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Mario Party: Island Tour review

I can't wait to see the Giant's Causeway, the Blarney Sto... Oh, "Island"

Mario Party's always flitted between two styles. The series began as a living board game, a benign Jumanji that preferred spawning tiny platforming bouts to bellowing, late-period Robin Williams. The focus was on competition: every mini-game was worth something, and sabotage, inside and outside the TV, was, if not encouraged, then certainly made available.

Somewhere along the line it began to aim for something else entirely: innovation. Mario Party 6 used the GameCube microphone, DS used the handheld's spiffier gubbins in their entirety and there was even a version made for glorified barcode scanner, the Nintendo e-Reader, that attempted to turn it into a physical board game.

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Both approaches were flawed. The first came closest to true success, but the thick cloud of luck surrounding the boards tended to negate the effect of those skill-based mini-games. The second spawned games for which peripherals failed to work and players failed to care.

The latest entry is probably most notable for recognising that those two styles needn't be mutually exclusive. Island Tour aims squarely for the classic competitive spirit of Mario Party, but takes full advantage of the system upon which it has found itself, with regular nods to the 3DS's touchscreen, microphone and gyroscope-accelerometer tag-team.

Sadly, that's a pointed use of the word "aims", as it never quite hits the mark. After the vehicular shake-up of Wii's enjoyable Mario Party 9, Nd Cube's second roll of the Mario-endorsed dice is a little more traditional, but still sees the team trying to steer the ageing series into quirkier tech territory - and this lack of commitment to either approach means Mario Party's landed on the 'not quite there' square once again.

Game The System

The game divides broadly into two halves: the mini-games mode comprises more than 90 events (which can be played individually, or in tournaments), while the Party Mode includes seven separate board games, each of which is rated by its need for skill, luck, time to complete and how much it uses those mini-games as a part of play. It's perfectly presented, with easy access to every element and enough info for you to understand what you're getting into.

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Comments

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  1. Nintendo fan 1 Saturday 18th Jan 2014 at 14:32

    A real shame....new hardware could've mean't a better game. But that is what we've come to expect new zelda or mario=great, not genre defining but great. Other games apart from mario,zelda or metroid= mediocre.

  2. TheVelvetRoom Saturday 18th Jan 2014 at 15:54

    We're never getting a game set in Ireland are we? *cries into Guiness* *wipes tears with potato*

  3. EdDeRs1 Saturday 18th Jan 2014 at 17:42

    We're never getting a game set in Ireland are we? *cries into Guiness* *wipes tears with potato*


    still more likely than a game set in Wales *cries into Brains* *wipes tears with Dragons tail*

  4. ploiper Saturday 18th Jan 2014 at 19:32

    I got this game yesterday and will only be playing it single player, only ever play Mario party games by myself. I do enjoy this so far but the boards are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to short for my liking. though the mini games are pretty fun.

  5. danbish Sunday 19th Jan 2014 at 13:15

    I took a chance on this game too thinking it can't be as dull as it sounds. You know what? It pretty much is but I have to admit, so far I've only played the two shortest timed boards. Gone are the staples of Mario Party; the fun, allegiances, that backstabbing etc. and its place is 'just get from point A to B as fast as possible. Even the mini-games have been toned down, now taking place once every 3 or so rounds as opposed to after every round - and they seem to be the only part of Mario Party that remains.

    Such a wasted possibility after the phenomenal Mario Party DS, did you even play that for ideas Nd Cube before you stripped it of its party soul?

  6. D.Toad64 Monday 20th Jan 2014 at 10:47

    I'm a big Mario Party person and I was really looking forward to this game but after playing it I felt it really lacked in content comparing to the DS version of it, as others have said, such an opportunity wasted....

  7. toffeeman30 Monday 20th Jan 2014 at 13:11

    was seeking a one player experience, will steer clear

  8. KingOfDong Tuesday 21st Jan 2014 at 02:28

    Shame, can't say I'm that surprised after the way the series has been lately. I think this series needs to take a break or have a killer Wii U title in the works

  9. sciqueen Tuesday 21st Jan 2014 at 17:17

    Who thought it was a good idea to limit the number of times minigames are played? :/

  10. Dalekbuster523 Tuesday 21st Jan 2014 at 20:32

    Blimey, that places it below another game people saw as having a poor rating. Doctor Who: Evacuation Earth.

  11. Quantum Raven Wednesday 22nd Jan 2014 at 11:31

    60%!! You've just deliberatly under-rated a very fun and good game AGAIN! I will not stand for this atrocity because MPIT is properly fun and nit deserves 92%
    You had better not deliberatly under-rate Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures when that comes out!

  12. bryonan Wednesday 22nd Jan 2014 at 19:24

    I got this game the day it was released and with friends it's alright although it did feel like they could have done a bit more :/ If I wanted to nitpick I'd say they could have improved the characters facial expressions at least or even gave them moving fingers cause I believe the 3DS is capable of that. Technicalities aside, some minigames feel a bit.. bland. I don't know I still feel like there could have been more, such as 2v2 or 1v3.. they better bring these minigames back in the next instalment because I like the feeling of having to work with someone I just sabotaged to win a minigame :P

  13. bryonan Wednesday 22nd Jan 2014 at 19:25

    I took a chance on this game too thinking it can't be as dull as it sounds. You know what? It pretty much is but I have to admit, so far I've only played the two shortest timed boards. Gone are the staples of Mario Party; the fun, allegiances, that backstabbing etc. and its place is 'just get from point A to B as fast as possible. Even the mini-games have been toned down, now taking place once every 3 or so rounds as opposed to after every round - and they seem to be the only part of Mario Party that remains.

    Such a wasted possibility after the phenomenal Mario Party DS, did you even play that for ideas Nd Cube before you stripped it of its party soul?

    I agree with everything here :/ especially the whole play a minigame every 3 rounds part >.>

  14. soopahgamer Monday 3rd Feb 2014 at 11:14

    this game can lose u a lot of friends (play it cause it's fun)

  15. gamebox2d Friday 7th Feb 2014 at 13:46

    60%!! You've just deliberatly under-rated a very fun and good game AGAIN! I will not stand for this atrocity because MPIT is properly fun and nit deserves 92%
    You had better not deliberatly under-rate Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures when that comes out!


    I just found it really boring. I'd rather play Monopoly for a week than five minutes of Mario Party. It takes about half an hour just to play 3 minigames. When they do turn up they're over in seconds. What is it with Nintendo and poor minigames?

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