Since it’s conception on the Nintendo 64, no game series has been responsible for more relationships ending than Mario Party and now its back in its first iteration on the Nintendo Switch. I admittedly haven’t played a Mario Party title since the Game Cube and was very excited to see what the game could offer with the Switches impressive joy cons. I planned on using them along with all of the trust I had been fostering with my children and just crush them.
For the uninitiated Super Mario Party, is a party for the most part. The main mode of the game is a board game style layout where the goal is to have the most stars by the end the selected amount of turns. This is done by competing in a plethora of mini games between each round. Depending on how you place, you earn coins that can be used to purchase stars at certain spots on the game board. Purchasing stars aren’t the only way to earn them though, there are ways to steal other players stars as well as earn end of game stars by simply having the most coins or being the best at mini games, see why I said this game is trying on relationships?
The game offers the usual cast of Mario favorites to choose from be it Dry Bones, Shy Guy or Luigi. As in previous games, Toad is back as the host. Each character has a unique set of dice, which unlike the standard dice offers different benefits. For example if you use Donkey Kong’s dice you have a chance to earn coins or move ten spots but a majority of the other sides are zeroes. Big risk, bigger reward. There is also a chance to earn allies by landing on special spaces on the board. These allies offer you extra dice to use to get around the board as fast as possible to get all those glorious stars.
There is a variety of ways to play Mario Party with it’s over 80 mini games and multiple game modes. There is a team mode for two vs two, a four player survival mode that takes place on a raft, online play and more. You can have up to four players on one switch if you have the same amount of joy cons, you can also link up consoles for new modes and new ways to play. This opens up games like Shell Shocked, which has you controlling tanks back and forth between two Switches. If you don’t have a full four people to play the game gives you computer controlled opponents with varying degrees of skill. For the most part this was great although the AI in some mini games was a disaster. In one 2 vs 2 game, Tow the Line, where the goal was to recreate a shape using string and pegs, the AI partner would just follow me around the board instead of trying to recreate the shape, through five rounds it did this resulting in zero points for either team, though this was few and far between. There is even a single player challenge mode if you truly alienated all your friends by stealing their stars.
The Mini games, as mentioned, are numerous and varied. Games can be free for all, 1 vs 3 or 2 vs 2. Before each game starts, players are treated to an explanation of the rules, a tutorial on the controls and are allowed a bit of practice. This was a great way to get used to the many new clever ways the joy cons are being used with the mini games. If 1-2 Switch was a tech demo for what motion controls could be, the full potential is on display in Super Mario Party. The ease of controls is especially appreciated with two little ones at home just starting to figure their way around a controller.
It’s been great fun getting back into this series and even better now that I can share it with my family. I loved watching them get excited to win a mini game, be excited to gain an ally and be utterly heart broken when they get a star taken from them. Super Mario Party has been a welcomed new addition to our family game night. This is the Mario Party I remember and loved to play. The format may not be for everyone and it really is at it’s best with all four players in one room but you can’t deny that once you’ve survived a game of Mario Party you are forever changed.
Disclaimer: The Dadcade recieved a review copy from Nintendo, but the views reflected within are our own.