The Mario Party franchise takes a walk down memory lane to craft the finest title in the series in some time. Here’s our Mario Party Superstars review.
It’s hard to believe it’s already been over three years since Super Mario Party, with the Switch’s first installment in the iconic franchise offering enjoyable multiplayer mayhem, but sadly lacking in content – with only four boards to play on.
Mario Party Superstars, however, does things a little differently. Rather than crafting something new, Nintendo’s latest minigame suite reaches back into the series’ history – notably from remade versions of older boards, and 100 minigames from the franchise’s history. But is this nostalgia trip one worth taking? Or is this party one to skip?
Mario Party Superstars – Key details
- Price (Standard Edition): $59.99 (USD) | £49.99 (GBP)
- Developer: NDcube
- Release date: October 29, 2021
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Mario Party Superstars trailer
Race to the Stars
If you’re new to the Mario Party setup, you’re in for a treat. While Mario Party Superstars borrows plenty of assets from Super Mario Party, it’s the best-looking game in the franchise so far. Everything has seen significant increases in detail, whether that’s the boards or each of the game’s minigames.
The formula remains much the same as it has been for most entries (thankfully, Mario Party 9’s disastrous car isn’t found here.) Players move around a game board using dice rolls, and after everyone has moved in a turn, a random minigame pits all players against each other (with some seeing players team up.) The player with the most stars at the end of a game wins.
It’s a tried and true formula that still results in some minor frustrations, although developer NDcube has ironed out some of them; CPU vs CPU minigames are skipped, but each dice roll and move still plays out at normal speed. A faster speed would’ve been appreciated here, with Mario Party Superstar’s shortest matches still taking between 45 minutes and an hour, even with just one or two players.
If you’re playing solo, things are a lot less enjoyable but there is a full Mario Party online option with Global Game. After Super Mario Party’s paltry online suite, it’s nice to see the series embrace playing with friends (or strangers) across the world.
The Top 100… Again
A Mario Party game is only as strong as its minigames, and by reaching into the existing collection found in some of the franchise’s best entries, Mario Party Superstars is full of certified bangers.
While some are a little similar to each other, it’s nice to play a Mario Party game without the groan-inducing moment where a mediocre minigame is picked. From Slot Car racing to pushing opponents off of falling platforms, trying to avoid catching a chunk of honeycomb, stacking up ice cream scoops, and plenty more, the four-player minigames are great.
On the other hand, some of the 3 vs 1 minigames feel a little unbalanced, but arguably if you’re looking for competition in its purest sense, you’ll want to play something a little less random than Mario Party.
If you are a stickler for your own ruleset, though, Super Mario Party does offer plenty of tweaks. For one, you can disable bonus stars, while also tailoring which minigames will appear.
Finally, each of the five boards offers something a little different. Peach’s Birthday cake, for example, keeps its Star in the same place, meaning counting spaces and investing in multiple dice rolls is paramount. On the other hand, Woody Woods changes the flow of play with signs that change direction, while Space Land remains Mario Party in its purest form – with fewer event spaces.
Losing (motion) control
One of the biggest changes in Mario Party Superstars is its control setup. While you can still use your joy-con controllers, you’ll also be able to use a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller or a dual joy-con setup. That sounds like a small change, but it means motion controls are out.
This means that while you won’t find yourself shaking your controller, Nintendo Switch Lite players can now join in the fun, having been left out in the cold by Super Mario Party.
Your thoughts on button-based controls aside, Mario Party Superstars is a great entry for party game veterans and newcomers alike. Its minigames are all great, its boards each offer something different, and there’s nothing quite like going from being last in a match in the last few turns and then surging into the lead right at the end.
Mario Party is back, and it’s the perfect way to spend an evening with friends – although you may not talk to each other for a few days afterward.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch