Island tour

Mario Party: Island Tour review for 3DS: Mario’s party spirit doesn’t let up yet | The Independent

Mario loves throwing a party, it’s his 10th, in fact (counting his official titles in the series). As with all board games (and the real-life genre, of course), it’s better with more friends. Fortunately, Mario Party: Island Tour features Download Play, which means others can join in without buying the game themselves – but with no online multiplayer option, you’ll need three friends each with a 3DS, and unless you meet your friends at the club Nintendo, this could be difficult.

Playing a board game on a handheld device naturally creates a different dynamic than sharing a console and screen. For one thing, you won’t be able to scream and swear if Kamek swaps your position on the board from first to last while you’re sitting on the bus. Ultimately, it’s this sense of shared competition that makes interactive board gaming so enjoyable – the combination of skill and revenge, with a dash of luck.

Corn Mario Party: Island Tour doesn’t work as well when playing against computer-controlled characters, it’s still a solid game for on the go. At the “Normal” difficulty level, rivals will offer absolutely no competition, and you will rarely lose. It’s better to increase the difficulty, but practice before going to the “Master” level, because – surprisingly – getting to the last place every time can get tedious.

Playing with friends on the 3DS isn’t the same as sharing a big TV – and the computer is a little wimpy on lower difficulty levels.

The different board games are categorized by playing time and how much you want to rely on luck or skill. Presumably, luck-based levels are for younger players, since these games (based purely on random choices and hoping for the best) aren’t fun at all.

All the boards would need to add more minigames everywhere; everyone knows that waiting for someone else to roll the dice and move along the board is the tedious part of any game, virtual or otherwise. Unfortunately, some minigames don’t really have an effect on your position on the board, which defeats the purpose. It would also improve the game immensely if a hard board were added, where the games were a bit longer and more complex.

“Bowser’s Tower” is more about stamina with a platforming advantage as it includes boss levels. While holding down the right shoulder button does speed things up, climbing the tower between games takes way too long. For extended games, there’s also ‘Time Attack’, or for a straight-up non-stop mini-game, opt for ‘Balloon Race’.

Some games can be a little repetitive, but most are creative and engaging.

As always with Mario Party, some games follow a similar format to before, like “Tile Savvy” (drag the tiles to make the picture right), and connect the dots in “Starring Artist”, and yes, a couple sucks – I’m looking at you ‘Color Me Fast’. But most of them are creative, have beautiful graphics and call on different skills: timing, speed, running, counting, reflexes, aiming, balance, rhythm… the list goes on.

Mario’s party days aren’t over yet.