The last 12 months haven’t exactly been easy on Nintendo’s portly plumber and between donning cat suits and invading his brother’s dreams inception-style, planning another one of his board game-based bashes should be the last thing on his mind.
Luck has played a party favour and a mysterious invitation finds Mario and a familiar guest list aboard the Party Islands for a 3DS soiree in Mario Party: Island Tour.
Seven new game boards make up the main attraction with courses specifically designed with your play time in mind. Some courses such Banzai Bill’s Perilous Path and Rocket Road are aimed at short bursts of gameplay lasting little over 15 minutes each, while others unfurl over an hour in typical Mario Party fashion.
Whether you’re inching closer to the Whomp King that guards the Perilous Palace Path, gathering fuel to rocket your way across Rainbow Road, or narrowly avoiding Banzai Bill, it’s the usual traps, trumps, bonuses, and mini-games in between that make each roll of the dice risky.
With an assortment of 80 new mini-games, Mario Party: Island Tour’s offering is inventive using almost every the 3DS hardware can throw it. Some games require the most rudimentary controls while others will have you tapping, swiping and waving your 3DS around. You’ll even want to dig out those augmented reality cards you’d forgotten about for some additional party tricks.
Yet numerous and creative in their approach, Mario Party: Island Tour’s mini-games are rarely the highlights of the game as they have been in the past. It’s a feeling that really comes to a head when you approach Mario Party: Island Tour’s single-player offering and all-around party pooper, Bowser’s Tower.
A floor-by-floor mini-game assaults spanning over 30 levels, Bowser’s Tower is just a bore to climb with bosses awaiting you every fifth floor and tedious conversations seemingly around every bend.
Despite a concerted effort to make Mario Party a viable purchase for lone players with the aforementioned mode and a vast amount of collectables that’ll require a serious effort to unlock, Mario Party: Island Tour fails to provide such an experience
To no one’s surprise, Mario Party: Island Tour’s strengths lie in its multiplayer frolics and the rather generous addition of four-player Download Play, giving all players access to all seven boards and 80 mini-games, is enough of a reason for die-hard fans to consider this portable bash worthwhile.
Maybe he’s been just too busy for party planning this year but with 15 years of experience under his belt, we’d expect a little better from Mario Party: Island Tour. Consider this further proof that Mario Party continues to be a game enjoyed with friends or simply not at all.