Whether you love it for its childish charm or hate it because of its childish charm, it's undeniable that Mario Party offers a bunch of laughs and lots of enjoyment. It's no surprise that a 3DS iteration, Mario Party Island Tour, has been in the works, and if the two mini games I got to demo are any indication, another great title for the series is on its way.
As with any Mario game, it's visually pleasing with the iconic, cartoonish art style that fans have come to love. It's filled with typical Mario settings and enemies, as well as a cast of characters that hold the level of detail of Nintendo's first party standards. There are never any real complaints when it comes to the visuals of Mario games, as the same style continues to impress, and Island Tour is no exception. While I didn't get to witness the game board section, it's safe to assume that many will be tropical in nature given the title of the game.
The first minigame, which had Mario and the gang using plunger arrows to hit as many enemies as possible on a grid, was very much like the bow and arrow game from Wii Sports Resort. Aiming is done using the 3DS's (or in my case, the 2DS) gyroscope, moving the system in order to properly aim your shot. Arrows are shot simply by pressing down on the circle and pushing up, with no speed gained when you flick it faster. The player who hits the most in three rounds wins, with the only challenge coming in the form of trying to aim your shot to take down an entire row, which isn't very difficult. The aiming is spot on, however, with no hiccups when dealing with the gyroscope, and shooting arrows is just as smooth. More human players would definitely provide more of a challenge, and thankfully you'll only need one cartridge to play with your buddies over the 3/2DS local wireless play.
The second minigame, which featured the classic bumper balls from previous games, was a lot more entertaining. Instead of having to bump off other players from a platform, you'll race your way along a track while trying to avoid obstacles, roll faster with speed boosts, and not get bumped off and lose the race. I can see a lot of fun times ahead, as I can guarantee most races will have one if not all players aiming to knock each other off right as it begins. Get ready for some massive griefing fun, which was always a big part of Mario Party for me to begin with.
Mario Party: Island Tour is looking to be another great entry in the series. While one of the mini games was lackluster, the bomber ball race was a blast to roll around in, and with over 80 mini games packed into this portable title, there's sure to be something for everyone. Look for Mario Party: Island Tour on November 22nd in America and in early 2014 overseas.