Mario Party 9
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Mario Party 9 is the ninth home console installment of the Mario Party series, the second and final installment for the Wii. The game was the first in the series to be developed by Nd Cube instead of Hudson Soft. It is also the eleventh in the main series (fifteenth in Japan). The host of the game is Yellow Toad for the boards while Blue Toad is the host for minigames, and Green Toad appears near the end of Boards to initiate an event similar to the Last Five Turns Event from past Mario Party games. This is also the twenty-fifth and the final installment of the Mario franchise overall to be released for the Wii console. Unlike Mario Party 8, the game features widescreen support.
On a night outside of Princess Peach's Castle, Mario and his friends are gathered to watch the Mini Stars glitter in the sky. As Mario peers though the telescope, he is shocked as he notices that the stars are suddenly being sucked through a vortex. It is then revealed to be Bowser and Bowser Jr. on a spacecraft, who are using a vacuum-like machine to suck the stars out of the sky and into containers. Upon witnessing this, Mario and the gang set out to defeat them and save the Mini Stars. After they start their journey, Shy Guy and Magikoopa are seen coming out of the woods and start following them, as part of Bowser's plan.
Before each board, there is a cutscene that features Bowser admiring his collection of Mini Stars. Bowser Jr. then runs over to him to show his father the progression of Mario's group. Bowser is enraged, but summons two of his minions to stop the group before they can take all the Mini Stars. Eventually, however, the group reaches Bowser's location, Bowser Station, and must face Bowser Jr. before battling his father.
After the final battle with Bowser, the player looks out from the stadium at Bowser's other platform, where the canisters containing all the Mini Stars burst and release them back to where they once were. As this happens, Bowser and Bowser Jr. are flying off. Bowser is mourning over the failure of his plan, which he reveals was to decorate his castle using the Mini Stars. However, upon seeing the released Mini Stars, Bowser is enraged and chases off the ones that fly near him. However, this only results in him falling out of his car; Bowser Jr. flies down to save him. Back at Peach's Castle, Mario and friends are once again gathered around the telescope to admire the Mini Stars as they glisten in the night sky.
In Mario Party 9, a new form of gameplay was introduced in this game, retiring the old format seen in the prior eight titles: players move all at once through the board in a vehicle (a car in Toad Road, a magic carpet in Boo's Horror Castle and a legged machine in Bob-omb Factory, for example), still taking turns rolling, moving from a starting point to to an ending point. Instead of rolling a die with a 1-10 on it like in the previous games, players can only roll a dice block with a 1-6 on it; however, there are other dice blocks that can be collected, which includes a dice block that allows a 1-10 roll. Instead of trying to collect coins to buy stars, players receive Mini Stars if they pass by them. While doing so, players must also try to avoid Mini Ztars, which deduct their current amount of Mini Stars. The player who collects the most Mini Stars by the end of the game is declared the winner.
New minigame types are introduced in the Mario Party series, one example being 1 vs. 2 minigames against Bowser Jr. In this game, the minigames don't appear after every player has moved, but only when a player ends up on any of the spaces that triggers a minigame. Also, when receiving dice blocks, a minigame might pop up after as well. Unlike previous Mario Party games, where often only the winner(s) of a minigame receives a reward, all minigames are ranked from first to last place and generally all players receive Mini Stars, with players in a higher position earning more Mini Stars.
During a party, there are two board events that are required to occur before advancing: Captain Events and Boss Battles. The former occurs whenever a player arrives on a Captain Event Space. The event differs for each board, but they all allow the players to earn more Mini Stars, though the player that has started the event always has some form of control over the event, putting him or her in an advantage state. As for Boss Battles, there are two Boss Battle Spaces on every board, one near a fortress and one at the end. During the Boss Battle minigames, players must work together to defeat a boss while attempting to increase their own individual scores, as the player with the highest score wins the minigame, which gives more Mini Stars than normal.
This Mario Party installment has 5 modes in all. They are:
Once again returning from previous Mario Party games, Party Mode involves the players going around the board like with the previous games, but changed due to the new gameplay mechanics of Mario Party 9. The amount of Party Points that the players will earn is determined by how many Mini Stars they have at the end of the game. However, if handicaps are used, the handicap amount will not count towards the Party Point total; for example, if a player has a 50 Mini Star handicap, and finishes with 100 Mini Stars, they will only earn 50 Party Points. Notably, should a player end a game with less than 10 Mini Stars, 10 Party Points are added regardless of how low their Mini Star count is. This is independent for each player that ends with under 10 Mini Stars (for example, a 4-player game that ends with Mini Star counts of 105, 67, 60 and 3 without any handicaps gives a total of 242 Party Points although the Mini Star total is only 235).
The game's story mode, Solo Mode involves the players traveling across all six boards to defeat Bowser and save the Mini Stars. Completing Solo Mode will award the player 500 Party Points, and the Mini Star grand total will also be added onto the player's Party Point amount; for example, finishing Solo Mode with a grand total of 500 Mini Stars will award the player 1000 Party Points.
Also, instead of always playing against 3 other computer players in a four-player match on each board, sometimes, the player will play a three-player match against two computers, or a two-player duel match against one computer. The minigames for the three-player matches are Free-for-all minigames and 1 vs 2 minigames, and all minigames in two-player matches will be Free-for-all minigames, adapted for duels. The award system for minigames in a three-player match is five stars for first place, three stars for second place, and one star for third place, and the award system for minigames in a two-player duel match is five stars for first place and one star for last place.
Blue Toad is the host of Minigame Mode.
Note: When finished, all game modes award 10 Party Points, except for Free Play, which awards just 1 Party Point per finished minigame.
The Museum is where the players can spend Party Points to buy various things such as Mini Star constellations, game sounds, vehicles or extra game modes. They can also watch the credits from here. Once they return a constellation into the sky, the players can go to see it in the sky.
In Extras, the player can play through various extra minigames such as Castle Clearout, Shell Soccer or an extended version of Goomba Bowling. There is also a mode called Perspective Mode, in which the player plays through ten minigames that have a modified camera angle, making them harder to win.
There are a total of 12 playable characters in Mario Party 9, consisting of ten default characters and two unlockable characters (Shy Guy and Magikoopa).
Instead of more traditional items, Mario Party 9's items consist entirely of Dice Blocks, allowing the user to roll a specific number more easily from a specific range of values. These can be obtained by landing on a Dice Block Space.
When a player lands on a space, something is going to happen. Each space has its own effect, but like in previous Mario Party games, every space is color-coded. The color of the space will tell what kind of event is going to happen.
If the player moves over a space with a half cross on it, he or she automatically stops at that space and an event starts. The only two spaces of this kind are the Boss Space and the Captain Event Space.
Because of the new rules in Mario Party 9, there are many new spaces introduced. Some old spaces returned as well, but some have a different effect (for example the Blue Space). With a total of 21 different kind of spaces, Mario Party 9 has the most spaces of the series. Also for the first time in the Mario Party series, some spaces are unique for a specific board. Here is a list of all the spaces in the game, with what kind of effect they have.
Reviews for Mario Party 9 have been generally positive, albeit with some criticism. It has received a 73 from Metacritic based on 45 reviews. and a 75.05% from GameRankings based on 30 reviews. IGN gave it a 7/10 explaining that the graphics are good but the music is repetitive and the luck plays a big role in determining a player's fate in the game. GameSpot gave it a 6.0 explaining that it is too familiar and that Solo mode is tedious and required for unlocks. Game Informer, known for their infamously bad reviews of Mario Party games, gave the game a 5.75/10 explaining that the game relies far too heavily on luck and can make for a "disheartening experience." Destructoid gave the game a 7.5/10, praising the reduction of motion-control minigames, and saying that many of the minigames feel like true Mario experiences and not Mario versions of party games, and that the influence of New Super Mario Bros Wii and Super Mario Galaxy, and to a lesser extent, Super Mario Sunshine, is "pretty much the game's central theme," and that it feels more like an "honest-to-god" Mario game than the other entries, but complained that the game is still determined a lot by chance.
Mario Party 9 is the 26th best selling game for the Wii, having sold 3.12 million copies worldwide, as of October 2016.
Pre-release and unused content
The design of the Toad Road board for the build presented during the E3 trailer had a somewhat simpler design. While an early version features the same layout and many of the same features, the "9 Island" seen in the final game is not present, featuring a circular island in its place. The circle island on the final board also replaces a mountain with a waterfall in an early version. The in-game font for the E3 build was based off the Mario Kart: Double Dash!! in-game font, but was changed to the font used in the newer games on the final version.
Mario Party 9 is developed by Nd. Cube, the same company that has developed Wii Party. Nd. Cube consists of former employees of Hudson, a company involved in the previous Mario Party titles. Shuichiro Nishiya and Tatsumitsu Watanabe are the main directors of this game. The programming director is Shinji Shibasaki. The sound director is Hiroyuki Tsuboguchi while the music director is Chamy. Ishi. Meanwhile, NOA Product Testing has been involved in debugging the game.
References to other games
Differences from previous Mario Party games
This is the first Mario Party in the series:
Names in other languages