Mario and his gang take turns on party boards for the third time on a portable system,but did everyone manage to become a "Superstar" in the end,or did they lost all of their luck?
Mario Party DS is the eleventh game of the MP series on America,and,as said before,the second on a handheld,since the first was Mario Party Advance,and the second had eReader cards,but let's get onto the game.
Starting with the story section,it begins with five mysterious crystals falling from the sky at night,and one of them lands close to Mario.The other day,Mario tells to the others about the crystall,which is one of the "Sky Crystalls",and at the same time,Kamek drops invitation cards for them to come to a buffet that Bowser made,as a way to "apologyse" to what he has done before,and even Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong were invited.Mario and the others arrive first,but it was all just a trick,since Bowser suddenly drops a cage on them,and he increases their size with the Minimizer,and afterwards,Bowser fling the small protagonists far away,but even with that,Mario and his friends decide to go after Bowser,and stop him from getting the other Sky Crystalls.The story is pretty basic,but remember this is a Mario game,so you don't usually expect complex storylines,unless you're talking about the RPG Mario games,like the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series,so consider this as a pass,even if you finish the plot in less than 2 hours.
This MP installment has a small(literally small) roster of 8 characters,which includes Mario,Luigi,Peach,Daisy,Wario,Waluigi,Yoshi and Toad,with all of them are unlocked from the beginning.The number of party boards is also small,with 5 in total,and one of them is unlocked through the story campaign.
About the game's boards,they each have their paths with spaces,wether it is a blue space,a red a space,an event space,a battle space,or the ever infamous(or friendship ruiner) Bowser space.The objective of each of them is to have the most stars by the end of the match to become the "Superstar" winner.When you do such thing on the story mode,you'll have to fight a specific boss in a mini-game of their one,and there's one of them for each board,and they will appear occasionally while you're playing normally on one of them.You'll find some Mole Shops during gameplay on the boards,and they give you items for a requested amount of coins,and you can hold up to 3 of them,with each of the items either helping you,or messing up with the other people playing.Though,don't go using your coins like if they were nothing,since you will have to use a certain amount of them to collect the stars scoutered around the board.Rarely,you'll encounter a hidden block if you land on a selected space,holding some coins,a star,or just a Ztar,which is a star that will take one of your stars away,if you have any).In a resume,the gameplay on the party boards is pretty solid and fun,especially with friends,although you might want to be warned that Mario Party is one of those "friendship ruiners" type of games,so be careful with that.
Of course,a Mario Party game wouldn't be Mario Party without the mini-games,and you have over 70 of them this time around,with 4-player,1-Vs.-3,Battle,2-Vs.-2,Duel and Boss type(Bosses are for one player only,though) mini-games to play through,and most of them are creative,while a few of these were kind of a mix-bag,but they're overally good to play with friends,and you can play them in six types of modes.
There's a puzzle mode in the game,with six to play,but when you first boot up the game,you still have to unlock the sixth puzzle game,by beating the Story mode of the game,and it's the only new puzzle game here,since the rest already appeared before on other Mario Party games,with Mario's Puzzle Party(MP3),Bob-omb Breakers(MP4),Piece Out(MP5),Block Star(MP6) and finally,Stick and Spin(MP7),with each of them being very fun and clever,and you'll have to be a puzzle genius to get a really high score in them.
The game has an achievement system,where you unlock some trophies of the characters in the game(kinda like Smash Bros.),and even some parts of the bosses' minigames.You can also unlock badges,with each of them representing a type of personality by the characters slapped on them.They don't do very effective stuff to the main game,but it's kind of a nice feature.
To play in multi-player,you'll need only one MPDS game cartridge,if your friends don't have the game,and two,three or four DS systems,and with that,you can play on the party boards,play mini-games,and others(I can't really remember of what else there was,but I can say those were some chaotic stuff happening at the time).There are two exclusive modes to multiplayer: Desert Duel and Pen Pals.DD has you competing against each other on a desert arena,while PP will have you with another person cooperating with each other to cover the other two duo in squares on a magical type of field,and they are rather enjoyable.Unfortunately,you can only play Multi-player locally,with no worldwide experience whatsoever to be seen.It's kind of tolerable here,for me at least,yet,an unfortune aspect.
On the soundtrack department,most of music in MPDS are upbeat and happy(some of them are actually fun to listen),and there are a few number of calm,and some suspicious/evil musical pieces,which are good to listen at least once.
Even with simple and short storyline,not-affective achievement system,and the lack of online multiplayer,I'd say that Mario Party DS is a pretty good game on the DS library of games,and even if it's short,you're not going to feel bad or robbed after buying it,so I'll say:go ahead,and enjoy the handheld chaos fest,that is Mario Party DS.