Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
Nintendo feels no shame in releasing iteration after iteration of the same franchise, console after console, because fans continue to eat it up. But for some reason, Mario Party isn’t greeted with the same welcoming warmth as a traditional Super Mario, Mario Kart, or Smash Bros. Maybe it’s because party games in general get a bad rap. No matter the reason, you can’t deny that Mario Party is good fun for all ages.
Thanks to some new twists on the classic board-game style gameplay, HD graphics, and the franchise's debut on the Wii U, Mario Party 10 might just be the first Mario Party in years that you should genuinely be excited about. And not just because Mario Party in HD is about as gorgeous as a party game gets.
Rather than demonstrating the typical four-player board-game traveling around the map, which is fairly standard across all Mario Party titles, Nintendo showed off new mini-games. Four of them were standard-issue mini-games—fun as they may be, they don’t stand out. But what did leave a lasting impression was the unique use of the Wii U GamePad to take control of Bowser to be a thorn in the side of the four other Wii-mote players in the all-new Bowser Party mode.
In Bowser’s Bad Breath, the GamePad player would breath fireballs from Bowser’s perspective by swiping the touchscreen. Meanwhile, the Wii-mote players must dodge and avoid being burned by the Koopa King’s hot breath. Bowser’s Fire Bar Fury utilized the Wii U GamePad as a tabletop-style tilting device to send columns of flames barreling toward played as they attempt to make a clean escape. Bowser’s Painball (did they really need to add Bowser to the title of each of these when it’s clearly called Bowser Party mode?) uses the GamePad triggers to control pinball paddles to knocked spiked balls at poor Mario and Peach.
In the last game, Bowser’s Wicked Wheel, all four players were placed in a hamster wheel with an electrified barrier on either side. Swiping the touchscreen spun the wheel and doing nothing stopped it, while Wii-mote players shook the motion controller rapidly to keep their character running and away from getting the shock of their lives. Using the Wii-mote like this works a lot better at home, but in the middle of the E3 show floor, the up-and-down motion required to run didn’t at all seem appropriate for doing in the middle of a public place... next to a paid Nintendo rep... while playing a Mario game.
It’s Mario Party, but you finally get your chance to be the asshole who ruins all the fun, and sometimes being the bad guy is the most fun of all. Mario Party 10 is slated for release on April 17, 2015 for Wii U.