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Mario Party Advance Package Art
  Hudson Soft

Mario Party Advance

With six iterations spanning the life of the Nintendo 64 and the Gamecube, and one outing as a card game, the Mario Party series has flourished into one of Nintendo’s most entertaining and frequently updated franchises. Mario and friends have partied hearty in every way imaginable—the word on the street is that they’re even planning one last hurrah for Gamecube; however, it seems someone forgot to buy the drinks for their most recent fiesta on the Game Boy Advance.


The art of Mario Party Advance mimics that of the Gamecube and Nintendo 64 games in a 2D world. The environment of the main game is simply one large game board called “Shroom City,” which has standard graphics at best. Harmed by mostly static, single color backgrounds, Shroom City is fairly underwhelming. After navigating the board a bit, the player is transported to a mini-game, which, more often than not, does not help the already low standard for visuals in the game. With some exceptions, the games are played in fairly uninspiring environments—not too much detail, animation, or thought to presentation was given. The animations in nearly every instance—characters, objects, and environments—lack fluidity and flair. The game certainly doesn’t attempt to raise any bars in the graphics department.


Mario Party has never been known for its stellar audio, and this game doesn’t alter that perception. Mario Party Advance simply remixes standard Mario Party tunes with a twist of classic Mario music in 16 bit sound. The lack of variety and sometimes-muddled sound quality hurts the overall appeal of the audio. The characters weren’t given a wide variety of voice work either, which also lowers the sound quality. Even the standard blips and bonks could have been given a better presentation. The game is lacking in the sound department.


In the single player mode, the objective of the game is to traverse the Shroom City board and stop at every single location possible to help the citizens with their various problems. Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Yoshi will each start at a different corner of Shroom City. By rolling a die, the character of your choice will move the number of spaces rolled in their car. You must stop at various buildings and houses to meet the citizens of the town. For each citizen you aid, you will complete a quest. After completing a certain number of quests, Bowser will open up a pipe so that you can access different sections of Shroom City. Each quest requires you to play a mini-game specific to the citizen’s problem. There are 40 quests in all, and additional mini-games that you play in order to earn more mushrooms, which give you extra rolls of the die to move about Shroom City.

Controlling the game is never really a problem as most of the tasks call for a basic control scheme. Generally, the mini-games only need basic use of A and B to function. The most you’ll have to do is move the character to the other side of the screen. Some quests and games are a bit harder than others, but usually because of time constraints and objectives than control hindrances or complexities.

Despite having an adequately functioning interface, this game is hardly a party. The choice to put Mario Party on Game Boy Advance only a few months before the DS is scheduled to go online is utterly bizarre to me. Most of the game focuses on the single player experience, which has never worked in the Mario Party franchise thus far. The game is meant to be played with others—single player just doesn’t cut it. It begs the question: why not put this on the DS? If anybody at Nintendo is reading, I’m sure many fans would appreciate a Mario Party DS game.

Although I have qualms with making a single player-centric Mario Party, the game has enough material to keep a player busy for a long time—it’s just not as engaging as most would have liked. The repetitive gameplay gets dull quickly; however, if playing mini-games is your penchant, you will be in gamer’s heaven.


Assuming you have one, two, or three friends who are just as interested in a 2D party game, you might get some enjoyment out of the multiplayer. A single cart allows you access to a limited amount of mini-games; you can play a lot more with several cartridges in play. However, the whole experience is nothing like a full-on 3D Mario Party. These mini-games are only selectively entertaining. Stick to the Gamecube versions if you’re looking for a solid multiplayer game.


Mario Party Advance is a mildly amusing experience, but a good addition to your collection if you want hours of relatively mindless entertainment--possibly for a long car or plane trip. Besides being on the dull side, the game unquestionably offers the player quite a bit of unlockable items, extras, and mini-games to mess around with. As long as you have a burning desire to play a slew of mini-games for hours on end, this game is for you. Most people may find their time better spent playing the console versions of Mario Party, or perhaps writing a letter to Nintendo asking for a DS version of the game with online capabilities.

final score 6.8/10

Staff Avatar Patrick Ross
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"Reggie kicked my ass and took my quote."

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