Mario Party Advance: 2005
Developer: Hudson Soft Company, Ltd.
The first portable incarnation of the Mario Party series, Mario Party Advance shakes things up quite a bit on the GBA. With the focus on the single-player, there are all kinds of single-player mini-games, one giant single-player board to traverse instead of multiple ones (Shroom City), and all kinds of different Gaddgets and gameplay modes to indulge in.
The main single-player experience involves traveling across “Shroom City,” which is a major departure from the standard set-up in past Mario Party titles. You have the choice to be Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Yoshi, and depending on who you choose, you’ll start at a different spot on the board, which is quite large.
You’re given die rolls to navigate the board and, when you reach special sections of the map, complete special quests, which often involve helping residents of Shroom City and/or participating in special challenges. Most quests involve collecting some sort of object elsewhere or a mini-game. By completing these quests, you’ll collect stars, which eventually allow for special boss bouts with Bowser, and you’ll unlock mini-games and Gaddgets, which are simple, toy-like contraptions that you can play with.
The game ends when you complete your allotted number of turns, although additional turns and die rolls can be earned during the game by completing the “Mushroom Challenges” that occur rather often. After completing your session, your rewards are saved, and you can play with your mini-games and Gaddgets in Play Mode.
There are also two additional modes available, “Party Land,” where you can play special duel mini-games with a friend, and “Challenge Land,” where you play through special modes that test your mini-game skills to earn coins, which can be used to purchase additional unlockables in a shop.
Finally, there is also a feature called the “Bonus Board.” You can play with a board that is included with the game using the GBA. The GBA takes care of die rolls, mini-games, and end-of-the-game events.