Eric Kelly On December 5, 2013 at 11:24 am

Mario Party Island Tour i_40703It’s been a long time since the Original Mario Party game came out for the N64, back in 1998. And it seemed that in more recent years, the series has become stale, and lacking in inspiration, merely just settling for being entertaining to those that still haven’t tired of the old formula. But Mario Party: Island Tour for the 3DS fails to even achieve that.

Being the third installment in the handheld Mario Party titles and the thirteenth overall in the franchise, it should come as little surprise that the game plays much like other entries. But the twist here is that the boards now have themes to them, and it’s not just in their presentation, but in their rule set. Some boards play like a traditional Mario Party experience where you move across a board to gain stars, to get their first, or even play boards where you need to play smart or take risks to advance. One boards rule is that the goal is to come in last rather than first. Outside of the boards, you can play any mini game at your leisure, or play Bowser’s Tower which is like a mini-game survival mode. It should sound like a good time to be had by a player and their friends, but this is the point where things falter.

While the game has a great deal of single-player content, it lacks quite a bit in the multiplayer content. While download play from the DS game returns, once again Online play is absent. Considering the proliferation of social networking and the 3DS’s feature set, this a gigantically missed opportunity. Then there’s the boards themselves. Even though the boards all have nice themes, the sizes of the boards themselves are tiny. Not to mention that number of selectable boards is limited. And of the ones that do play like the traditional variety, they are mostly boards that run in a straight line with little deviation. This makes the boards lack heavily in imagination, and any enjoyment that can be derived from them is too short lived. In past games, you would play a board with a set number of turns. Not the case here. So any chance at making a custom game is thrown out the window. You’ll also be lucky if you play even just 5 mini-games before a winner emerges.

Speaking of the minigames, they are also summarily short lived: Almost created in the quick-fire like nature of the Warioware series, yet less enjoyable. Most minigames use either the gyroscope or touch based stylus controls, with only a handful of games that use button inputs. And nearly all of them are very dull and uninteresting, with little joy to be had playing such uninspired diversions. Want to play sliding puzzles, or matching games? Well, be prepared because many of them are also redundant.

The graphics are decent, but they also don’t really take advantage of the 3D. Neither do they add to the depth of the boards, or in the mini-games themselves. Music is typical ‘this-is-a-mario-game’ stuff, with nothing catchy or of note to mention. And the little voice clips I’ve heard suggest very strongly that the development team couldn’t be bothered to hire mainstays like Charles Martinet to provide clips for Mario, Luigi or Wario, or other VA’s for other characters which is very disappointing. It seems like the series has suffered a drop in quality ever since Hudson stopped working on the series, and that Nd-Cube lacks any sort of ambition to make an enjoyable experience. Or maybe the series has gone on for entirely too long. Either way, this game should be passed up or at least rented, just don’t expect much from it.


Take any of the exciting boards from the series, then throw them away and replace them with boring ones. Unimaginative and unwieldy gyroscopic and largely touch based mini-games.


The graphics look decent but the 3D effect is underemployed.


Typical Mario soundtrack music, nothing amazing. All the longtime series voice actors like Charles Martinet are not used in this game.


Omission of online play and lack of interesting singleplayer content despite the large amount of it leaves for a very average game.

Mario Party: Island Tour Screenshots:

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