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Wednesday 29/03/2017: Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink

January 30, 2015

Bottom 12 / Top 12 Minigames In Mario Party DS

Read Part 1 of this review here, and Part 2 here!

Hello everyone, and welcome to this (technically) last part of my review of Mario Party DS! I think I can only close a Mario Party review by listing my 12 favorite minigames... and my 12 least favorite minigames too! For this list, I'll take into account the playability, the concept, the idea and the overall fun. My favorite minigames are either very creative or very fun. My least favorites, well... You can kinda guess. (All the opinions in this post are mine and mine alone. What you may like I might not, what I may like you might not. Accept the divergence of opinion if there's one.) Two more notes: To me, you can practice a minigame and get better at it, which means that minigames which cannot be won with talent will be ranked negatively (in Layman's terms: Screw the goddamn luck minigames). Last, I refer to low-difficulty COM characters as computer-controlled characters on Easy or Normal difficulty, and high-difficulty COM characters as characters on Hard or Expert difficulty. There's a lot to discuss, so let's start now with the worst, so we can end on a positive note with the best!

Prepare yourself for a lot of tears, and a
lot of anger... and then a lot of joy!


12. Soil Toil
What happens when you give a toy hot rod to two tiny characters, then make them control each side separately and decide of the speed each wheel should go? You get an annoying minigame in which you need to rely on an (often unreliable) ally. This minigame is extremely annoying when you're paired up with a low-level COM character. Heck, you're almost lucky to make it to the end sometimes! You can go backwards because of your moronic ally or get stuck behind an obstacle. Joy. Pretty awful minigame, but there's worse.

11. Hammer Chime
The Boss Minigame against Hammer Bro. Just a game of Simon Says using drums and music. I guess the developers HAD to insert music in there somewhere due to the board's theme, but the result is just a meh minigame overall. Just repeat Hammer Bro's sequence to hurt him. Be too slow and you get hit. Hit him three times to win. Meh... (I've seen Simon Says being used as a minigame too many times, it bores me now.)

10. Cyber Scamper
The characters are in... cyberspace, I guess. They're on floating platforms above nothingness. The platforms have two colors. One of those colors turns off, and the platforms with that color turn dark. Then those light up and the other color turns off. And so on. The players must be careful and reach the end without falling off. Either that, or the only player who hasn't fallen is the winner. A creative minigame, sure. But ungodly difficult. And to twist the knife in, high-difficulty COM characters have night vision or something and know pretty much where all the pits are, which makes this minigame very unfair for human players.

9. Shuffleboard Showdown
Three characters are standing on a casino shuffleboard. The last one controls casino tokens and must throw them at the characters. When a character gets hit by a token, it loses. As with all 1VS3 minigames, the single player can be dangerous, but if any one of the three other characters is still standing when the timer ends, the team of three wins instead. But here, the single player can be demonic and toss lots of tokens. Oh, and that's not counting the tokens that start falling the Hell out of nowhere on the team of three after a while! Who got THAT idea? Oh well. A forgettable minigame, aside from the fact that it's too difficult for the team of three.

8. Shorty Scorers
A 2VS2 minigame, a soccer match with Goomba cardboard cutouts guarding the goals and moving. Get the ball (or punch the one who has it to steal it), move to the opposing team's goal and toss it in! I'm not a fan of sport minigames, but I could have enjoyed this one... if only it was easier to score. Goddamn cardboard Goombas. They're, like, too large and while you wait for a chance to shoot in the goal, other characters can punch you and steal the ball! This minigame was almost enjoyable. Almost. But it's not.

7. Memory Mash
A 2VS2 minigame, you and your partner must ground pound cards on a table and get a pair of identical pictures. Get 4 pairs and your team wins. Easy, you say? The lower-difficulty COM characters will usually run around like headless chicken and ground pound cards at random, making the task very difficult for you. You don't run into that trouble with another player, thankfully. This minigame's sole saving grace is that if you're quick enough, you can flip a second card before the first one you've flipped goes back face-down. That has given me victory more often than relying on the COM character ever has.

6. Crazy Crosshairs
Yet another 2VS2 minigame where you and a “friend” must control a cannon to shoot Scuttlebugs. Theres only one problem: One of you controls the cannon horizontally, the other controls it vertically. And the crosshair keeps moving. You basically have to wait for your pal to stop his crosshair, so then yours will keep moving. Then you can shoot these spiders. Like some other 2VS2 minigames, this one is a pain in the ass to play if you're teamed up with a low-difficulty COM character: He'll frequently stop his crosshair a teeny weeny bit too far from the target, making you unable to hit it. Have I said that low-difficulty COM characters suck? They suck they suck they suck they suck. Once more for the road? THEY SUCK!

5. Twist and Route
A complicated minigame... You first have to wind up a little toy car driven by your character, using the stylus. Then, once the car is wound up, you must navigate it with either the control pad or the ABXY buttons through a room filled with junk and obstacles. When rolling over junk, the car will be slowed down. Whoever reaches the finish line first wins. This game is too complicated. Combining the two control schemes is, in theory, a good idea, until you realize how much trouble it is for the gamer. And don't get me started on the obstacles! It's just an annoying minigame, too complex to be played with non-gamers.

4. Track Star
In this 1VS3 minigame, the three players are chased by the fourth one, who's standing on top of a toy train. A fork in the path appears and the characters pick one of the two paths; the player on the train also picks a path. The characters who didn't pick like the one on the train are fine; the others must run like crazy to avoid getting hit. This repeats two more times. In theory, you could spend the whole minigame never having to mash buttons to run away from the train, since that only happens if the train follows you on the same path. Likewise, if any COM controller manages all three times to avoid picking the same path you picked while you're the one controlling the train, you automatically lose the minigame. You heard right: This game relies a bit on luck. I don't mind, due to the actual “play” portion of having to mash buttons to run away, but it's still pretty annoying how luck can ruin your chances. Since this is a 1VS3 minigame, if any member of the team of three is still standing by the end, the team wins. And if you never encountered one of them, and you were on the train, you lose. Or if you were in the team of three, running away from the train, and by a streak of bad luck the train follows your path all three times... See what I mean? Too much luck involved.

3. Get the Lead Out
AKA the most blatant example of high-difficulty COM characters cheating, ever. The concept is simple: In a few seconds, mash the A button like mad to push a mine from a pencil as far as possible. Sounds simple? It is. The problem is that the computer characters on higher difficulties go insanely fast even from the start; as a result, they CAN, and they WILL, beat you at this game, regardless of how good you are. It's impossible to beat them. I cringe whenever I play this game against Hard or Expert COM characters, because I know I'm gonna lose. I can't win! Therefore, this game sucks. Thank God it doesn't require luck too!

2. Chips and Dips
Cards with numbers from 1 to 5 are on the bottom screen. They're put face-down and shuffled, then each player picks one. None can be picked more than once. Afterward, the selected cards are flipped face-up and each player gains casino tokens equal to the number on the card he/she picked. Round 2 adds a card with a 10 on it, and Round 3 adds a card with the Bowser insignia on it; get that card and you'll lose half of all the tokens you had. This is entirely a luck game. Your best best is to try and guess where the best cards are, but your odds are still damn low...

1. Cheep Cheep Chance
ANOTHER all-luck minigame! There are eight ropes on the side of a buoy, all going deep underwater. Four of them have Cheep-Cheep on the other end, while four have nothing. Each player goes, one at a time, to pick a rope. If the rope had a Cheep-Cheep, that player wins. If not, that player falls into the water (due to pulling too hard) and loses. All four characters could win, or they could all lose. The result is entirely decided by luck, since you have no way to know which rope has a Cheep-Cheep. That game is the reason I lost on some boards. It's the minigame I despise the most due to the fact that there is no strategy, no game, no fun here. Heck, even Chips and Dips had some kind of strategy! This one doesn't! Just pray to be lucky. Screw this minigame. I hate it hate it hate it. Screw it. I flip the bird to this minigame.

And now, the happier side.


12. Flash and Dash
In this 1VS3 minigame, the single player has to run away in a maze from the other three, who are actively looking for him/her with flashlights. If the single player doesn't get spotted, s/he wins. If any of the other three spots him/her, the team of three wins. The configuration of the maze can be different, and it can be very tricky for the single player to escape the other three... but it's possible. Thankfully, all characters have a little beeping indicator at the bottom of the screen. The faster it beeps, the closer an opponent (the one to catch, or the ones to escape from) is. Good idea, fun minigame, I definitely like this one.

11. Big Blowout
All four players are standing before long rows of candles. Your task is to blow in the microphone; the tiny character will blow the candles, and then jump on them. Lather, rinse, repeat. The first character who reaches a table on the other side is declared the winner. Easy. I really like this minigame because it's simple, and yet it's a lot of fun. It also showcases the type of ideas that can be used as minigames in Mario Party DS; I would have never thought of a race on candles, done by blowing the candles off. That's the kind of creativity I'm talking about. Simple, but efficient and fun. I like that.

10. Star Catchers
Another simple minigame. The characters are watching the stars, and the sky appears in your touch screen. When a star appears, you must be ready to tap it! At first, only one star appears at a time, but as the game progresses more stars appear at once. It's pretty much impossible to get them all, but it's easy to get the most stars. At the end, the player with the most stars tapped wins. Cute, fun minigame with a simple concept. Once again, the triumph of simplicity over complexity. This game is harder against higher-difficulty COM characters, but it's still very simple to win: Just be the fastest when a star appears.

9. Dust Buddies
The characters find themselves chased in a hallway by a normal-sized vacuum! They must run, but there's plenty of junk in the way! They need to avoid balls and dust, and take a risk stepping on flat stuff, but they still have to run or else they'll get sucked in! The last player standing (or all the players reaching the finish line) scores a win! Admit it, it sounds awesome. A scene straight out of Honey, I Shrunk The Kids! It's chilling. And it's a very fun minigame, too. You can even play tricks on your opponents by stomping them! That won't slow them down much but it might surprise them enough to get caught by the vacuum! Yep, I like this one.

8. Book Bash
The boss minigame against Kamek, at the end of the board titled “Kamek's Library”. Your character is standing on a floating book and shoots ink. The character has to defeat waves of books coming his/her way, while avoiding the book shelves that often move around. Then there's a long part with lots of moving shelves, and then we reach Kamek! You must blind the Magikoopa by covering his face with ink, which will make him throw a tantrum... which will cause a large book to fall on his head. He'll be more careful afterward; he'll often wipe his face, and he may also summon a wall of books with some holes for you to get through. Blind him three times, and on the third time a HUGE book comes down on his head and knocks him out. A great minigame, a hilarious boss fight, I really like this one. The fight against the Hammer Bro could have been just as great. Oh well...

7. Peek-A-Boo
In this 1VS3 minigame, all players are given a picture of an accessory-wearing Boo. The single player has a large frame, while the other three have smaller frames. The goal? Tap any Boo you see who wears that accessory. The single player has the advantage of seeing a larger portion of the room, but the other three can help each other and roam different parts at once. Once the last Boo like this has been tapped, we get the results. Whichever side has tapped the most of the required type of Boo has won. Oh yes, this minigame is a lot of fun. You can never guess who will win, because the odds are pretty equal on both sides. As such, it's fun to play regardless of which side you're on. In a team? No problem. Alone? No problem! That's exactly 

6. Airbrushers
The characters are put in teams of two, given one wing each and asked to hold hands. The task? Press A to flap the wing. The two characters will go higher faster if they flap the wings at the same time. Likewise, they can just stop flapping to lose altitude. Slowly. The point of the game? Use this newly-found flying ability to pick up floating coins. Yellow is worth 1, red is worth 3. For this game, you kinda need to trust your ally, but even with any COM characters it remains fun. Why? Because regardless of how much money you've earned, you get to keep all of it!

5. Boogie Beam
The four characters are standing in front of a sign, at night. There's a projector in front of each character. There are two buttons on the bottom screen. The goal is simple: Each time one or more projectors light up, you must tap one of the two buttons... but not any! If a projector lights up your character, you tap the yellow button; if your character's projector didn't light up, tap the purple button. Do that for 10 turns, and at the end any player with the highest score wins. In this game, not only is it possible, it's even easy to get 10/10. It's another simple minigame that is just a lot of fun to play. It's really good.

4. Pedal Pushers
Four characters are riding miniature go-karts. They must race on a small racetrack, and whoever reaches the finish line first wins. There's a catch, though: To move forward you must alternate between pressing any button on the control pad and any button on the right (that is, A, B, X or Y). the faster you alternate pressing left-right-left-right-left-right, the faster your character's go-kart goes. Oh, also, there's ice on the track, so if your character tries to go too fast on it, he'll skid and lose some precious seconds. It's a fun minigame that requires talent and speedy thumbs, and I always enjoyed playing it. Yep, definitely a fun one to try.

3. Toppling Terror
Two teams of two standing on both sides of a normal-sized Whomp. You have to blow in the DS's microphone to cause the Whomp to swing back and forth. After a few seconds, the whomp will be swinging like crazy... and the team that blew the least will get crushed by the toppling Whomp. The other two are declared the winners. This minigame is hilarious and will make all the players laugh – even the ones who lost. It's simple and easy, and definitely one of my favorites. The hilarious part? When the Whomp is dangerously close to crushing a team... and then it gets back on its feet and falls ON THE OTHER SIDE, crushing the opposing team. Most of the time, when it happens, we don't even see it coming. That's comedy gold.

2. Call of the Goomba
Your character is standing on a tree stump, near a lever, which s/he must spin to produce music... and not any music: The music from Stage 1-1 of Super Mario Bros.! There's a big swarm of Goombas in the forest, and the four characters are located around it. The goal is to spin the lever to create the Super Mario Bros. Tune, which will call the Goombas towards you. There's a catch: If you go too slowly or too quickly, the Goombas will stop going towards you. As a result, you need to be very precise and spin the lever at just the right speed, which is very tricky. Do it right, and a lot of Goombas will come running towards you. This is a creative minigame that I never get tired of playing, because it requires precision and timing, and as such it's a unique challenge. Very fun.

1. Camera Shy
My favorite minigame in all of Mario Party DS, Camera Shy takes place in a hedge maze shaped in a circle. All four characters hold a camera (and like all the other objects they hold in nminigames, you have to ask yourself how the Hell did they find tiny objects like these that are actually, you know... functioning). They have to run in the maze and take pictures of their opponents. The camera take a while to charge (and it has to recharge after each picture taken), but once it's charged and you're close enough to another player, you can press A to take a picture. The opponent will be startled, jumping in place and tossing his/her camera upwards. The point of the game is not to take as many pictures as possible; it's to take at least one picture of each of the other three players. The first character who achieves this wins. It's an awesome minigame that combines roaming, quick reflexes, logic (“if that character went there, I can probably catch up to him/her by going that way...”) and comedy (It always makes me laugh when an opponent is startled). Plus, it has simple controls and is just a very enjoyable minigame. All in all, my favorite minigame in Mario Party DS.

And there. Those were my lists. Thanks for reading, and see you in February- Wait. February is Raving Rabbids Month! I'm gonna be covering four Raving Rabbids games! To be precise, I'll be covering Rayman Raving Rabbids (For the Wii), Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 (the DS version first, then the Wii version) and finally Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party. I'll take one post to discuss each game and then, for each game, I'll make a post like this one: My 12 favorite minigames and my 12 least favorite minigames. This is gonna be an extremely busy month for me, and it's gonna be an amazing one for you, reader, so don't miss any of it!