Ever since the first Mario Party game launched, Nintendo has been releasing new entries in the series at a nearly annual pace. However, we haven't seen a new game since Mario Party 8 hit the Wii three years ago. And now we know why.
Announced at this year's E3, Wii Party is definitely a spiritual successor to the Mario Party series, as it plays almost identically, but with a Mii-infused makeover.
Ars recently played a brief demo of the game, and unsurprisingly, there's not much we haven't seen before. Just like Mario Party, Wii Party is set up like a board game. You roll dice, move your character, and when everybody has gone, you play a mini-game.
Five different mini-games were on display during the demo, which were all fairly solid and featured some nice variety. One game had you racing a horse, flicking the Wii remote in the air to make it speed up. However, doing so used up your energy, so the key to winning was to balance out running quickly with running out of energy.
Easily the most enjoyable game shown had players controlling balls by tilting the controller, with the goal of knocking your opponents into various holes found throughout the stage.
The familiar Mario Party board game setup makes a return in Wii Party
The other mini-games available include a balancing game where you have to keep an ever growing stack of presents from falling over by tilting the Wii remote; a simple tank game where the goal is to shoot your opponents from behind; and log jumping game, where one flick of the wrist lets you jump over logs, while several simultaneous flicks allow your Mii to essentially float through the air for extended periods of time.
Aside from the implementation of Mii support and, presumably, a number of new mini-games to play, very little differentiates Wii Party from past Mario Party games. The board game section is relatively simple, with a few expected features to keep things interesting—landing on some spaces will cause certain things to happen, such as sending a player either backwards or forwards by several spaces or having two players swap positions. Wii Party also takes place on the same tropical island as Wii Sports Resort, which is a nice addition.
When Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime announced Wii Party at E3, he described it as the company's "next bridge title," comparing it to New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Mario Kart Wii, both hugely successful titles. But whereas those titles were experiences that managed to appeal to both traditional gamers and the more casual Wii audience, Wii Party appears to be little more than Mario Party 8 sans the license.
Wii Party is expected to launch in North America this fall.
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