Super Mario Party made its debut on the Nintendo Switch in 2018, and last October, Mario Party Superstars followed suit. While Super Mario Party introduced new minigames, mechanics, and game boards, Mario Party Superstars defines itself as a collection of past Mario Party games. We’ll take a look at how the classics from previous generations fare on the Nintendo Switch and play through the extensive collection of minigames.
## Action at the Push of a Button
The centerpiece of Mario Party Superstars is the minigames. Players are treated to a total of 100 of them, but they are all remakes of past Mario Party minigames. The game boards in the Mario Party mode are also taken from previous titles in the franchise, so Mario Party Superstars can essentially be seen as a remake collection. Players can choose to indulge in the game boards in the Mario Party mode or focus on the individual games in the minigame mountain through the main menu. Charming details like Toad’s Shop, where we can use the coins we collect to buy new card designs for our online profile, stickers, music, and new pages in the encyclopedia, add to the experience. The minigames are divided into various types, including free-for-all minigames, duel minigames, high-score minigames, and much more. Those who want to get an overview of these games can take Toad’s ferry to the minigame mountain.
## A Mountain Full of Minigames
Once you arrive at the minigame mountain, various modes are available to showcase the minigames in their own unique way. In Free Play mode, players have the daunting task of choosing from a total of 100 minigames, while Team Match pits two players 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 online, attempting to build a winning streak. There are also sports and puzzles, daily challenges, and coin battles. If players don’t want to choose between the many minigames themselves and prefer to compete against other players, this mode is perfect for them. However, the nostalgic focus on the design of the minigames sometimes has its drawbacks. The game forgoes the use of motion control support, infrared motion cameras, or gyro sensors of the controller. With 1-2 Switch, a launch title for the Nintendo Switch in 2017, Nintendo demonstrated how entertaining Joy-Con functions can be in a minigame format. While focusing on the remake aspect is understandable, it’s still a shame. Nonetheless, it’s a joy to play through the countless minigames, none of which are the same. They are imaginative, fun, and above all, diverse, which is an impressive feat with such a large selection. The designs are charming and lovingly crafted. Personal favorites quickly emerge, especially when it comes to mastering them in online modes. Before each minigame, a tutorial screen is presented, which not only explains the button layout but also allows players to try out the minigame in advance. The easy and quick accessibility of the game is essential, especially for party play. Thanks to the design of the minigame tutorials, the fun of the game is always guaranteed, regardless of the skill level of a player.
### 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 possess the most stars and be crowned the superstar at the end. To obtain one of the coveted stars, players must find Toadette’s location on the game board and then make their way to her, using the collected coins to obtain the star. The speed at which we can get the stars depends on the respective game board. Each board differs in difficulty and, consequently, the size of the map. At the beginning of a game, players can set the number of rounds, with 10 rounds and about 30 minutes of gameplay as the minimum and 30 rounds with an estimated 90 minutes as the maximum. Other settings, such as the use of bonus stars, the activation of tutorial screens, and even a special handicap, can be added to the players. Finally, players choose which types of minigames should appear in the game. It is particularly helpful that Mario Party Superstars saves the game progress after each round, allowing players to comfortably finish the current round and continue playing at another time. Almost every space on the board triggers a certain event. Sometimes players receive some coins, while other times coins are deducted. On luck spaces, we get a randomly selected reward, while on item spaces, we have the opportunity to obtain one of the available items in small cutscenes. 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. A delicate balance arises between collecting coins during the minigames, buying items, and hunting for Toadette and her stars. Thanks to the sometimes powerful items, the game can turn around at any time, keeping the Mario Party mode exciting. The inclusion of minigames in combination with unique events based on the design of the game board makes Mario Party a great 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 even with computer-controlled characters. Nintendo’s decision to limit the selection of game boards to just five is somewhat hard to understand. While we do get one more board than with Super Mario Party, considering the sum of past game boards, the decision seems questionable. With 100 minigames, we have the opposite extreme, making the gameplay somewhat unbalanced between the minigame mountain content and the Mario Party mode. Despite the strong involvement of the minigames, the gameplay in the Mario Party mode is not monotonous, but I would have still appreciated more variety.
There is a lot of love put into Mario Party Superstars, and that is evident. The design of the main menu as a small village, the presentation of the minigames, as well as their visual and mechanical implementation. With a focus on both party play and single-player elements, Mario Party Superstars promises a wide range of uses. Whether players compete alone against others in online mode or play a round of Mario Party with friends in local mode, Nintendo keeps practically every door open. By focusing on familiar Mario Party minigames, Nintendo certainly appeals to many fans who can rediscover their favorite minigames on the Nintendo Switch. On the other hand, this limitation is a disadvantage as it never fully utilizes the power of the Switch and its Joy-Cons. I would have loved to see experiments with gyro sensors or the infrared camera. However, this does not change the easily accessible, charming design of Mario Party Superstars, which is sure to provide many fun-filled hours on the minigame mountain or the game board in the future. The review was published in our Nintendo Switch themed world. We tested the new Nintendo Switch OLED (review) and published our top 10 Switch games list there.