Written by G. Russell
One Game A Week is a bunch of words from my brain to yours about whatever game has been occupying my time over the last 7 days. Once a week, EVERY week for the duration of 2015. God help us.
A game like Mario Party 10 is one that requires some serious discussion. To do so, I am going to break this post down into three parts; dissecting the good and the bad. The things that made us laugh and cheer and the things that left me, as a consumer and parent,baffled and seething with anger. Are you ready for words? Onwards!
PART ONE : CONTROLLER-GATE
Imagine if you bought Bloodborne for your PS4 and settled down to play it only to find that your Dualshock 4 wasn’t compatible. Imagine the internet reacting to that. Sony HQ would be a pile of rubble within the hour. Thankfully, Sony would never release a game for their system that doesn’t support their primary controller. Now, imagine, if you will, that you bought Sunset Overdrive (hahaha) for your shiny new Xbox One and got home to find that you couldn’t play it with the Xbox One’s controller. Imagine if the only way you could control it was if you still happened, by chance or a stroke of luck, to have an old Xbox 360 controller tucked away in a drawer. Imagine the outpouring of hatred from the Xbox One community. Microsoft would be dead. Dead. Now, one last time, imagine that you bought Mario Party 10 for your Wii U and settled down to play the primary game mode and found out that the two primary controllers for that system, the hulking Gamepad and the Pro Controller, aren’t supported. But Wait! You don’t need to imagine this, cause it’s a reality.
Yes, if you want to play Mario Party, the mode that you would assume is the primary mode in Mario Party 10, you need Wii remotes. The controller from Nintendo’s last console. The one they stopped making in 2013. And if you don’t got any of those controllers, you are shit out of luck.
Now, because I keep old stuff hanging around (like my record collection, South Park seasons 1-5 on VHS and my parents), we still own Wii remotes. We have two of them. And to be totally honest, I knew the game supported Wii remotes. They’re shown on the back of the box. But pretty much all Wii U games show that. It by no means signifies that it’s the only controller that’s compatible. This was why I, knowing we had two of the things plus the Gamepad and the Pro Controller, bought Mazza Pazza 10 and primed my two kids for an evening of co-op hijinks. So it was pretty gutting to slowly discover (because it doesn’t tell you outright on the box or in the manual) that there is no way to play 3 player if you plan on using the Gamepad. Despite owning 5 controllers for the Wii U, 3 of us couldn’t play the main game mode at the same time. Madness. A Madness.
The most baffling thing is – there’s no good reason to not allow someone to use the Gamepad. Sure, there are occasional moments during mini-games where it encourages you to use the Wii remote’s pointer function (in conjunction with the sensor bar) but its only used for things like selecting icons on-screen. I’m pretty sure the D-pad or the analogue sticks on the Gamepad could cope. Also, occasionally, it requires you to shake or tilt the Wii remote. Guess what? The Gamepad can do that whole shaky, tilty thing too. So, why won’t developers Nd Cube let you use it? Why does a new game for a new console need old controllers? MYSTERY.
But there’s Bowser Party mode, I hear you cry. And yes, you’re right, there is.
PART tWO : last night a Bowser saved my life
Thankfully, hopes of 3 player fun weren’t totally fucked, as there is, yup, you heard me the first time – Bowser Mode. This game mode demands use of the Gamepad as one of your party plays as Bowser, a character who needs to be controlled by the Gamepad because of presumably contractual reasons. It functions just fine; you use the Gamepad to roll dice, tilt mini-game levels around and draw on the screen using the stylus to try and screw people over. It’s pretty good fun. It of course highlights that almost all of the things the Wii remote can do, it can do better, and further cements the fact that it’s total bullshit how you can’t use the Gamepad in the normal mode, but hey, that rant is behind me.
It does introduce a new little wrinkle into harmonious family play though, as it forces one of your party to become an antagonist whose sole purpose is to try and make people lose. Anyone who has any experience of kids playing board games will realise that this is like letting a tiger into the room who has sticks of dynamite duct taped to his head, throwing gasoline on him and then giving the children a blowtorch.
Ok, it’s not quite like that but – trust me – brothers and sisters don’t need excuses to get on each others nerves, and Bowser Mode gives them plenty of flipping excuses.
My vision of a typical family Nintendo scene ended up a bit more like Hieronymus Bosch painting.
PART THREE : MOUNTAIN / MOLEHILL
Ok, so, yeah, Mario Party 10 is alright. I’m still not desensitized from seeing the Mushroom Kingdom rendered in crisp HD; it’s still an absolute joy seeing how sharp and beautiful such familiar assets finally look. And the gameplay is great fun; accessible, swift, inclusive and, as I’ve said before of Smash Bros, anything that can entertain a 30 year old, a 9 year old and a 3 year old at precisely the same time is on to a winner. It’s what Nintendo do best, right? Don’t get me wrong – this game is no classic, it’s no Super Mario 3D World or Mario Kart 8. Of course it isn’t. But it’s throwaway, reasonably priced fun. As long as you can look past the whole, lunatic, baffling controller debacle. Which I just about almost can. Sort of.