Nintendo Reviews Rating:
Age 6+
Posted: August 2nd, 2006
By: Webmaster-Josh
Mario Party 7 brings something new to the game-eight player options- along with bringing back the use of the microphone.
But does that makes this party worth playing? Read the full review here.

The Mario Party games always seem to improve on some aspects, but not too much in the sound side. If you're familiar to
the series, which you probably are, you're used to the same character voices. This time, I'd have to say the voice quality
took a step down. Some of the lines are better, but it seems that some of the characters feel too different, or too overdone.
It's not terrible, but could have been a little better.
The Dolby Surround sound feels a little pointless, like they have been for past games. Yes, it brings out the audio a little
better, but it doesn't take the full advantage I was hoping for. And finally is the music, which is a big part of the sound
section. I think the music quality has stayed relatively the same, if not worse. Some of the boards have very bad music.
They didn't really take the nuances of each board seriously. For example, Pagoda Peak tries to have an oriental theme to
it, but it hardly sound genuine (and I would know). Plus, the music samples are a bit too short. There's also not too many
that stick out as great, or memorable samples. So overall, the sound could have used some improvement.

One problem I had been hoping would be fixed in this game versus Mario Party 4 fortunately was. The loading times. They
are very fast, some of them so fast, I almost wonder how they do it. It's not perfect, but near close, and much improved
over Mario Party 4. But that leads to the menu screens. They are pretty navigable, but Toadsworth... Yeah, that guy can
get really annoying. He says so many things, and there's no way to skip it. He'll say the same three lines when you enter
each room of the cruise ship, and you can't skip them. It's rather annoying.
On game boards, it isn't so bad, though. Rather, we have to deal with the Orbs, introduced back in Mario Party 5. I think
by now, though, they have really polished the Orb system, and shouldn't cause any control problems. Since there are so
many, the fact that the game forces you to look at any Orbs you have before you can decide to hit the Dice Block is
understandable. The Orbs are like items, and they don't feel secondary. You can place them on the board, or sometimes
use them on yourself, but the system works.
Finally are the mini-games. A few games use th C Stick for control, but it should be noted that all of the mini-games are
very simple, and very quick. That could be a good thing (read Design for more on that). The eight-player mini-games are
also very easy to adapt. Sharing a controller with someone may take some time getting used to, but it's relatively easy. As
the mini-games are relatively easy. They only involve the L/R button and one of the Control Sticks. Easy. So by polishing
on the controls this time around, the game really seems a lot better.

This game also improves a little in the graphics. The game never slows
down on framerate, and the environments are a lot more developed.
You can tell they put a lot of work into the game. The game also makes
very good use of lighting effects, without much of an unpolished feel.
In fact that might be why the graphics have succeeded in this
generation of Mario Party games. They always feel polished. Even
amidst all that's going on, there's a lot more going on in the graphics.
And it looks great.

Okay, I should start with the mini-games, because there's a lot. 84 to be exact. Now granted, some aren't really real
mini-games you'd classify. Okay, I guess they all are. But the simplicity of the games may make the number not seems
like such a big deal. It seems that the mini-games lack the length of previous Mario party games, but if you are enthralled
by that part, you'll be pleased by the number.
Like every other Mario Party game besides the first, this game only features six boards. I still consider this number too
low. And once again, the boards have been downgraded a little, too. They are also a bit smaller than before. But once again,
they are suitable, and should be engaging enough to satisfy. The Mic mini-games also satisfy in the replay value, though
some seem a bit too long. They did keep it quite controlled for the most part.
The major addition is the eight-player options. Not only are there several mini-games just for eight players, you can also
play board games with eight people. This mode does add a little more replay, and also more involving. But then you talk
about the Solo Cruise. It is rather pointless, and too short. I know it's not much fun, but to Mario Party 4's credit, the
Story mode was rather long.
The cool thing is that by playing the game, you save up mileage points to buy souvenirs and extra mini-games and secrets.
The souvenirs are very pointless, but the first like 12 of the things you can buy are pretty useful. This also keep you
playing for a while. That's also not to mention the various amounts of way you can play the mini-games outside of the
boards. So basically, there's a lot to do, more than it seems past Mario Party games have had.

The design this time around feels very recycled. Although it's not bad (come on, everyone loves Mario Party) it does feel
like it needs some revamping. I will admit that this is the most polished of all the games. They really nailed down the Orbs
system, and the Mic mini-games also feel a bit better. Though I have some complaints. The single-player mini-game is
very stupid. You memorize five cards with fruits. Wow. You can easily double your coins with that. And some of the
mini-games that require a microphone are just as easy as using a controller. Though I've never substituted it, it seems
pointless. Why say "Stop" when you could just press A? But then there are some that actually require a bit more thinking
and voicework, like a fun 1 vs. 3 game where you send out various water creatures to kill the opponents.
The eight-player modes are also fun, but need a bit more work for next time. When playing board games, the only thing it
adds is the eight-player mini-games. Just like we've been doing in the past, it's easier to just switch controller every turn.
It should be noted that whoever the leader of the team is is playing all of the mini-games under that character anyway. It
just makes sense to trade controllers off. It would have been easier if the game actually provided some randomization in
this area.
The rest of the game plays rather well. The Orbs system was really great, so there's little confusion. The boards also stray
from the norm by providing boards that behave differently to gain stars. In a sort of monopolistic style, a board called
Windmillville requires donations to windmills. At any point in the game, whoever has the most coins invested in that
windmill is entitles to the amount of star the windmill contains. That's easily the most fun board. And the mini-games are
also very original. There's not one standout games, but there are several games that really are fun. Though the game is
slightly better in most aspects, the game still has the sense of deja vu. I still think that the series needs a serious face lift
for the next generation, and I think Mario Party on Wii will excel. But this game doesn't quite hit it.





Final Words

So by score, this may be one of the better Mario Party games. But I say that the game still needs to bring back older
games. Look at Mario Kart DS. It succeeds because it has the best levels from older games. They could easily bring back a
ton of older mini-games. Who doesn't need a Bumper Balls fix? Bottom line, I don't think the series will ever be great
again until they do this. But it's still good, and definitely fun.