can compete against one another. This game mode uses the default Mario Party rules to play: players win by collecting the most Stars on the board.
Before any game is started, players can adjust various settings, which are the following:
After these settings are confirmed and the number of players selected, players choose their characters. If there are not enough players, CPU players can be chosen to fill up extra slots; players can adjust CPU player difficulty from Weak, Normal, Hard, or the unlockable Brutal difficulty. Players can then adjust the number of Stars a team or a player can start with with the Handicap feature to give an advantage; up to nine Stars can be initially given. Once these settings are all set, the game can be started.
Players can access the pause menu by pressing . Here, players can view how many turns they have left, how full the Bowser Time gauge is, and toggle more settings. These are the following settings available:
Solo Cruise is the single player mode of this game, though up to two players can participate. The gameplay is very similar to Party Cruise save for several key differences. All games pit one player against another player, either controlled by the CPU or a human player, though players need to play against the CPU player in order to progress through this mode. When players first start the mode out, they are required to register a character and name as player data. Players can also create their own pregame and victory messages.
Once everything is set up, players can pick a board; these boards are shorter than Party Cruise and offer different objectives than Party Cruise's objectives. For example, in order to win in Pyramid Park, a player needs to retrieve the stolen Star and give it back to the Bowser Sphinx. The spaces also give a slightly different coin amount to a player upon landing on one in this mode. Blue Spaces give 5 coins, Red Spaces take 5 coins, and Character Spaces give 10 coins. If 30 turns have passed and no player has cleared the objective yet, the game will end in a tie.
Players need to clear all boards against the CPU player before they can unlock Bowser's board, Bowser's Enchanted Inferno!. If they win Bowser's minigame, Bowser's Lovely Lift!, against the CPU, they unlock the board, become the Solo Cruise champion and can leave their name and comment on the ranking board.
Deluxe Cruise is a mode specifically created for 8 player support in Mario Party 7. In this mode, players need to share their controllers with another person; one player controls and while the other player controls and . Players can then choose the number of human or CPU players playing, up to 8 different characters, and then choose from two of the available game modes.
Players can play with the minigames they have unlocked in Party Cruise or Solo Cruise. Up to four players can participate playing one of the six modes specifically designed around minigames.
The Duty-Free Shop serves as the game's shop and area that saves the game's records. Whenever players complete tasks, Cruise Mileage Points are earned, which can then be used to spend on various goods on the shop. Players can buy new characters, minigames, difficulty levels, collectable souvenirs and more. When players buy souvenirs, the item gets relocated to the Souvenir Stand, where players can view them; if players have the microphone enabled, saying "Surprise" at the souvenir causes a special effect. Records are stored in the Travel Diary, where players can view Party Cruise, Minigame, Decathlon Castle, and Staff Records. At the Cruise Sounds menu, players can listen to the various background music and character voices from Mario Party 7. Finally, players can view the Minigame Packages to see which minigame belongs in each minigame set.
The Control Room is Mario Party 7's option mode. Here, players can change various game settings.
All playable characters from Mario Party 6 except Koopa Kid (who instead hosts the Koopa Kid Spaces) return. The newcomers, as well as the unlockable characters, are Birdo and Dry Bones. In order to unlock them, the player has to spend 1,000 Cruise Mileage Points each at the Duty-Free Shop. This game also does not feature character-specific colors at all; instead, the default red, blue, green, and yellow color scheme is used to determine player color.
Each pair of partners have their own special orbs. If two unpaired characters are on the same team, they can both receive their special Orbs, but the special Orbs can be obtained and used only by the designated players. For example, if Mario and Peach are on the same team, Peach can share her special Flower Orb with Mario, but only she can obtain it and use it.
Special team names for each pair do not return in this Mario Party installment, unlike its predecessors Mario Party 5 and Mario Party 6. Rather, they are represented by various marine animals by team order:
Orbs make a return from Mario Party 6, all of their mechanics intact, with the introduction of two new categories of Orbs. As in Mario Party 6, Orbs can be obtained by buying them through Orb Shops, passing through Orb Spaces, or winning them through Event Spaces. Orbs are used to help assist a player's progress or to hinder opponents. There are five types of orbs in the game, each with their own distinct category based on their mechanics. Two types of Orbs can be set up as traps: Thrown and Roadblock Orbs. They can be set only in Blue, Red, Character (barring Roadblock Character spaces), or Koopa Kid spaces.
Self Orbs have a green shell and are used on the player.
Thrown Orbs are traps that can be throw on a space. If an opponent lands on the space, various effects occur. The Thrown Orbs' shell color is yellow. These orbs have an effect on a player who lands on the space. If the owner lands on the space, they will receive five coins. During the last four turns event, they may receive 15 coins if the ×3 coins is chosen on the roulette. The orb stays on the board as long as no one replaces the orb or the Star space does not overlap it.
Roadblock Orbs are orbs with red shells and can be thrown on spaces. They are triggered when an opponent passes them and disappear once triggered.
Character Orbs are orbs that only can be used by a specific pair. Their shells are blue.
Other Orbs are orbs that are automatically thrown when somebody receives them. They are colored violet and cannot be found in Orb Shops, nor can they be won in Green Spaces.
Mario Party 7 has 88 minigames, the most of any numbered Mario Party game and second most in the series overall after Mario Party: The Top 100. These include the traditional 4-player minigames, 1-vs.-3 minigames, 2-vs.-2 minigames, duel minigames, and battle minigames. Similarly to its predecessor, it employs the Nintendo GameCube Microphone for several 4-player and 1-vs.-3 minigames. Unique to this game are 8-player minigames. This game also includes DK minigames and Bowser minigames, both of which have three each of single-player and four-player minigames. Finally, there are two rare minigames and one boss minigame, which is categorized as a Bowser minigame.
The game was developed by Hudson Soft, who was responsible for developing all Mario Party titles before Mario Party 9, and it was published by Nintendo. Shuichiro Nishiya, who was the previous director of Mario Party 6, would go on to direct Mario Party 7, as well as Mario Party 8, Mario Party 9, and Mario Party 10. The game's soundtrack was composed by Hironobu Yahata and Shinya Outouge, the same composers for Mario Party 6's soundtrack.
Bowser's Lair Hockey
To promote the release of Mario Party 7, a browser game called Mario Party 7 -- Bowser's Lair Hockey was playable on the Mario Party 7 official site and the Nintendo Arcade. It is an air hockey game where the player, labeled "NICE", is Toad, and the computer, labeled "MEAN", is Bowser. The game is sixty seconds long, and the player with the most points at the end wins.
While both the Mario Party 7 official site and the Nintendo Arcade have since been taken down, the game is still playable via the Internet Archive.
Mario Party 7 has received mixed to positive reviews, with aggregate review sites Metacritic scoring it a 64 based on 25 reviews and GameRankings giving the game a score of 65.39% based on 28 reviews. Critics generally cite how similar the game plays to the rest of the Mario Party games, where they recommend it to seasoned Mario Party players or players who want a minigame collection to play with family or friends, but cannot draw in people who do not like the earlier entries of the Mario Party series.
Ryan Davis of GameSpot gave the game a 6.5/10, saying that the game was a huge improvement. He praised the controls, the challenging Bowser minigames and more usage of the mic, and mentioned that Mario Party 7 is an actual party because of the use of 8-player modes and that the game really gets the whole family to join in the fun. However, Davis notes how the game is short on the originality department, where he states that 8-Player minigames are the only innovation Mario Party 7 has going for it. Matt Casamassina of IGN gave the game a 7/10, noting the fun multiplayer experience, the 8-Player minigames, and the huge number of minigames, but also notes how the franchise is aging and that the single player experience is disappointing. He ended with "Mario Party 7 is still entertaining, but I'd be a liar if I wrote that I'm not growing bored with new iterations of the same old formula. To its credit, the title delivers some fun new boards and mini-games, and the multiplayer experience is as robust and enjoyable as ever. But it in contrast dishes out a worthless single-player mode marred by tediously slow computer-controlled character interactions. And the overall presentation of the story, cut-scenes and real-time achievements is only passable."
Ellie Gibson of Eurogamer gave the game a scathing review, criticizing the unoriginality and sheer tedium of the game, despite noting how some of the minigames are fun, giving the game a final verdict of 3/10. On the other end, Dave 'Fargo' Kosak gave the game a 4 out of 5 Stars, while noting the similar feel it has to other Mario Party games and that it is running out of gimmicks, but has commented that it is slightly better than the last Mario Party game and that no other game franchise does the party formula as good as Mario Party has done.
Pre-release and unused content
Mario Party 7 has very similar unused content to that of Mario Party 5 and Mario Party 6. The debug minigame menu is simply an update from the one used in the first three Mario Party games, and players can view the animation debug through a similar cube used in Mario Party 5. An unused title screen can be loaded with Action Replay codes; this title screen shows Mario on the MSS Sea Star with various characters on islands in the background.
References to other games
References in later games
Names in other languages