If you ever spent your afternoons earnestly trying to rescue Princess  Toadstool from Bowser….If the word “goomba” means something to you….If you ever fought desperately to rid the world of Koopa Troopas…If the theme song that accompanies two plumbers on their quest through the Mushroom Kingdom (still) gets stuck in your head….have I got a game for you!!

I received my first Nintendo on my 10th birthday (back  in ’91). I LOVED it, and spent hours trying to master my games. When the Gameboy came out, I was completely jealous of everyone who had one. I thought nothing could top just how cool that portable gaming system was. Well, the awesome creative power that is Nintendo have outdone themselves with the Nintendo DS. We are absolutely LOVING ours…the brightness of the screen, quality of the graphics, camera and sound features, interactive capabilities, ease of use….it’s amazing and SO much fun! (Even for smaller kids!) Nintendo has also just dropped the price of the Nintendo DS Lite to just $99.99, allowing this gaming experience to be accessible to even more families.

Mario Party DS is quickly becoming one of our favorite games. I was immediately drawn to the beloved characters from my childhood, and loved seeing them in a classically updated way. In Mario Party, you get to choose from one of 8 fun characters (my 3 year old is ALWAYS Yoshi, and my 5 year old leans toward one of the princesses!) and party your way through an endless variety of options and mini-games. In this portable version of Mario Party, you can choose from 5 different game boards and experience 70 different mini-games along the way. (And the mini-games are FUN! Run from a vacuum, go fishing, have a mechanical pencil race, drive a wind up car, lure goombas with your music…so much fun!) One feature that I love as a parent, is that you can go in and modify the game settings so that your child will be successful. You can determine which mini-games will be played in the rounds, and can even give your child a head-start as far as scoring. You can also determine the length of the game by choosing how many turns each player (human and computer) will take.

This game never gets old! There are SO many ways to play! Not only does the game change each time you play (due to so many different mini-games and character options), but you can play the game in four different modes. You can select “Story Mode” to work through the game in single player mode, or Party Mode (our favorite) which allows you to play with 1-4 players in several different “battling” options. If that wasn’t enough of a choice, you can also play in Puzzle Mode, which brings back several of the most popular puzzle games from previous Mario Party games or in Mini-game Mode, which allows you to play several of the mini-games without working your way through a game board. With so many options, Mario Party is a truly great value for your money.

(*photo courtesy of gamrreview.com)

My two older children have simply fallen in love with Mario Party and the Nintendo DS. While we limit their game play and don’t allow them to play every day, we have found that limited game play is a fun activity for them that not only increases their hand-eye coordination, but builds confidence, and allows them to begin to use basic logic and strategy. (Getting to play on the DS is also a FANTASTIC motivator! Rooms have never been cleaned up so quickly!)

I will admit that I myself enjoy this as well. The child in me who never got her hands on a Gameboy of my own is thrilled to pieces with my our DS and Mario Party. I’m not ashamed to admit that the first time I beat Waluigi in a Duel Battle in Party Mode I did a little victory dance on the couch. (While my husband initially made fun of me, I’ve seen him get excited about winning too!) Mario Party has its rating right…it really is E for EVERYONE!

You can purchase Mario Party and the Nintendo DS at major retailers nation-wide. To learn more about the variety of games available for purchase on the DS, click HERE!

(*I received a copy of Mario Party DS and a Nintendo DS system for review purposes only. I was in no way compensated or under any obligation to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.)