Bottom line: The very best minigames and boards throughout the Mario Party series have been brought together and recreated for some truly hilarious good times. While I wish there were even more boards to choose from, the game is still plenty of fun whether you're playing locally with friends or online with others.
- 100 hilarious minigames from previous entries
- Sticker reactions
- Local & online play
- Timers in online play
- Plenty of modes/options
- Path countdown
- Only 5 boards
- No voice chat
When I was a kid, no sleepover was complete without Mario Party. These silly board games and whacky minigames would have my friends and me screaming and hysterically laughing in no time. I was disappointed with the lackluster and confusingly similarly named Super Mario Party when it released a few years ago. So when I heard that Nintendo was gathering up some of the best 100 minigames and five boards from throughout the series and remaking them with Mario Party Superstars, it got my hopes up. I'm happy to report those hopes were met and even exceeded.
For newcomers to Mario Party, up to four players run around a digital board game, rolling dice and landing on various spaces that offer perks or disadvantages. At the end of each round, players jump into a quick minigame and whoever wins earns Coins. The overall goal is to use the Coins to purchase Stars and have the most of them by the end of a predetermined number of rounds.
This semi-remake is just as awesome as it sounds. I was regularly hit with waves of nostalgia or found new favorite minigames that I'd never played before. Whether you grew up playing these games or this is your first time, Superstars is one of the very best party games on Switch. It's a game that people of all ages can enjoy.
Disclaimer: This review was made possible by a copy of the game purchased by iMore.
Mario Party Superstars: What's good
|Category||Mario Party Superstars|
|Title||Mario Party Superstars|
|Play Time||Varies depending on number of rounds|
|Players||Up to 4 players|
There are minigame gems on each of the previous Mario Party games, but it feels like they chose the best of the best minigames when putting Superstars together. Each time I played, people were screaming, laughing maniacally, and generally having a fun time. It helps that there are so many options when setting up a game that I can tailor things to my liking. For instance, my friend hated the random Star bonuses that were rewarded at the end of other games since this can turn the tides rather dramatically last minute, so we opted to turn those off. I turned them back on when playing with another group for a more surprise ending.
In addition to playing locally with a split-screen view, you can also play online against specific friends or random people around the world as long as everyone has their own copy of the game and a Nintendo Switch Online or a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription.
When it comes to online play, I was happy to find that there are timers everywhere. A timer for how long players have to roll or use items on their turn, a timer for responding to NPCs, and a timer for readying up for minigames. That way, if someone isn't paying attention or is otherwise unresponsive, the game continues on. Not to mention, if I need to duck out of a game early when playing with random players, a CPU takes my place, so I don't have to worry about messing things up for everyone else. If I'm playing with friends, I can save the game and come back to continue playing at a different time. That's something I appreciate since my friends and I have such busy lives.
Path countdowns show how far away you are from a Star if you take different paths, cutting down on how long each player takes since they don't have to access the map all the time like they did in older games. The best new addition in this game is the stickers. They're fun when playing locally, but they really shine playing with people online. The stickers primarily convey mild sentiments like congratulations, encouragement, shock, or even a little gloating in a silly manner, but none of them are hurtful. Since there is no voice chat (more on that later), stickers are almost necessary since they allow me to convey feelings and connect more with those I'm playing with.
The stickers available depend on the character you choose, along with extra stickers purchased with Coins from the in-game shop. As I completed games or played in the Mount Minigames section, I leveled up, unlocking more buyable stickers and items. If you don't want to deal with the board game aspect, you can just jump into Mount Minigames and play whatever silly short competitions you want, one right after the other.
This seriously is one of the very best party games for people of all ages and skill levels. You can play using your Joy-Cons, a Pro Controller, or your Switch Lite. However, Mario Party has been known to cause rifts in friendships for the more competitive players. So if you still want to have friends at the end of a round, you should choose the Family set of minigames when choosing your minigame pack.
If you like stats like me, you'll love looking at all of the charts they throw together at the end of a round. My friends and I can see who earned the most Coins, traveled the most, won the most minigames, and so on.
Mario Party Superstars: What's not good
There are only five boards: Yoshi's Tropical Island, Space Land, Peach's Birthday Cake, Woody Woods, and Horror Land. While these are some truly classic game boards for this pseudo-remake, it's disappointing that there are only five of them total. The first Mario Party had eight, but the most common number of boards for any Mario Party game was six after that. I'm assuming they only included five, so they could have one board for each Star difficulty. But still, considering this is like a collection/remake of all previous Mario Party entries, it would have been nice if it included more to choose from.
The only other frustrating thing was the lack of voice chat, not too surprising considering it isn't offered on most Switch games. Still, it would be a lot easier to strategize with team members if you could actually talk to them. But, you don't have to worry about random strangers trash-talking you or saying inappropriate things. Now, if you're playing with friends online and want to hear each other, you'll have to resort to calling each other, using Google Meet, Discord, or something similar.
Mario Party Superstars: Warning
Now, it is worth noting that Nintendo included Tug o' War, a minigame from the very first Mario Party that had parents complaining back in 2002 about their kids getting blisters from rotating the joystick with their palms. Back then, CNET even reported on how Nintendo agreed to supply "sports gloves" to any Mario Party owners who requested them to solve these complaints.
In Mario Party Superstars, Nintendo simply slapped a warning on the overview page stating, "do not rotate [the joystick] with the palm of your hand." You can easily play Tug o' War with your thumb or fingers, after all. Some people think this minigame should have been left out or changed to be played differently. But honestly, it was one of my favorites back in the day, and I'm happy it's here and playable the same way it was back then.
Mario Party Superstars: Should you play it?
Yes, yes, and yes! What are you waiting for? I cannot tell you how quickly these minigames pulled my friends and me into a hysterical hollering match. Since the game gives you more control over the setup of your games, you can give younger players a headstart by giving them Stars to start with, or if you hate the bonus Stars that get rewarded at the end, you can turn that off completely. Don't have anyone around to play with? Simply jump online and play with people from around the world.
Note: Make sure you buy Mario Party Superstars, not Super Mario Party. The latter is infamous for being a disappointing game and, in many ways, the opposite of Superstars.