Mario Party Superstars is the twelfth Mario Party title and the second Mario Party game to land on Nintendo Switch. While it still seems quite recent, Super Mario Party was released over 3 years ago and a refresh was definitely in order. Mario Party Superstars nails this and the amount of content on offer here should satisfy gamers everywhere.
As a brand new title, Mario Party Superstars still manages to capture the essence of Mario Party thanks to the fact that it brings fan favourite mini-games from previous titles to Nintendo Switch. This modernisation of older Mario Party mini-games is extremely welcome. Nintendo has done a really great job here bringing quality of life improvements to the game across the pun intended, board.
Players can play Mario Party Superstars either solo against CPU controlled opponents or against their friends in both local and online matches. Players can opt into playing the Mario Party mode or the Mount Minigames mode. Mount Minigames has a few options available to narrow down your mini-game selection. You can also simply play through all 100 minigames available should you so desire via the “Free Play” mode with the game keeping track of which mini-games you’ve played so far. Getting through all 100 should come naturally as you play through the Mario Party mode but there is a “Daily Challenge” mode too where you can play against opponents online in Mount Minigames.
The real star of the show is not Mount Minigames but rather the full-fledged Mario Party mode where players can select one of five boards to play. These boards are Yoshi’s Tropical Island and Peach’s Birthday Cake from Mario Party 1), Space Land and Horror Land from Mario Party 2, and lastly Woody Woods from Mario Party 3. All of these boards have been given a makeover and feature new events which were not present in their original versions.
The gameplay in Mario Party Superstars is incredibly varied. The core gameplay of playing through a turn-based board game remains a key aspect here but the minigames on offer are where the major gameplay takes place. Each minigame features its own set of rules and players can play either 1 vs 3 or 2 vs 2 player mini-games. These games can range from extremely simple to quite challenging in complexity with some being downright dastardly in difficulty.
Players will roll a dice and move their character along aboard for a pre-determined number of turns in total before a winner eventually emerges. Each tile you land on the board does a different thing and there are environmental hazards as well as Bowser, Boo, Koopa Troopa and other Mario franchise characters to deal with. Players can use items during their turn and save up and collect coins for use at the item shop. Obtaining the most stars by winning mini-games or other means is the key to victory in Mario Party Superstar’s Mario Party mode.
Mario Party Superstars is best played with friends. It comes as no real surprise that playing this game with other people is definitely the way it was intended to be played. Seeing as it’s a party game, playing the game solo against the CPU is still fun but not nearly as fun as it is playing against actual humans. Imagine the chaos that will ensue when you unleash a Boo to steal stars from a human player that’s currently winning. If something crazy goes down in a mini-game, real-life humans might burst out laughing and there’s just this pure wholesome joy factor flowing throughout the game which cannot be denied when playing with friends.
The only downside of Mario Party Superstars is that when playing against CPU controlled opponents or against online opponents, it does take a bit longer to get through their turns. Waiting around while other players take their turns is not really fun and people who are impatient might be put off by this. Thankfully though, the mini-games themselves never slow down. Those are always adrenaline pumping and surprisingly lag-free.
Mario Party Superstars also looks the part with each and every single mini-game, board and in-game visual looking fantastic. Nintendo really went all out here and the game looks absolutely gorgeous. The flashy effects are the best part and there’s a tonne of them to be seen throughout the game. The game runs incredibly smoothly in both handheld and docked mode and never dropped any frames or stuttered even in chaotic mini-games.
Nintendo has also opted to include both classic and modernised versions of the audio tracks for each board so if you’re feeling nostalgic, you can simply swap over to the older version of the music. There’s also a very extensive encyclopedia which contains information about each character. Oh, and there are stickers that can be purchased from the in-game store to be relentlessly spammed during gameplay whenever you want. There’s a surprising amount of character “voice acting” too, and I use that term lightly here since this is a Mario game after all. Characters will say their names and make sounds when moving around the boards or in mini-games and thankfully this is well done.
Overall, Mario Party Superstars is a great party game. The Mario Party mode is the star of the show for longer, more intense matches but if you want to just hop right into the action, Mt. Minigame is easily accessible with all 100 mini-games available right from the get-go. The online modes do require an active Nintendo Online membership so do be warned of that but you can rest assured that it works flawlessly in action. Mario Party Superstars is highly recommended if you’re looking for a game to play with friends which is wholesome, incredibly fun and has a tonne of great content from older Mario Party games mixed in with brand new content.
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