Mario Party Superstars – Destructoid
New coat, same chaos
Mario party is, in my opinion, a staple of Nintendo’s chaotic multiplayer offerings. Smash Bros. has a lot of frenzied fighting and mayhem, sure, but there’s something different about Mario party. This party, and Mario Party Superstars, relate to both the potential for fun competition and massive swings.
It captures the moment someone rolls a dice and lands on Boardwalk in Monopoly, and seething in silent frustration as they count every last dollar they owe another player and turn it into a fully virtual board game. The early Mario Party games are some of the best adaptations of this all-things-concept. Spinning blocks with stars, arrows, and portraits could rock the outcome of the match in just one turn.
There were fewer hold-down mechanisms, and more massive kickbacks and oscillations. It’s on this side of the Mario party this Mario Party Superstars goes back to, and if you’re in the mood to steal someone’s stars, there’s a lot going on.
Mario Party Superstars (Nintendo Switch)
Released: October 29, 2021
MSRP: $ 59.99
Mario Party Superstars is essentially a best-of for the first era of Mario party Games. The boards themselves come from the first three Mario party games on the Nintendo 64, while minigames originate from both the N64 and GameCube eras. Content-wise, it presents exactly what it says: a rereading of the best, from an era much loved by Mario party aficionados.
And honestly, Superstars makes a good first impression. After a short introductory sequence, you are greeted by a menu screen that looks like it came straight out of the Nintendo 64s. There is something about this kind of central village that transports me to the time not only Mario partythe first games, but also Pokémon Stadium and other N64 must-haves.
By jumping through the tables, you can immediately see the visual improvements made to each. They are, functionally, the same boards as before. Haunted Woods and the Space Station are just as you remember them except with a visual upgrade. But this visual upgrade really does make a difference.
Highlighted by the side by side shown to you at the start of each painting, you can really see how different these tables are now. It’s about remembering the games the way your rose-tinted memories do, rather than what they actually looked like back in the day. Having a revitalized version of these classics might be enough on its own for some Mario Party fans to choose this collection.
And the boards hold up. They are just as hectic, infuriating and ridiculous as I can remember. In one match, I moved forward a few spaces and landed on an event tile, which caused a Thwomp in a car to chase me down the lane I had just crossed and to the other end of the board. “Alright,” I thought. “It’s bad, but I have Double Dice. I can throw doubles and make up for lost time in the next round.
Then on the next round, I blocked a special event that I half-paid attention to as I passed and landed on the exact same Thwomp event as before. Except that now, because I had activated the other, I was even more repulsed. I must have laughed, because really, it is Mario party: a mixture of cold and cruel dice rolls and comedy found in the suffering they pour out.
If board games aren’t your style, there are actually quite a few things to do that aren’t just classic. Mario party. They’re all contained in the Mt. Minigames area, which has a pretty impressive number of ways to repackage and house the large collection of minigames in. Mario Party Superstars.
Some of them are a bit more team-oriented, while others feature a solo challenge. I like the idea of Daily Challenge modes, because it gives you a reason to keep coming back to the mountain of minigames, and it kicked off some interesting game playlists for me.
To be clear, it’s still about playing the mini-games you know from Mario Party, but they’re packaged in a way that encourages a bit more of the teamwork you might have in the board game. One example is the 1v3 Mine Cart Glove, where you are challenged to achieve winning streaks with a team against an enemy in back-to-back mini-game battles.
To be fair, I spent most of my time on Mt. Minigames in the Sports Zone, where games like volleyball and hockey were available as standalone experiences, with leaderboards to climb and all. An hour went by in a blur while I played a bunch of volleyball games, and it was honestly a blast.
While there are local options available for Mario Party play, both in the board game and mini game areas, another big draw is online play. Unlike its predecessor, Mario Party Superstars got the game online from the start, and in my experience it worked pretty well. I’ve heard anecdotal cases of players giving up when they’re too far behind, but like a game of Monopoly sometimes you can’t help but have a few walkouts.
What struck me the most was the contrast between Mario Party Superstars and Super mario party, the previous Mario party go to Nintendo Switch. The latter was a new game, and he tried a lot of new ideas. I think some of them were interesting, and I especially dug into the mode that sent four players rafting down a river together. There have been some interesting stab wounds in what a cooperative is Mario party the experience might look like, although the main Mario party the formula was not that great. The character dice were cool but made it easy to stay ahead, in my experience, and the board offering was less than stellar. The games also took a long time to complete.
Compare that with Mario Party Superstars, which takes advantage of its own heritage to get started with the classic Mario party her fans fell in love in the first place. It’s absolutely a retread, with its innovations in visual tweaks and smart content repackaging. And the retread also works very well. I found myself revisiting this on a whim a lot more than I did with Super mario party, and most of my time has been solo as well, as there is a surprising amount of fun to be found even if you don’t have a party. And it brings back a lot of what I loved in the past Mario party from games, from more expensive stars to interesting board mechanics like the plants on Peach’s birthday cake.
So during Mario Party Superstars doesn’t necessarily innovate massively, it’s so good at replaying classics that it will probably be my new choice for Mario party fun to move on. It’s not just nostalgia for the Nintendo 64 that speaks here; this is a good collection of minigames, a selection of smart boards, an engaging game play, and it has tons of settings, dials, and options to tweak for repeated gaming sessions . It may not be full of new ideas, but Mario Party Superstars play the hits and play them just as well as the first time.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]