Nintendo is king at remastering old titles into new packages. While straight remakes can be controversial with fans, compilations of multiple titles are generally well received. Add Mario Party Superstars to that list. While almost everyone will find a favourite mini-game or board not available in this new release, the overall package hits home in so many ways. Whether you have played these titles in the past, or are trying them out for the first time, this collection of the earliest Mario Party games is outstanding fun.
Mario Party Superstars Details
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Developer(s): ndCube, Nintendo
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Brand new gameplay mechanics and features
Mario Party Superstars features 100 mini-games taken from previous entries in the series, and 5 boards from the Nintendo 64 era of Mario Party titles. While a few fan favourite boards might not make an appearance, the five selected are pretty beloved by Mario Party fans as a whole. Players will be able to enjoy Peach’s Birthday Cake and Yoshi’s Tropical Island from Mario Party, Space Land and Horror Land from Mario Party 2, and Woody Woods from Mario Party 3.
Gameplay will mirror previous entries in the series, although with a few notable exceptions. Unlike more recent entries in the series, all the courses in Mario Party Superstars will be looped, like traditional board games. This is a change from the last few Mario Party titles which have featured boards that have a beginning and end, with no complete loop to round-and-round for up to 30 turns. Also gone are mini-games requiring motion control, which wasn’t available during the days of the Nintendo 64. This will come as a great relief to Nintendo Switch Lite players, who for Super Mario Party, required Joy-Con purchases to play the game.
Quality of life improvements
Other new additions to the game are completely new to the series, including the ability to speed up AI text, a fantastic quality of life improvement for longtime fans of the series. You can also save your board game adventures, and return to them at a later date. When playing previous games, I rarely ever touched 20-30 turn games because they could take hours. With this new save feature, it is possible to enjoy longer games, which introduce new strategic ways to play. It also allows someone who has a few bad turns enough time to catch up and be competitive!
Another brand new feature is the ability to request more turns to be added into the game. If you are in last place, and can get your competitors to agree, you can add more turns to the game and potentially catch back up. This would also be great for folks who begin a short game, but decide they want to play just a bit longer. Although a small feature, it’s one that I think will garner a ton of praise and become a staple in the series moving forward.
Customize your experience
I also enjoy the ability to really customize your experience. You can provide players with a handicap – a neat feature for those with younger kids – and change other settings that allow you to decide what type of bonus stars will be given out at the end of a game. For those that enjoyed the classic bonus stars from the original titles – most red spaces, most blue spaces, most coins, etc. – there is an option to toggle that! For those who enjoy some of the newer bonus stars like most items used, you can toggle that as well.
The Mario Party you know and love
Once you get past these few new features, Mario Party is very much the Mario Party you know and love. Compete against AI opponents, locally with friends, or online in adventures across the 5 boards. Roll dice, move spaces, collect coins, buy stars, get items – it’s what you would expect to do in Mario Party. Like in previous titles, each board will have unique opportunities and challenges players will need to overcome – some are even economical, like the bank in Woody Woods. There is a good variety, and here’s hoping that Nintendo adds more boards as DLC, because it’s hard to not look at the available options as a bit lacking.
Mini-games from the start
One of the worst features in party games, including some past Mario Party titles, is the requirement to unlock mini-games for play outside of the traditional board game style. That won’t be a problem in Mario Party Superstars, as all 100 mini-games will be instantly accessible from Mt. Minigames. And you can play those mini-games in brand new ways, both locally and online.
In Free Play, you can choose any of the mini-games and play at your leisure. You can also team up in 2v2 and 3v1 games as well. Moving out of free-play, you can add a competitive element by jumping into coin battle, where you compete for the most coins.
One reason to never play mini-games outside of boards in previous titles was because of somewhat clunky controls, which are probably just a product from their eras. That being said, there is a noticeable improvement in Mario Party Superstars for mini-game physics. This is further proof that Nintendo didn’t just slap new paint on an old title – they went deep into the game to make it a vastly improved version of the originals it attempts to replicate.
A visually stunning party
As I stated earlier Mario Party Superstars was rebuilt from the ground up, and that goes for the visuals and the audio as well. Mario Party has never looked this good, not even on the Nintendo Switch’s first installment of the series, Super Mario Party. The game pops with colour, even in Horror Land which would otherwise be drab and gloomy. Yet even through the gloom, the charm of Nintendo shines through. The artwork on the unlockable, collectible stickers is outstanding as well.
The audio has been completely overhauled as well, and you can also unlock these tracks to listen to from Toad Village. These tracks sound better than ever before, and like with other Nintendo games, I’ve caught myself humming the music even when I’m not playing the game.
Mario Party Superstars is the Best Mario Party Yet
Mario Party Superstars is not without its faults, although minor as they are. Coins seem too plentiful across the game’s 5 boards. As a result, unless you plan on meeting up with Toadette on one of your first two turns, it’s unlikely you won’t be able to pay the 20 coin price for one of her sparkling stars.
Coins are necessary for unlocking items in the shop in Toad’s Village. And, while it’s exciting at first, you quickly realize you are just purchasing the same things over and over again – stickers, songs, etc. It would have been nice to see unlockable characters, new boards, and perhaps even mini-games. Perhaps future DLC will add this as an option.
That being said, Mario Party Superstars is the ultimate version of this classic board game adventure. It has some of the best mini-games in the entire series. And, although some fan favourite boards likely did not make their way into this collection, the boards that were chosen are still unanimously seen as some of the best. And who knows – we can always hope that future DLC might offer more!
+ No motion controls, Switch Lite players rejoice!
+ Overhauled visuals and audio
+ Instant access to Mt. Minigames
+ Tons of Game Customization
– Lack of boards, missing fan favourites
– Lackluster Toad shop
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF MARIO PARTY SUPERSTARS
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5
Overall Rating 4.3/5 (86%)
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