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WII
GENRE
Party
DEVELOPER
Hudson Soft
PUBLISHER
Nintendo
WI-FI ENHANCED
no
WII EXCLUSIVE
gcn
EXPECTED RELEASE DATE
December 6, 2004
BUY NOW AT

Mario Party 6

Yes, that would be a six. It’s been five years since the party started and we’re already at number six. This is no small testament to the popularity of the series. Many people are quick to point out the series’ several flaws, including but not limited to: Slow pacing, predominantly chance based, rather than skill based gameplay, and little innovation between incarnations. While the first complaint is a definite issue, Casual P. Gamer probably doesn’t care so much about the last two, as evidenced by the continuing popularity of the series. The true appeal lies in the fact that the games deliver what they promise, not much more, and not much less: A solid party game that is accessible to everybody.

Enter Mario Party 6. While keeping true to the core gameplay of the franchise, Nintendo and Hudson Soft have thrown something potentially huge into the mix: a microphone accessory that allows voice command in 1 vs. 3 player mini-games. Is it enough to shake things up and give the series that long overdue innovation, or is it just an amusing gimmick meant to push some more discs?

media

impressions

Lo and behold, the microphone is not the only new feature on the plate! Nintendo decided to add in a night/day system (adding two new related characters in the process: a sun named Brighton and a moon named Twila). The battle between the two characters is the basis for adding the night/day system. While it’s not terribly necessary to have characters set off the new feature, it doesn’t really hurt either. When time changes from day to night and vice versa via an accelerated time frame, the board itself changes, revealing new games, locations, hidden characters, and other day/night related surprises.

Add to that some massively sped up board movement (thank goodness), 80 mini-games, character vs. challenges, and new items, and you’ve got improvements across the board (no pun intended). While just minor improvements to the overall gameplay, they should kick the fun up just enough to keep things interesting for those out there who own the fifth installment.

The graphics are also improved, and do their job well, but won’t slap you across the peekers with anything completely astonishing. That’s not to say it isn’t all nice and shiny in the tradition of other GameCube Mario titles (e.g. Mario Power Tennis, Mario Golf to name a few), but just that there’s nothing bold or new going on here. Mario Party 6 still holds it’s own in terms of style, with colorful and quirky levels and models for party games and an overall uber-happy presentation.

Quirkiness has always been one of the tenants of Mario Party games, and this one doesn’t appear to withdraw from that tradition, especially in the realm of mini-games. One mini-game has you floating around in hovercraft shooting off cannons at the other players in a splitscreen deathmatch, approaching true hilarity. Another has you swimming to keep from being sucked into a whirlpool with a squid baddy trying to ruin your day. Of course, many more such weird party games pop up all over the place, and part of the joy of the series is coming across new favorites.

Looking to enter the fray of party game favorites are the new mini-games which feature the mic accessory. The accessory itself comes packaged with the game, and plugs into one of the memory card slots, so as not to slow down gameplay with controller switching. Select 1 vs. 3 player mini-games will feature the mic, where one person can do anything from launching missiles and shooting lasers from tanks by voice command, to verbally giving directions to a character itself. It appears that there will be a good number of games featuring the mic, and you can even separately select them when choosing to play mini-games outside of the party game. It remains to be seen how well the action responds to verbal commands, but judging from Nintendo’s interest in voice technology with the DS and their devotion to delivering solid control, there shouldn’t be any need for worry there.

It seems to hold that the mic will be more than a sales gimmick, and offer up some very unique ways to play mini-games, something that the series has needed for quite some time now. Hopefully the mic will be responsive enough to become a worthy addition to the franchise, and even the systems peripheral list as well. One thing’s for sure though, people playing this game are going to get some curious attention from passerbys and non-players, which can only be a good thing when it comes to party games.

word on the street

People who liked 5 are definitely going to like 6. Heck, if you liked any of them, you’ll probably like 6. It looks like everything’s been upgraded just enough to make it a worthy purchase for those looking for some easy to get into and crazy party action. The mic should add to the fun factor, and while innovative in and of itself, Mario Party 6 as a whole doesn’t stray far enough from the formula of the series to be considered truly innovative.

press release notes

Mario Party animals rejoice - Mario Party 6 takes the crowd-pleasing series to the next level with more than 75 all-new mini-games, six fresh game boards and a Nintendo GameCube Mic.

  • Clash with your friends in party-rockin' mini-games like Mowtown, Catch You Letter, Astaroad Rage and Cashapult.
  • A new day and night system gives game boards and mini-games a split personality! Boards transform, characters emerge from hiding and mini-games change dramatically depending on the time of day.
  • The game comes with a Nintendo GameCube Mic. Now you can control some furiously fun mini-game action with the sound of your voice.
  • Faster movement: Speed around the board! Now there's less down time between turns and mini-games!

Game Storyline: The Mario Party series returns with more of everything. In the single-player Story mode, Brighton and Twila – otherwise known as the sun and the moon – are embroiled in a bitter feud over who's more impressive. It’s up to Mario and his party-hearty cohorts to settle the spat and restore order to the cosmos. Multiplayer Party mode features more than 75 all-new mini-games and six game boards.

overall

The mic accessory gives added incentive to pick this one up, but if you’re a fan of the series, you’re already there. If you’re not, then the mic probably won’t be enough to sway you over. Regardless it looks like this one’s going to be another solid entry into the franchise and should be quite fun for those who are all about the party games.





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Mike Spaulding
Staff Profile | Email
"The only thing better than a giant squid is a giant squid with katanas."


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