Super Mario Party for the Nintendo Switch is the latest game in Nintendo’s venerable board game series. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the franchise, which has been a staple on Nintendo gaming systems—both home consoles and handhelds. With each iteration you pretty much knew what to expect: new minigames, new game boards, new modes with (generally) small rule tweaks, and familiar, turn-based multiplayer gameplay.
However, the past several releases haven’t quite lived up and offered the same great experience that the franchise is known for. Nintendo has heard your cries and has brought the series back to its roots with Super Mario Party.
Let’s take a look at what all Super Mario Party has to offer.
Super Mario Party Details
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
New character specific dice
One of the new features of Super Mario Party that I really like are the character specific dice. These can be used any time you roll and can potentially increase your maximum amount of rolls, coin count, and increase the chance of getting a number.
For example, say you need to move four spaces away. Shy Guy’s dice has the following numbers 0,4,4,4,4,4. Even if you roll and get a zero, you have a high chance of getting a 4 on the next roll. These character specific dice add a great element of strategy to the gameplay.
80 fun new minigames to enjoy
One of the things that have been lacking in recent Mario Party games are new minigames. It seems as if the past few releases contained a lot of recycled minigames that we played before. Luckily, this has been addressed and Super Mario Party contains 80 new minigames to enjoy.
While the names would be too big to list here, I’ll mention a few that caught my interest. Penguin Pushers is a minigame that requires everyone to work together to herd baby penguins. If that wasn’t difficult enough, you’ve got to do this while on a sheet of ice.
One of my favourite minigames uses the Joy-Con to steer your character while on top of a barrel thought an obstacle course. It’s aptly named Barreling Along. Finally, one of my top minigames in Super Mario Party is Dash and Dine. If you have played Overcooked, then you have a good idea of what I am talking about. Toad gives you a list of ingredients and you must dash around to collect the ingredients and deliver them.
In all, I was fairly impressed with the new minigames and it’s great to see that Nintendo listened to what fans had to say.
Party mode returns to its roots
I am happy to say that the standard game mode, Party Mode has made a return to its basic 4-player roots. Simply called Mario Party, up to four players take turns and move across the board in search of stars while competing against others in minigames. There are three boards available immediately to choose from, and one to unlock.
Boards include Whomp’s Domino Ruins set deep in a Jungle, Megafruit Paradise split between four little islands and King Bob-omb’s Powderkeg Mine. I found that all of the boards were enjoyable to play on and contained a variety of different obstacles to keep you on your toes. This made gameplay that much more fun as there were several times when I though I was going to win, only to be warped backed to the opposite end of the board.
Team up with a friend in Partner Party mode
Partner Party is a different take on Mario Party mode where teams of two players partner up. Teams share their items, coins and stars. However, to spice things up, the way everyone moves across the board is different.
Each player rolls the dice and can move the total amount of both teammates rolls combined. Moreover, you collect allies on each board. Though, the ally’s perks only apply to the teammate who collected the ally. Additionally, instead of moving in a linear fashion you can now move around the board in a grid-like fashion.
I really enjoyed playing this mode as it invokes a whole new way of thinking when planning your strategies. And, its fun playing with a friend working as a team.
Row row row your boat in River Survival
One of my favourite modes in Super Mario Party is River Survival Mode. This is a four player co-op experience. Your goal is to make it to the end of the river playing as a team. You do this by taking your Joy-Con in hand and making circular movements to move forward or to turn.
Just getting everyone to work together in tandem to get the raft moving is fun in itself! It does take a bit of getting used to and coordination but once you have it down, its smooth sailing for the most part. As you make you way down the river to the goal you play mini-games as a team to add valuable time to the clock. The higher your score, the more seconds are added to the clock.
The are different paths you can take, which resulting in multiple plays of this mode when I played with my family.
Rhythm-based minigames at the Sound Stage
When I first heard about Sound Stage, I wasn’t all that excited. This is a mode where you play rhythm-based minigames with the goal of, you guessed it, getting the highest score. After playing this mode for the first time I was hooked!
You take stage and participate in three different rhythm based minigames. For example, one of the games has you wiping soap off the windows to a beat on a building as you move up the outside of it. Another, has you riding a horse and pulling the reigns in rhythm to win the race.
It all sounds quite odd, but it is extremely fun. A word of caution though, make sure you have plenty of space all around you when playing this mode. Also, make sure the Joy-Con strap is attached and around your wrist.
Toad’s Rec Room
This mode along with Mario Party mode are my favourite in the game. Toad’s Rec Room contains a unique set of four games that use the Switch in a variety of different configurations. All of the games in this mode support the use of dual Switch screens. You don’t need to have to have two Switch consoles to play all these games, except for one. Additionally, using two screens will require two copies of the games.
Mini League Baseball
The first of four games is Mini League Baseball. This is a 2v2 minigame and is essentially a simplified version of baseball. One team pitches and plays the outfield while the other is up to bat. If using two Switch’s, one screen will show the batter’s view and the other the pitcher’s view. The dual screen setup was cool at first for this minigame but in the end doesn’t really add anything to the gameplay.
Shell Shocked Deluxe
The second game is Shell Shocked Deluxe, and is the best in my opinion. Aside from having to take your opponent out while you ride in tanks, I really liked that you can use the walls to bounce your bullets off of. There are a total three mini-maps, which all offer short, simple and fun gameplay.
When two Switch consoles are used, the battle ground spans across both screens and allows you to arrange it in almost anyway possible. It really adds a lot of fun to the game and kept me coming back for more.
Banana, Split requires two Nintendo Switch systems and two copies of Super Mario Party to play. Gameplay involves rotating both Switch systems to match up pictures of bananas in a certain amount of time. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? And, when you have matched up the picture you can draw a line between the Nintendo Switch screens to verify the match.
It’s a fairly fun minigame, but not one I would go out and buy a second system and copy of the game just to play.
The final game in Toad’s Rec Room is Puzzle Hustle. Here you can play by yourself or with friends to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Playing with friends takes a lot of co-ordination but after a few minutes we were putting pieces together in a flash.
Like Mini League Baseball, the dual screen doesn’t really add much to gameplay.
Additionally, Super Mario Party has an online mode that allows you to play against your friends from all over the world. There are total of nine minigames to compete against in and your scores are tracked via an online leaderboard.
While I would have liked to have seen more robust online features, at least the minigames rotate between the nine minigames each time you play.
Is Super Mario Party the kick in the pants the series needed to rejuvenate interest in it?
Super Mario Party on the Nintendo Switch is without a doubt one of the best, if not the best game, in the Mario Party series. It’s clear that Nintendo has been listening to fans and what they want. Bringing back Party Mode, including 80 new minigames, and character specific dice that add an element of strategy are just some of the reasons that make Super Mario Party a great game.
My family and I had countless hours of fun with this game. We spent several nights staying up to the wee hours of the morning having fun with this game. If you are looking for a game that all ages will enjoy, Super Mario Party is without a doubt the perfect game for you.
+ 80 new minigames are fun to play
+ Superb multiplayer game for all ages
+ Character specific dice add element of strategy to gameplay
+ Fantastic new gameplay modes that add hours of enjoyment to the game
– Online mode is lacking
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF SUPER MARIO PARTY
Last Appeal/Replayability: 5/5
Overall Rating 4.3/5 (86%)
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Usually I tend to play games alone because it doesn’t work out for me to play with friends. I’m happy to see that there is an online mode for this game. It might be another that I need to add to my wishlist.
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