Mario Party Superstars
A [Mario] Party Ain't A Party 'Til We Run Through It
For over twenty years, Mario had his fair share of extracurricular activities outside of saving princesses from troublesome Koopas. Starting with karting with Koopas, he would go golfing with Koopas, hitting a few rounds of tennis, and many more. Of the various Mario spin-offs, Mario Party is arguably one of the most prolific with over 10 games in the main series. The concept of a board video game flourished with the usage of mascot characters, addictive minigames, and in-depth mechanics. Anyone can pick up a controller and play Mario Party yet it takes a certain level of wit to succeed. After all, it's everybody for themselves and Mario Party Superstars is a culmination of this.
The first eight titles would be developed by Hudson Soft with priorities switching over to NDcube beginning with Mario Party 9. In the beginning, long-term fans of the series protested against the change of mechanics introduced in Mario Party 9 and 10. Beginning with Super Mario Party, the series returned to its traditional roots and received generous amounts of praise. The limitations of online multiplayer, subjected to minigames only, were a source of major critique. A 2021 patch fixed this issue, but for many, it was too little too late. As if sharing a similar sentiment, Nintendo decided to try again with its newest release, Mario Party Superstars.
You Are The Super Star!
Mario Party Superstars is regarded as a compilation title in the series compared to 2017's Mario Party: The Top 100. Unlike The Top 100, which exclusively featured minigames, Superstars is a full Mario Party experience. Five boards from previous titles return, including two from Mario Party, two from Mario Party 2, and one from Mario Party 3. The featured minigames are a collection of those from the N64 and Gamecube eras. These include favorites such as Tick Tock Hop and Sneak 'n' Snore, the latter of which I gave my best Squid Games impression during recording...
The roster features a number of fan favorites from the previous Mario Party titles, including returning character Birdo among others. The graphics are quality as expected from a Mario title, featuring vivid colors and expressive characters. The music includes modern variations of the classic boards, including the featured minigames playing songs from their respective games. Long-time fans of Mario Party will instantly recognize the majority of the songs. Upon completion of a board, players will unlock the classic version of the songs for their listening pleasure.
End Your Long-Term Friendships, Online And Offline
There aren't any limitations to the fun a player will have if they decide to play solo or multiplayer, although it's the most chaotic with other human players. The player has the option to decide their playstyle upon booting up the game, making all menu accessibility easy to understand. Aside from the main Mario Party mode, there's also a minigame mode where players can compete against other players with high scores. Mario Party Superstars's gameplay depends on which of the five boards is currently being played as no two boards play the same.
An example of this is Yoshi's Tropical Island, arguably the simplest board in the game. There are two islands, connected by two Thwomps that serve as toll booths. A player can pay a certain number of coins to get through the other island, with the toll cost rising over time. A star will always be on one side of the island while Bowser will be on the other side. Players who land on an Event Space will cause the two spaces to swap. This forces players to always be aware of where the star lands.
A guaranteed star may be thwarted by one player's innocuous landing of an event space. This, combined with minigames and duel spaces, means that a simple board like Yoshi's Tropical Island can potentially spiral out of control. For technical boards such as Horror Woods where every turn an event happens, chaos is imminent.
Mario Party Superstars Is An 'Essential' Switch Title
With returning boards, minigames, music, characters, and much more, Mario Party Superstars is a near-perfect anthology. It is also what I'd consider an "Essential" title for Nintendo Switch owners. Mario multiplayer games have always been the cornerstone of a Nintendo product beginning with arguably Mario Kart 64. For every major Nintendo release, a kart racing game, a multiplayer game, and a Party game are almost a necessity. Any bad blood that can't be settled in real life is usually handled in an hour-long board game.
It's up there with having a game of Monopoly on standby, or a deck of Uno cards. Mario Party has always been a, for lack of a better term, party game best enjoyed with others. With the world slowly opening up again, the option to play with friends in the living room and online over a Discord call are both valid options. Perhaps the lack of online play on launch was what prevented Super Mario Party to be a must-own title. With this inclusion, it's safe to say Mario Party Superstars is the definitive version to own for a night of laughs (and salt).
Mario Party Superstars is available on the Nintendo Switch.