Parties are great places to broaden your horizons, meet new people and make memories, but the best parties are often the ones you spend reminiscing with old friends. Mario Party Superstars capitalizes on that idea, forgoing new content to deliver a compilation of the greatest hits from boards and minigames from past titles. The result is a celebration of the franchise that everyone can enjoy, regardless of their level of experience.
Mario Party Superstars has the same structure as almost every other game in the series: players take turns rolling the dice to progress across dynamic game boards with the ultimate goal of achieving the most stars. At the end of each turn, you take part in a four-player mini-game to earn extra coins. Mario Party’s broad appeal remains intact thanks to simple concepts and controls throughout the package. While I enjoyed 2018’s Super Mario Party, I’m glad Mario Party allows Superstars Pro Controller support and doesn’t require the use of the cramped single Joy-Con.
Superstars pays tribute to the past of the series, which is reflected in the minigames and gameboards. In addition, you can adjust the rules about how many turns the game lasts and even select which pool of minigames you want to encounter during your session. I’m glad that Superstars gives me the option to disable the pesky bonus stars at the end of the game or choose to play games based on skill only. You also have preset options. For example, you can choose to only play games that appear on Nintendo 64 or GameCube or choose mini-games that are easy to play for players of all ages.
While playing the primary board game mode, you can choose from five of the most iconic levels from the Nintendo 64 titles, all with modern graphics and music. Revisiting Peach’s Birthday Cake from the first title is great, and I love Woody Woods from Mario Party 3. However, I was disappointed with the low plate count. These levels are iconic, but I would have liked to see more than five, especially since they are all remakes of pre-existing stages.
The flesh of Mario Party remains the minigames, and thankfully Superstars makes up for the lack of boards with 100 of the most beloved bite-sized competitions from past titles. Through the eclectic collection, players compete in a solid mix of skill-based matches and chance-based mini-games. I still love personal favorites like Face-Lift, Paint Misbehavin’ and Motor Rooter. The addition of games from nearly every era of Mario Party, many of which are among the best of their respective game, gives Mario Party Superstars an unparalleled minigame pool
I was excited to see many of my favorite games ever making a comeback in Superstars. However, I’m baffled by the revival of the infamous Tug o’ War game, which resulted in broken controllers and blisters on N64’s hands thanks to the stick-rotation controls. This version has a warning to avoid injury by not using your palm, but even ignoring the newfound potential for blisters on hands, bringing this minigame back seems like a dangerous choice given the Switch’s analog sticks are infamous. because they drift even after regular use. Fortunately, only a few minigames, in the catalog of 100, rely on fast stick rotations.
While most people associate Mario Party with the board game mode, you can experience the minigames for yourself via the surprisingly robust Mt. mini games. Here you can play for free, choosing from any game in the collection, or compete as established teams in 2v2 and 3v1 modes. I love having a dedicated space for the excellent sports and puzzle minigames, with options that allow you to extend the duration of activities such as volleyball, hockey and the titles of puzzles in color combinations.
Plus, you can compete online and play against people all over the world. You can also connect to online-specific modes to see who can rack up the most victories in Survival or take part in themed daily challenges that give you three mini-games to compete in. Daily Challenges are fun ways to enjoy a pack of three activities with similar mechanics. I loved playing the Shoot ’em Up challenge, which allowed me to compete in three goal-based matches.
The fast-paced nature of Mt. Minigames may make it best suited for online play, but you can also experience the board game mode online. Random matchmaking is available, but playing with friends is more fun. In addition to being a great game for close friends, you can also save your progress in friend matches so you can pick up where you left off later. In my experience playing on pre-release servers, latency was minimal, although it was more noticeable on timing-based minigames like Hot Jump Rope. Unfortunately, native voice chat remains absent, but you can choose different response stickers to communicate with other players.
The Mario Party franchise, with its interchangeable boards and mini-games, is tailor-made for the compilation format. Mario Party Superstars aptly executes the idea of bringing together the best of the franchise while adding enhanced online features, plus options to let you play the way you want. Despite not having a selection of game boards, Mario Party Superstars is great no matter how many parties you’ve attended in the past.