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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Nintendo
DevelopeD By: Nintendo
Players: 1-4
Genre: Party
Rated: E (Everyone)
Release Date: November 19, 2007
Screenshots: Link
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Written By: Rangebar Merani

Mario and the gang are back once again for another party, but this time they’ve gone miniature and have landed on the Nintendo DS. Bowser has shrunken Mario and the rest of the crew on a mission to find the five Sky Crystals that have fallen to Earth. With new party boards and new minigames, Mario and his pals are back for a new adventure in Mario Party DS.

The Story Mode has players choosing a character and taking them on an adventure through five party boards to become the Superstar and stop Bowser from getting the Sky Crystals. To move through the party boards, players must collect the most stars to become the Superstar and then defeat the board boss in a Boss minigame. Like every other Mario Party game, each board has its' own theme and each one plays out differently. For example, the first board you have to go through, Wiggler’s Garden, has you playing in a huge garden in which you will have to try to avoid the hungry Piranha Plant. Another party board is Donkey Kong’s Stone Statue in which you must climb to the top to trade coins for all the stars you want. Every time you play a party board you must become the Superstar to advance, or you’ll have play that board again. Once you have completed a party board, you will earn Mario Party points based on various factors during gameplay, such as your final ranking and minigame performance. Once you get enough MP points, you will automatically be rewarded with prizes and collectibles that can be viewed in the Gallery.

Being the 10th game in the series and the first on the Nintendo DS, Nintendo did a good job of making use of the stylus, mic and duel screens in Mario Party DS, but just not enough when it comes to the minigames. One minigame using the stylus is Goomba Wranglers, in which you have to collect more Goombas then your opponent by drawing circles around them with the stylus. Toppling Terror is a team minigame in which you and a partner must blow into the mic for five seconds and which ever team blows the most will push Whomp over and onto the other team. These games are really fun, but unfortunately during a party board game only one or two of the stylus or mic games came up. With the innovative hardware available, it was heartbreaking to see only a number of games using the stylus or mic. But with over 60 minigames available, there’s still plenty of fun to have even though a lot of the minigames seem to be dating back to the Nintendo 64 era. The dual screens are used well both on the party boards and minigames. On the party board the bottom screen is used as the main screen to hit the dice block and see players move along the party board. The top screen is used as a map of the board and shows the status panel (which shows the stars and coins) for each player. During minigames the bottom screen is the main screen and the top screen is usually an extension of the bottom screen.

Probably the best and coolest feature in Mario Party DS is the ability to hook up wirelessly with other players in Multiplayer Mode using just one game cartridge. Using the DS Download Play option, up to four players can hook up their DS wirelessly and join in on the fun. The download time is really quick and it only takes a few moments to get all players linked and ready to play. And the fact that everyone has their own DS allows players to read through the rules and tips of a minigame at their own pace.

Along with Story Mode and Multiplayer Mode, there is also the Puzzle Mode, Minigame Mode and Party Mode to keep the party going. The Puzzle mode is filled with classic puzzle games from the Mario Party series and can be played over and over again when wanting to get away from the party boards or the usual minigames. The Minigame Mode gives players the chance to play any of the minigames unlocked during Story Mode and Party Mode without having to go through the party boards. The Party Mode is just the normal game that allows players to choose from any of the five party boards to play.

Mario Party DS does a great job of bringing a successful franchise to a new platform while keeping to its roots. It would have been nice if the majority of minigames actually used the innovative hardware of the Nintendo DS instead of recycling some past ideas, but it still excels as a thrilling party game. With its ability to link four players wirelessly using one game cartridge, it’s one of the best multiplayer games on the DS and one of my favorite games in the long running series.



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