Do you like Mario games? Do you like party games? Do you like having fun with friends? If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, then Mario Party 9 might be the game for you. With 80 all-new minigames, you are most likely going to love this beauty. Read my review on Mario Party 9 to decide whether or not you should buy Mario Party 9.

     Gameplay:  Mario Party 9 is a Mario Party game that is very different than most Mario Party games. Before I dig into the ground, let's admire the flowers. Mario Party 9 has 5 different modes. These modes are party mode, minigames mode, solo mode, museum mode, and extras mode. All of these modes are excellent, and, if you want more information on them, read below.

     Mario Party 9 gets mixed up and beefed up with some goodies, but it does fall short of what was given in the past. One of the most famous elements of the Mario Party series was the stars and how you have to collect as many as you can. Well, Mario Party 9 stabbed the star in the heart because you are not going to be collecting stars. Instead, you will be collecting mini stars, the stars that make up the constellations in the sky, and the mini stars will get transformed into a normal star that will be handed to the winner. In my opinion, Nintendo should have kept the normal stars rather than replacing them with these mini stars, but it is okay. In addition, Nintendo added mini ztars, a type of star that makes you lose stars. These stars add flavor to the game and makes it better. When you play in Donkey Kong's stage, you collect bananas and try to avoid z-bananas rather than using stars.

     Unlike previous games in the Mario Party series, Mario Party 9 contains a small variety of dice blocks. These dice blocks are the normal dice block, 1-2-3 dice block, 4-5-6 dice block, 0-1 dice block, 1-10 dice block, and the slow dice block. Most of these aren't so special, but these blocks can really help you win the game if you use them strategically. Speaking of dice blocks, there are a variety of spaces and one of the spaces gives you a dice block. These spaces are green spaces (nothing will happen), dice block spaces, lucky spaces, unlucky spaces, event spaces, shuffle spaces, dash spaces, back spaces, spin spaces, bowser spaces, mini star spaces, mini ztar spaces, captain event spaces, boss battle spaces, free-for-all spaces, 1-vs.-2 / 1-vs.-3 spaces, Bowser Jr. spaces, and battle spaces. These spaces are very nicely placed, and they are some marvelous spaces that fit perfectly with Mario Party 9.

     Mario Party isn't a party without a party mode, right? Of course I am! Party is even in the title! Anyways, Mario Party 9 offers you a fantastic party mode that includes some brilliant courses that have new twists. First of all, as usual, Mario Party 9 allows you to play with up to four friends in one of 7 amazing courses. You are able to pick one of 12 characters with two characters that can be unlocked via solo mode (I'll talk about it in solo mode.). When you get into the game, the first thing you will do, just like every Mario Party game or board game in general, is you roll a die to see who goes first. Next, all of the players will get in a vehicle, and the first player will be the captain. The captain always switches, so, when it is your turn, you will be the captain. The captain gets to play his/her turn, bring the party (everyone) closer to the finish, and gets the benefits that they land on. For example, if they land on a dice space, the captain gets to get the die. Minigames come and go differently than past Mario Party games, and, in my opinion, Nintendo should've stuck to the past. Instead of a minigame starting right after everybody takes their turn, minigames start less frequently, and minigames don't start after everybody's turn. Rather than sticking to tradition, Nintendo decided that if you're going to play a minigame you have to land on a dice block space, and, if you're lucky, a minigame will be inside the gift containing the die. To make things worse, the minigames aren't hidden. Instead of the game randomly choosing a minigame with every minigame you haven't played before unknown, you have a choice of one of three games, and you can see what the games are before you choose. This deleted the surprise, and, in my opinion, I don't like it. Another thing that is brand new is bosses alongside with captain events. In captain events, you will try to gain as many mini stars as you can along with the other players. The captain gets the advantage by being able to do something that can get him to win. For example, the captain can pick the order of the players in some captain events. On the other hand, two boss fights occur in one game with one of them revealing the halfway point and the other closing the game. There are a variety of bosses from past Mario games including blooper, king bob-omb, dry bones, and king boo. Each boss is very fun to fight, and, in boss battles, it is pretty much a special minigame with the final attack giving you some bonus points to help get you in first. Also, when Mario Party 9 counts up the points and announces the places, you will find out that, in boss battles only, captains get a captain bonus.

     Recover the mini stars stolen by Bowser in this frantic, party-style adventure. Yes, I can only be talking about solo mode right now! In solo mode, you will play as the character of your choice and go on an adventure to rescue the mini stars that Bowser stole from the sky. You will travel through each and every course in order along with one, two, or three more characters. The games are pretty much just like Party Mode except for the fact that you must go in order to every course, there is a story, and the fact that the two mystery players, Shy Guy and Magikoopa, will appear. They are the characters that are locked for until you beat solo mode once. During your playthrough in solo mode, you will notice that you will play against one (or both) of them in every course. You might be asking, "Why is that?" Well, that is because they play for Bowser. If one of them wins a game in solo mode, they will take the mini stars back to Bowser and force you to replay the course. Anyways, solo mode is a very nice single-player story mode that is replayable while enjoyable at the same time. You will not be disappointed with solo mode.

     Minigame Mode is an excellent, fun game mode that has many different categories, each containing a new, fun way of playing minigames. These categories are free play, step it up, choice challenge, time attack, garden battle, high rollers, and boss rush. In free play, you, well, play whatever game you want. In step it up, you play minigames against your rivals, and you try to get to the top of the stairs. The first one to the top wins, and, if you win, you will climb up the amount of steps it is for one win (it depends on how many wins you choose to declare the winner). In choice challenge, you choose 3 minigames along with your rivals. Then, the people who chose the same minigames will go against each other in those minigames. In time attack, you play 10 minigames against the clock to see how fast you can beat them all. To add some pizazz, Nintendo also added challenge bonuses which shave 3 seconds off of your time. In garden battle, you will play minigames against your foes while at the same time trying to fill up your garden with plants. The win order decides who gets to pick plants first and the plants are all in a design, so you must think of this as if it is a puzzle (which it kind of is). In high rollers, you are in the sky standing on a block with the block on top of more blocks. What you must do is play a minigame to decide how many spaces you can move. Then, you will need to move onto spaces (that are numbered with either 30, 20, 10, or 0) to collect the amount of points shown on the blocks.  The first player to reach 600 points will win. Also, POW blocks and speed items just add to the flavor some more. The POW block makes every block reduce by 10 while the speed item makes you move extra spaces. Finally, boss rush is where you will play against 12 bosses with your foes. The person who gets the most points in the end wins, and points are given by what place you come in (1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th).

     Whether it is buying a new vehicle or buying a new stage, Mario Party 9 has legions of unlockables that you can get via the Museum. No, the museum is not a place where you can only browse at the items that you have collected. Yes, the museum does allow you to see everything you've unlocked, but you unlock whatever you want in the museum. You unlock what you want from the museum by using party points. Party points are points that you receive from party mode and solo mode. The party points that you receive are the amount of mini stars that you collect throughout your game in party mode, and, at the end of solo mode, the amount of mini stars you collected plus 500 extra points makes up what you receive from that portion of the game. The museum contains 6 categories. These categories are stars, vehicles, sound test, stages, records, and staff credits. In stars, you can pay 50 party points to get a constellation back into the sky. There are many, many constellations that you can get from this category, which is a good thing. The next category is vehicles. In vehicles, you can unlock new vehicles for certain courses in party mode. The vehicles that you unlock can only be used in the course that it is for, so keep in mind that you can't buy a vehicle and use it in more than one course. The third category is sound test. In sound test, you can buy in-game music or voices that you can listen to with the jukebox in the background by clicking the listen button, clicking on one of the two categories you want, clicking the track, and, finally, by clicking the play button. Another category is stages. In this category, you buy, well, stages... You can buy either the stage DK Jungle Ruins, the COM master difficulty, the staff best (which adds the staff's records to your minigames), and the boss rush mode (The boss rush mode is available after you beat the solo mode.). Yet another category is the records category. This category acts more like a real museum rather than a grocery store. All you do in this category is just browse at your records from minigames. For example, if you got a record of 25.00 seconds in the minigame Snow Go, you can see it in the records category. The final category is actually the staff credits. In this category, as you probably already expected, you can see who created Mario Party 9 while watching Mario try to get to the end of the Mushroom Kingdom Mario Party style.

     Extra mode has some wackier versions of the normal games that you play in party mode or solo mode while delivering some extra goodies. When you enter extra mode, you will encounter four categories. These categories are Castle Clearout, Shell Soccer, Goomba Bowling, and Perspective Mode. Castle Clearout is pretty much a Mario style Tetris game that is just as good as the original Tetris. In this mode, you need to clear marbles of same colors by matching them in groups of six. In addition, you can also arrange the marbles in certain formations, and, if you do arrange them in either a line, a pyramid (triangle), or a hexagon, you will make all the marbles of the same colors of those in the formation disappear. Shell Soccer is 2 on 2 including goombas as your target rather than an actual soccer goal. Yeah, that's right, goombas are your targets. What you do is you use the soccer ball, a red koopa's shell, to eliminate the other team's seven goombas before they can do that to your goombas. Goomba Bowling is bowling in which you must knock out all of the goombas (or as many goombas as you can) in a bowling match. The twist in this eccentric bowling match is that the goombas move, so you must aim your shell very carefully. Also, unlike real bowling games, you only have five frames for you to try and get as many points as you can. Finally, Perspective Mode provides you ten minigames with different perspectives, meaning ten minigames with each of them holding a different view of it in the palm of its hands. Because of this, the minigames could be easier or they could be as hard as Billistics, one of the altered minigames in Perspective mode.

     Graphics: The graphics in Mario Party 9 are stellar! Mario Party 9 looks like it is one of the most graphically advanced video games you can find on the Nintendo Wii! The cover of Mario Party 9 even agrees with the graphics! If you are looking for a game that looks amazing, then this game answers the call emitted by you.

      Sound/Music: Uplifting, alluring music is all that you will find here because Mario Party 9's music and sounds fit each and every situation, including parts of the game that aren't minigames. All you will find is extraordinarily amazing music that will satisfy even the hungriest bellies.

     Replayability: As usual, Mario Party 9 continues the string of highly replayable Mario Party games in the Mario Party series. Mario Party 9 contains 7 courses, 80+ minigames, different play styles, a Star Fox 64 style solo mode (In Star Fox 64, when you beat the game, you can play it again and get a higher score. Well, this is the same thing with solo mode in Mario Party 9.), and more. These different ingredients are bound to keep you hooked to the fishing rod called Mario Party 9, and they will not disappoint you. Anyways, Mario Party 9's replayability is tremendously high, and, as I said above, Mario Party 9 will keep you hooked and it will keep you wanting to party with Mario and the mushroom kingdom.

     Save Spots: Unlike some previous Mario Party games in the Mario Party series, Mario Party 9 disappointed me with save spots. Some past Mario Party games gave you the ability to save your current game so you can finish it later. Well, in Mario Party 9, that is not the case. You could play two-thirds of a game in Party Mode, get tired, quit playing, and you can't save the game for later use. You can pretty much only save after you finish a game, buy something, finish a minigame in perspective mode, finish a game in solo mode, etc. It's not so bad and it isn't like the end of the world, but it would be very nice if Nintendo included into Mario Party 9.

     Controls: Mario Party 9's controls are very basic, and you can tell that Mario Party 9 is trying to attract core gamers with these controls. Unlike Mario Party 8, Mario Party 9 contains a lot less motion-controlled minigames and most of the minigames are controlled with just buttons. In pretty much all of the minigames, you have to hold the Wii remote sideways and use the buttons, but, in some minigames, you must use the Wii remote's motion control ability. In addition to using buttons and holding the Wii remote sideways for most of the minigames, you will be using all of the buttons. While not every minigame uses every button on the Wii remote, some minigames do and you eventually will have to. Also, Mario Party 9 only uses the Wii remote, so you will not be using the nunchuck. Anyways, Mario Party 9's controls are very good, and, in my opinion, the controls are better than Mario Party 8's motion controls and are good to use.

     The Conclusion: Whether it is a single-player story mode or a multiplayer mode, Mario Party 9 delivers it in a package that is too irresistible. Including boss battles, new courses, new things to unlock, brand new minigames, and much more, this is a game you won't want to miss. 

Mario Party 9 Official Website