Super Mario Party brings the franchise back to the golden age

Here’s a Super Spoilers Warning for those who don’t want their Mario Party experience to get tainted! This review contains spoilers! Gasp!

Ever since Dec. 18, 1998, the Mario Party franchise has challenged friendships with minigames and star collecting. About two decades have passed since the first release in the series, and a brand new addition is making its way as one of the best. Super Mario Party brings the franchise back from the failures of Mario Party 10 to give a great experience.

From the moment Nintendo announced at E3 that a new Mario Party was going to release on the Switch, I was excited. I preordered the game the moment I could. On Oct. 5, being as excited as I was, I ran the opposite direction from the pep rally to get home earlier to play my game. I opened the box, inserted the cartridge into the Switch, and booted up the game. I played non-stop throughout the long weekend trying out the variety of ways to play Super Mario Party, and I was not disappointed.

Once the game starts, you’re able to pick your character from the starting roster of Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Wario, Waluigi, Yoshi, Princess Rosalina, Bowser, Goomba, Shy Guy, Koopa Troopa, Monty Mole, Bowser Jr., Boo, and Hammer Bro. After choosing your character, you’re brought into the Party Plaza, where Toad and Toadette work together to bring you the best party imaginable. From the get-go many modes are available, Mario Party, Partner Party, River Survival, and Sound Stage. Other modes become available after playing through all eighty mini-games that the game offers.

Mario Party is the main mode of the game. Where one to four players compete for the most stars to become the winner. After choosing a board from the selection of four, and the number of rounds you would like to play, you start off with a dice roll to deem the order of the players. Then, the first round of the game starts. A round is divided upon each of the four characters rolling a dice, moving the rolled number of spaces, and going through events based on where the player landed. Then, after the four players move, the round ends with a minigame. This continues until all rounds are played, and then the player who gained the most stars is crowned the winner.

Partner Party is the same mode as Mario Party except there are two teams of two. Also, the board changed to become free roam, where your character can move in any direction. The pairing that ends up getting the most stars is also deemed the winner.

River Survival is a four-player co-op mode where all four players work together on a rapid river. The mode uses motion controls as you paddle to avoid obstacles such as waterfalls, rocks, bloopers, and whirlpools. Also, did I mention that not only do you have to avoid obstacles but you’re on a timer, and the only way to get more time is by playing minigames? Each time your raft passes a balloon, you must pop it to play a minigame in the hopes of gaining more time to make it to the end of the river. This keeps tensions high and makes communication very important.

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Sound Stage is a motion-controlled dominated minigame hub. You along with three other players compete in motion-controlled minigames to gain the most points. Whoever has the most points by the ends of the many minigames is the winner. This mode becomes very competitive as doing your actions offbeat will have you lose your lead on other players. Any fan of the Wario Ware franchise would have fun with this game mode due to the sheer randomness of the types of motion-controlled minigames there are.

After playing the game for a while, more modes and characters become available. The modes that you can unlock are Challenge Road, Minigames, Online Mariothon, Toad’s Rec Room, and the Stickers Room. The characters that become available after a few games in a variety of modes are Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Dry Bones, and Pom Pom.

Challenge Road is a solo player adventure that unlocks as soon as the player experiences all eighty minigames at least once. This mode has a challenge for each of the eighty minigames that are playable and can be beaten within a few hours. As much as it claims to be a challenge, I found myself only having to repeat a few minigames three times at most. It was a great addition for those who may not have friends, like me, and that want to play Mario Party alone.

The Minigames menu allows for players to play minigames in a variety of ways. The Free play option offers up all eighty mini-games to be played when desired. Mariothon is a mode where several minigames are picked at random, and the winner of the majority is the winner of the marathon. Square Off has an empty board, and whoever wins a minigame gets to gain one of the mini squares within the larger square. Then, whoever has the most squares after mini square is claimed is the winner. This addition to the game answers a lot of desires needs for alternative ways to play minigames.

Online Mariothon is like the minigame Mariothon, but you compete with players around the globe in minigames to rank the highest on leaderboards. This is the only game mode in Super Mario Party that is unplayable if the owner of the Switch does not have Nintendo Online. Nintendo Online is a paid service provided by Nintendo. It can get very competitive playing against people who are milliseconds off of you when finishing a minigame.

Toad’s Rec Room is the last major optional game menu in the Party Plaza. Within this room, four games are playable that use many switches for a larger screen feature. Without friends that both own the Switch and Super Mario Party, I found myself unable to comment on such feature. Yet, the games are still playable with one, and one standout game is Mini League Baseball. Mini League Baseball is exactly what it sounds like, a game of baseball. Yet, it becomes interesting as the game can play as one on one or two on two. Also, one person controls the pitching and only one person is in the outfield. When playing against friends, the games can get very heated due to the twists on baseball. Games I played ended with a twenty point lead based on my friend’s skills. I recommend playing this mode before playing the main mode.

Sticker Mode is the last game mode available. Stickers are bought and collected throughout Super Mario Party. Which means you can earn currency to buy stickers, songs, and more from the virtual shop within the game. This allows for incentive to playing more as you get to buy more. Also, it is a lot of fun to collect stickers that lead to making pictures placing the stickers in fun scenarios.

Super Mario Party is one of the best additions to the Mario Party franchise in recent years. With the variety of game modes, the quality of graphics and usage of motion controls, and the expansive amount of playable characters and minigames, Super Mario Party is a 10/10.