It's "Mario Party," but you shouldn't cry if you want to — especially if you've invested in "amiibo."
After mostly acting like wallflowers in Nintendo video games since their debut last year, "amiibo" have stumbled into the spotlight in "Mario Party 10" ( Nintendo, $49.99 for the Wii U). The latest iteration of the mini-game series cleverly employs Nintendo's interactive figurine line as virtual board game pieces.
Well, in one of the local multiplayer game's three main modes, anyway.
There is essentially a trio of ways to party this time, beginning with a traditional four-player mode. As Mario, Yoshi, Princess Peach or another brick-bashing character, players must frantically traipse from space to space on a digital board resembling the game of "Life" in an attempt to gather the most stars.
For those who played "Mario Party 9" for the original Wii, you might experience deja vu.
The " Bowser Party" mode is the same but tosses Mario's fire-breathing arch-nemesis into the mix, pitting a possible fifth person armed with the GamePad against four Wiimote-equipped competitors. This mode's mini-games are different, instead utilizing the touchscreen controller for four-on-one bouts.
Think: "Super Mario Bros." meets "Evolve."
The third mode, "amiibo Party," truly sets "Mario Party 10" apart from its predecessors. Each compatible "amiibo" figure activates a character-themed board and serves as a game piece on-screen. The figures can earn bonuses, and tapping them to the GamePad spins the virtual dice into a wild frenzy.
Luckily for players' pocketbooks, only one "ambiio" figure is required for "amiibo Party," but up to four can be used.
However, only Mushroom Kingdom citizens are on the guest list, meaning characters not from Mario's home world can't be fully used in the game. (Sorry, Pikachu.) However, older compatible "amiibo" do work with "Mario Party 10," so you're not required to buy the new "Super Mario Bros" series of figures.
As with most Nintendo games, there's a lavish amount of detail in "Mario Party 10." The mini-games — more than 70 in total — are goofy fun to face off against friends and family in, and the high-definition capabilities of the Wii U vivaciously show off the cartoony whimsy of Mario and company.
Ultimately, "Mario Party 10" won't feel complete without "amiibo," but the functionality with Nintendo's toy line isn't comprehensive either. For gamers not interested in partying with — or paying for — "amiibo," there's really no reason to RSVP. Two stars out of four.