In my humble opinion, party games made by indie developers turn out to be, more often than not turn, a bit rubbish. That statement is aimed more specifically at the ones that try to emulate the likes of Mario Party, albeit with their own cast of characters and the like. The end result tends to be a half-baked, forgettable experience with little reason to replay it, and, boy, ain’t that the case with Marooners. M2H has developed and published a real dud here.
There’s a sizable selection of characters and weapons to pick from, with more to unlock by levelling up. It’s an ugly-looking game with avatars that look like they were stolen from a bargain bin, family-friendly Wii game. What doesn’t help is that it’s also chock-full of annoying sound bytes that you’ll hear often, with some dull music paired up alongside. At least it runs competently enough on the console.
Marooners is set on an island home to 25 different mini-games. You’ll get to play a handful of them at random once you start a game and compete with three to five additional players, though it won’t take long until you end up playing all of them at least once. Party Mode is all about collecting as many coins as possible while avoiding the stage hazards, like a crushing ceiling, fireballs and the like. Arena Mode is basically a deathmatch mode with plenty of power-ups and no coins to behold.
Since the games are so short, a full session will last about five minutes. To be fair, a few of these levels aren’t too bad, even if they do feel awfully samey. There’s a Bomberman-like stage that requires you to toss explosives around, plus a handful of activities that feature moving or falling platforms, and they can be a tad frantic. Still, the ones that require you to button-mash to smash stone blocks are monotonous as heck. The rest will likely struggle to hold your attention.
Battling with the bots isn’t exactly a big challenge, at least in Party Mode, no thanks due to a lack of difficulty settings and some pathfinding issues (a few characters may end up abruptly jumping to their death on occasions). Worse than that, you won’t find much of a challenge online either, simply because no one else is playing. The servers are already deathly quiet, and I didn’t bump into a single player out there.
You’d best leave this one marooned on the eShop if you’re hungering for a multiplayer title that isn’t a metric-tonne of ‘meh’. The mildly amusing mini-games grow stale pretty quickly, no thanks to its lack of variety and stagnant online servers. It might be a decent pick for kids to waste time on, but it’s just such a bland and ugly game that’s not worth the chump change it’s after.