Mario Party 9

 
Simple party game creates great fun for the whole family.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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. 

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Players will encounter characters from several distinct Nintendo game licenses, including Luigi, Wario, and Yoshi.

Privacy & safety
Not applicable

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.   

What's it about?

MARIO PARTY 9 is a bit different than previous entries in Nintendo's popular virtual board game franchise. For starters, it puts players together in a vehicle. Each takes the helm as captain during their turn, controlling the fate of all competitors. What's more, the board is no longer circular, but instead a long, linear path with several set events, like a cliff that players must jump together and haunted paintings that release car-chasing ghosts. Plus, players no longer collect both the stars once necessary to win the game and the coins used to purchase them. Instead, players now collect a new currency dubbed "mini-stars." The player with the most mini-stars at the end of the game wins.

Even the mini-games have a slightly different flavor. Boss battles have players working together even as they compete against each other. And there are fewer of the series' familiar last-man-standing-on-a-dangerous-platform games. These have been replaced with more original challenges, like tugging on vines to collect fruit and racing to find doors that lead to the bottom of a haunted mansion. The experience is still very Mario Party-ish in tone, but it's undeniably distinct from other Mario Party games.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about social gaming. Do you enjoy playing by yourself or with others? What is it about playing games in groups that you like or dislike?

  • Families can also discuss winning and losing. How important is it to you to win a game? Do you consider how others feel when you win? Have you ever purposely lost in order to make a friend or family member happy?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii
Price:$49.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Nintendo
Release date:March 11, 2012
Genre:Party
ESRB rating:E for Mild Cartoon Violence (Nintendo Wii)

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old August 5, 2012
age 5+
 

Waste of Money!

I bought this game after my sister broke my Mario Party 8, hoping it would be better. I was disappointed. Although the game is similar to Mario Party 8, it is not nearly as much fun. In this version, all the players travel around the game in 1 car, which takes out the excitement of the "race" to the end. Also the game is much slower and much less exciting. I definitely reccomend Mario Party 8 instead.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Easy to play/use
Kid, 9 years old January 6, 2014
age 7+
 

Kids 7+

Really fun game, had a great time playing!
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Kid, 11 years old September 11, 2013
age 6+
 

This makes MP8 seem like crap!

OK, so buy Mario Party 8 first. Then buy Mario Party 9. IT just felt like a true Mario game! Don't waste yo money on Mario Party 8! Think again!

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