The last time we got a full-fledged Mario Party release things weren’t too great. But this time around Nintendo did almost everything right to give us the game we all love to hate our friends while playing.
Plenty of games to go around
While it isn’t the biggest number seen in the long-running Mario Party series, Super Mario Party contains a solid 80 mini games. The games are divided up into their usual categories as well as a couple new genres thrown into the mix. There’s your normal free-for-all, 2v2, and 1 vs 3 mini games, but this time around there’s the new River Survival mode, Sound Stage mode, and Toad’s Rec Room.
Down the river
River Survival takes you and 3 friends on a journey through the river rapids as you work together to make it to the end. Each member has a paddle to help steer the raft in the right direction, but without good coordination its easy to end up hitting some rocks along the way.
Mini games are strewn about along the river in the form of balloons. Hit the balloons and you’ll get the chance to play one of the teamwork driven mini games to try and get a little more time put on the clock. The better you do, the more time gets added.
Motion controlled rhythm
Sound Stage is the second new way to play Mario Party. The mode is quick, but a ton of fun with friends. Basically, its a rhythm game, much like Rhythm Heaven, but it’s comprised entirely out of motion control based mini games.
There are times when the motion controls are a little buggy. Often times while playing the Remix mode (sped up versions of the Sound Stage mini games) I found missing a couple of beats due to the controller not picking up properly.
If everything goes smooth though, Sound Stage is a blast. Sadly, there are only 10 rhythm games to play through, and they’re all extremely short. It would’ve been nice to have seen these mini games included in the main Mario Party board game mode as well, because the only way to play these mini games is in the Sound Stage specific mode.
Putting it all together
Toad’s Rec Room is the third new edition to the Mario Party formula, and it shows some real Nintendo creativity.
What this mode does so different is its utilization of multiple Switch consoles. If you and a friend both have a Switch and a copy of Super Mario Party you’ll be able to play Toad’s Rec Room in dual Switch mode.
Both Switch units can be laid down on a table touching each other to play the mode’s mini games across 2 devices. It’s pretty cool to see, but the main issue here is having multiple people buy a copy of Mario Party.
Luckily, 3 of the 4 mini games here don’t require a second Nintendo Switch to play. They can be played in normal hand held mode or TV mode just fine.
Mini games in Toad’s Rec Room are locked within this mode too, and can’t be played outside of this game mode.
So how’s the party?
Playing the classic Mario Party mode feels great again. After Mario Party 9 many were scared of the path the game series was going down, but I’m glad to say that the Mario Party we all know and loved is back.
With all the mini games playable in the base Mario Party mode as well as the classic fight for the star back, the game feels competitive once more.
Sadly, it’s board selection is fairly low. Currently at launch, Super Mario Party comes with 4 boards.
The issue with Super Mario Party though is an issue every Mario Party has, and because of the Switch console it’s more apparent than ever.
Mario Party is a party game, and that’s fine. The problem is asking 60 dollars for a game that can really only be enjoyed with friends. The game forces you to play it with a single joycon, even in single player mode, and even if you could play it normally it still wouldn’t be that fun alone.
It might be a super nit-picky criticism, but I think Nintendo need to find a way to make Mario Party fun solo.
A good time for the whole gang
While some people may justifiably stray away from this release due to its high price tag for a party game, its undeniable that Mario Party is back to the way we all want it to be. With as many games as it has, its sure to be the center of numerous families’ and friends’ living rooms.