In the Wii puzzle adventure sequel Mario Party 9, one to four players can enjoy the “Party Mode” where they play on one of seven game boards. Each board has a different theme from the Super Mario universe and that theme is incorporated into the game play and turns for each player. Some of the game boards can repetitive or annoying, but three of them stand out for their great game play, boss battles and diversity.
The first game board available in the game is “Toad Road.” Based off classic Mario levels and greenery, the “Toad Road” game board is a lighthearted way to introduce people to the game. Players travel around in a large car that hops and weaves down a forest path.
The map serves as an introduction to the game and includes several “Spin” and “Lucky” spaces for players to land on. The best part of the map comes at the cliff edge. All of the players must work together to roll a total of 16. If they complete this, the car makes it over the cliff and into a mini-star bonus section. If it fails, players fall to the dreaded Zstar section.
Based off World 8 in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the Magma Mines is a level that builds up intensity as players get through it. The lava level design is nicely detailed, with globs of magma bubbling up. The vertical movements on the game board offer an alternative to the standard horizontal based game play.
The tricky and most entertaining part in Magma Mines comes when the magma starts to rise. Players have to pull ahead of the magma because if it reaches them, the Captain will lose half of their mini-stars. This function adds a lot of strategy and fun to the game board as players try to avoid the magma but get their opponents in it at the same time.
Once all of the bosses have been defeated for the other game boards, players have the ability to unlock the “Bowser Station” game board. This game board adds more captain events, mini-stars and the exclusive Bowser boss battle.
The Captain events are a huge highlight and the space-themed game board. In one players have to match heart patterns, another involves a dice/bingo hybrid and the third is a space race to collect mini-stars.
The center of Bowser Station features the “Jackpot Bowser.” This metal head sucks in mini-stars and players have multiple chances to land on the Jackpot spots to collect the stars for themselves. Eventually players reach the final battle with Bowser where they must roll dice with matching character faces to attack and defeat him.
The Bowser Station has great replay value and players should work on unlocking it to enjoy all the different features.