In 2018, the Mario Party franchise made its debut on the Nintendo Switch with Super Mario Party. Last October, Mario Party Superstars followed suit. While Super Mario Party introduced new minigames, mechanics, and game boards, Mario Party Superstars is defined more as a collection of past Mario Party games. Let’s see how the classics from previous generations fare on the Nintendo Switch as we dive into the extensive collection of minigames.
## Action at the Push of a Button
At the core of Mario Party Superstars are the minigames. Players are treated to a whopping 100 minigames, all of which are remakes of past Mario Party minigames. The game boards in Mario Party mode also come from previous franchise titles, making Mario Party Superstars essentially a collection of remakes. From the main menu, players can choose to go wild on the game boards in Mario Party mode or fully immerse themselves in the individual minigames on the Minigame Mountain. Charming details like Toads Shop, where we can buy new card designs for our online profile, stickers, music, and new pages in the encyclopedia with the coins we collected, add to the enjoyment. The minigames are divided into various types, including free-for-all minigames, duel minigames, high-score minigames, and much more. If you want to get an overview of the games, head to Toad’s Ferry on the Minigame Mountain.
## A Mountain Full of Minigames
Once you arrive at the Minigame Mountain, you’ll have access to various modes that showcase the minigames in their own unique way. In Free Choice mode, you can choose from all 100 minigames. In Team Match, two players compete against each other. The Trio Challenge revolves around 1-vs.-3 minigames, while the Super Series allows a single player to compete against players from around the world in an attempt to build a winning streak. There are also sports and puzzles, daily challenges, and the Coin Battle. If you don’t want to choose between the many minigames yourself and prefer to compete against other players, then this is the perfect mode for you. However, the focus on nostalgia sometimes has its drawbacks when it comes to the design of the minigames. The game does not make use of motion control support, infrared motion cameras, or gyro sensors on the controllers. Nintendo already showed how entertaining the Joy-Con features can be in a minigame format with 1-2-Switch, a launch title for the Nintendo Switch in 2017. While it’s understandable that the emphasis is on the remake aspect, it’s still a bit disappointing. Nevertheless, it’s a joy to play through all the countless minigames, each one different from the next. They are creative, fun, and above all, diverse, which is an impressive achievement given the large selection. The designs are charming and lovingly crafted. Personal favorites quickly emerge, especially when it comes to mastering them in the online modes. Each minigame is accompanied by a tutorial screen that not only explains the button layout but also allows players to try out the minigame in advance. The easy and fast accessibility of the game is crucial, especially when played as a party game. Thanks to the minigame tutorials, the fun of the game is guaranteed for players of all skill levels.
### Mario Party Superstars – Image Gallery
## The Path of the Superstar
The Mario Party mode is a bit more involved. Here, four players compete against each other on a total of five different game boards from the Nintendo 64 era, including Horror Land and Peach’s Birthday Cake. The goal is to have the most stars by the end and be crowned the superstar. To obtain one of the coveted stars, players must locate Toadette on the game board and then make their way to her to collect the star with the coins they have gathered. The speed at which we acquire stars depends on the specific game board. Each board differs in difficulty and size. At the beginning of a game, players can determine the number of rounds, with 10 rounds and about 30 minutes of gameplay as a minimum and 30 rounds with an estimated 90 minutes as a maximum. Other settings, such as bonus stars, tutorial screen activation, and even a special handicap, can be added to the players’ preferences. Finally, players can choose which type of minigames should appear in the game. It’s particularly helpful that Mario Party Superstars saves the game progress after each round, allowing players to conveniently finish the current round and continue playing at another time. Practically every space on the board triggers a certain event. Sometimes players receive coins, and sometimes they are deducted. Lucky spaces grant us a randomly selected reward, while item spaces require us to engage in small cutscenes to obtain one of the available items. These items include objects like the double dice, which allows us to roll the dice twice, the skeleton key, which can open gates on the game board, or the warp dice, which allows the player to swap places on the board with another player. Items, various event spaces, and a minigame after each round create a balancing act between collecting coins during the minigames, buying items, and the pursuit of Toadette and her stars. Thanks to the sometimes powerful items, the game can take unexpected turns, keeping the Mario Party mode exciting. The inclusion of minigames combined with unique events based on the design of the game board makes Mario Party a fantastic experience. The choice of rounds allows for short or extensive gameplay depending on the time available. It can be played locally with friends, online, or with computer-controlled characters. However, it’s a bit hard to understand Nintendo’s decision to limit the selection of game boards to just five. While we do get one more board compared to Super Mario Party, considering the total number of past game boards, the decision seems questionable. With 100 minigames, the other extreme, it feels a bit unbalanced between the Minigame Mountain content and the Mario Party mode. Despite that, Mario Party Superstars’ gameplay remains engaging, thanks to the strong presence of minigames. I would have liked to see more variety, but the accessible and charming design of Mario Party Superstars ensures that we’ll have many enjoyable hours ahead, whether on the Minigame Mountain or the game boards.
There is a lot of love put into Mario Party Superstars, that’s evident. The design of the main menu as a small village, the presentation of the minigames, and their visual and mechanical execution—all show the attention to detail. With a focus on both party and single-player elements, Mario Party Superstars offers a wide range of possibilities. Whether players choose to compete alone against others online or play a round of Mario Party with friends in local mode, Nintendo keeps practically every door open. By focusing on beloved past Mario Party minigames, Nintendo undoubtedly appeals to many fans who now find their old favorite minigames on the Nintendo Switch. On the other hand, this limitation prevents the full potential of the Switch and its Joy-Cons from being fully utilized. I would have loved to see some playful implementations using the gyro sensors or the infrared camera. However, that doesn’t take away from the easily accessible and charming design of Mario Party Superstars, which is sure to provide many hours of fun on the Minigame Mountain or the game boards.