Nintendo has been driving the nostalgia train with a few of its big releases for Nintendo Switch lately, and another one on the way is Mario Party Superstars. Growing up, I absolutely loved playing Mario Party with my family. The element of luck on the board game portion helped even out the age gap and experience advantages so my younger siblings weren't totally left in the dust. It was also one of the first games I remember playing. So when it comes to bringing back these games and upgrading them, I guess you could say I am onboard.
This board game style favorite is getting some changes in Mario Party Superstars that will be really nice to see, not only for classic game fans but for modern players as well. We'll see some throwbacks to the Nintendo 64 games, for example, but Superstars will also add highly requested features like online play and saves.
As Mario Party has come out with new renditions, Nintendo has tried to keep the series interesting by changing up the formula, but it hasn't always necessarily worked. For example, it introduced a feature with Mario Party 9 and kept it in Mario Party 10 where all the characters would move collectively in a car. This is the point I personally stopped playing Mario Party games, but Superstars' return to the classic game structure, along with the more modern touches, has my excitement reignited. I'm hoping this release is a success, therefore incentivizing Nintendo to return to some of the more original games for inspiration.
Good changes incoming: Remastered boards, online play, and more
One of Superstars' highlights is the return of some classic boards. There will be a total of five boards to play and they all come from the Nintendo 64 games. The videos of these boards look beautiful and I can't wait to see what they look like during gameplay.
An unexpected and thrilling board remade for Mario Party Superstars is the Horror Land board from Mario Party 2. Not only is this the perfect way to pull players in with the near Halloween release date, but also my personal favorite choice. This board has a unique feature where you play on this board in both day and night modes and the board has changing consequences depending on the time of day. Some are good and some are bad, adding an extra element of luck to the game. The night and day elements are sure to make the remade board a beautiful aesthetic.
The idea that we can still come together and play this old family favorite even though we're miles apart is exciting thanks to online play.
As for the minigames, Shy Guy Says — my personal favorite — is one of two minigames confirmed by name on Nintendo's Mario Party Superstar page along with Mushroom Mix Up. Shy Guy Says is a minigame where players must follow Shy Guy's commands quickly. Do it too slow, not at all, or in the wrong color, and you're cut from the game. As the game goes it gets faster and faster building up the anticipation. Something about the speed and attention needed brings a lot of laughs and makes for a surprisingly fun game.
As we've gotten older and made our way out of the home, my family and I have moved around and live farther from one another. The idea that we can still come together and play this old family favorite even though we're miles apart is exciting thanks to online play, which was first introduced to the Mario Party franchise with the first game in the series released on Switch, Super Mario Party. In addition to being able to play from the same system or locally, players who have a Nintendo Switch Online membership can play any of the modes online with other players.
Sometimes you don't want to commit to the whole time it would take to play an entire board game, especially if you're playing in different time zones, but you might like to dive into some minigames. Now players will have option to just do a few quick minigames instead of a whole game!
I clearly remember the days of leaving the Nintendo 64 on and running so we wouldn't lose our place in Mario Party. We would just have to hope that we would be allowed to leave it running or hide that it was still on. While I'm well beyond the days of hiding my N64 from my mom, I'm so glad that for the first time ever I can save a game, turn off my system, and come back later even if I'm playing online with friends.
Right now there's nothing showing any new characters joining the Mario Party roster but all the familiar faces make an appearance. Playable characters returning from the original Mario Party include Mario, Peach, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, Wario, and Luigi. Meanwhile Waluigi, Birdo, Daisy, and Rosalina will be on some of these boards for the first time.
Personally, I switch back and forth between my favorite dino-like characters, Birdo and Yoshi. Birdo is one of the latest characters added to the Mario Party cast, so I am interested to see if there are any dialogue changes with the addition of new characters as they debut in the game. Plus, they have cute new stickers on the board as you can choose to emote to taunt or cheer for the other players.
The release of Mario Party Superstars shows a continuation of moving away from the literal car that ran over my Mario Party excitement and bringing it back to life. Instead of everybody being sucked into the consequences of all the other players, it is a return to the classic board game feel I love about the series. Each player has their own experiences again bringing a bit of luck of the draw back.
Sharing an old favorite with new gamers and reuniting with distant family over a game that used to be a go-to is enough of a reason for me to count down the days as we approach the release date of Mario Party Superstars on October 29, 2021. If you don't already have a Nintendo Switch Online membership to play this online and you're loving playing these earlier games, I recommend getting one as it comes with the awesome benefit of some of the best NES and SNES games directly on your Switch for free.
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