Such problems thankfully don't exist in boss confrontations. Frequently, they have you competing against each other as much as the boss character, such as bouncing each other out of the way as you try to stomp Wiggler or rigging a rotating platform so a rival is in the path of an angry whomp. Each board features two boss fights and, much like the majority of the minigames, they are genuinely good fun.
The minigames make Mario Party 9 entertaining for a few hours, and there's enough content to make it worth coming back for more. But be warned: because luck is such an important factor, it's highly preferable to play with friends. It's easier to overlook the problems when you have a real-life companion to moan, shout, or throw picked onions at when you lose half of your stars in a way you couldn't avoid. In contrast, playing against the AI is a tedious and tiresome affair. Unfortunately, if you want to access all the content, you don't have much choice.
Mario Party 9 contains a single-player story mode, in which the nefarious Bowser and the equally nefarious Bowser Jr. have stolen the world's ministars. This serves as an hour-long introduction and isn't very engaging. Ringing up a victory is easy because you only have to stop one AI character from winning (rather than winning yourself), and each game lasts too long. Unfortunately, to unlock the sixth board and two of the 12 characters, you have to complete this mode, which is a frustrating requirement.
You can't shake the feeling you've seen this all before.
Beyond the Party mode and the tedious Story mode, there are a host of unlockables that can be purchased with party points (earned simply by playing the game). These include a Donkey Kong-themed board, new vehicles to traverse the boards in, and constellations to marvel at through a telescope (read: a waste of points until you've unlocked everything meaningful). The minigames are also playable by themselves, should you fancy diving right in with friends, and there are four extended remix games, including a rather good -like shape-swapping puzzle game.
Overall, Mario Party 9 is a decent package with a lot of content, even if the Story mode is something you'll wish you could avoid. It's colorful, good looking, and fun with others, but after so many games, the appeal just isn't going to last for many people. There's no denying that what Mario Party 9 does, it largely does well; it's just that it's largely been doing it well for nine console games and two handheld games. Once you've spent a few hours with mates, seen all the different boards, and played all the minigames, there's very little incentive to return. Much like that high school reunion, it is fun for a night, but you won't have any hesitation about moving on.