A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
This game encourages a positive social gaming experience among up to four players. It also sends the message that video games are inherently whimsical and shouldn't be taken too seriously when won or lost.
Positive Role Models
The goofy characters, who engage in a steady stream of fantastical activities impossible to emulate in the real world, are unlikely behavioral models. However, the friends and family with whom we play may act as examples of good -- or bad -- behavior when they win and lose games.
Ease of Play
As with all Mario Party titles, players need to learn new controls for each of the more than 80 mini-games they encounter. However, the controls are almost always very simple and intuitive. Concise instructions and the ability to practice games before playing them in official competition help to mitigate frustration and ensure players are always well prepared for the challenge. Multiple computer difficulty levels let players customize the challenge, such as allowing younger players to start the game with more mini-stars than their opponents to help even out skill discrepancies.
Violence & Scariness
Expect standard Mario action. Player avatars hop on each other's heads, shoot cannonballs at a goofy-looking sea monster, get knocked over by sharp-toothed plants, and fall off platforms. It's very cartoonish in presentation, and none of the characters appear to suffer serious injury.
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Products & Purchases
Players will encounter characters from several distinct Nintendo game licenses, including Luigi, Wario, and Yoshi.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mario Party 9 is a classic party game suitable for the whole family. Players engage in quick and simple games that kids even as young as six years of age should be able to understand and sometimes win. The game has some mild violence in the form of player avatars hopping on opponents' heads or enemies briefly squishing characters flat, but it's quite cartoony and none of the characters are ever seriously hurt. Under the CCPA law you have the right to protect your personal information. Make a Do Not Sell request to Mario Party 9.
Is It Any Good?
The upshot of all the changes in Mario Party 9 is that much of the chaos that marked previous Mario Party games is gone. There's no surprise switching of spots with other players just as they are about to collect a star, and less pilfering of game-winning stars already earned. Plus, the board's linearity means players can anticipate which spaces and events are coming up next and plan accordingly. For example, special dice of varying values can be used to make the vehicle hang back and avoid detrimental spaces or zoom ahead to get to beneficial spaces, such as a captain event, boss battle, or a cloud of mini-stars.
But even with its many modifications, Mario Party 9 is still very much a Mario Party game, all the way down to the way it cleverly levels the playing field for players of varying abilities. That's good for those comforted by familiarity, but it also means that folks still exhausted by previous entries (there have been more than 10 Mario Party games to date once you factor in portable editions) probably won't find much of lasting interest here. It isn't essential in the way many games headlined by Nintendo's red-capped superstar tend to be, but it's still fine entertainment for families who want to play together.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.