Super Mario Party – Nintendo Switch – Review

Game: Super Mario Party
System: Switch
Developer: NDCube
Publisher: Nintendo
Age Rating: 3+
Price: Aus$ 79.95|$ 49.95|£ 49.99 |€ 59,99
Release Date: 5 October 2018

Overall Feeling: I like it!

Be aware that it does not support handheld mode and single joy-cons are the only control option. You can have up to four players locally, and the same for two systems but multiple cards are required.

My main previous experiences with Mario Party have been 2 for the N64 and 4 for the GameCube. I’ve only played a little bit of the other games and haven’t been much interested in most of NDCube’s ones.

Let’s Party!

As usual the debate of who is the true Superstar must be decided by a party. This time there are five gems to collect, all tied to the different game modes. The main mode, Mario Party is the usual board game. This time they’ve done away with the car that’s been done recently.

If you’re unfamiliar, each person takes a turn moving across the board to get to the star. Once they’ve passed the star they can buy it (now ten coins instead of twenty). After which it will change places on the board. In between a round of everyone’s turn a mini-game is played. The mini-games are the best way to earn coins so you can buy a star. Whoever has the most stars, or coins if it comes to it, at the end of all the turns, wins. Various spaces do different things such as give or take your coins, trigger a bomb countdown or take you to another side of the map.

Dice and Allies

In this game each character also have their own specific dice with advantages and disadvantages. Such as Shy Guy having one zero and five fours, or Bowser where you have two chances to get negative three coins but could also roll a ten. When you get a coin change you don’t move. Playing Peach I generally stuck with the normal dice as risking the zero wasn’t worth it. Whereas a COM as Rosalina liked using her dice on a lucky space because if she didn’t move she got three coins, and it counted as landing on the space again.

Another feature is having allies. Landing on an ally space give you an ally. This allows you to use their dice and get an additional one or two on your dice roll. There are also team mini games that can trigger, so whoever has more allies has a better chance of winning them.

They’ve also added a hi-five option when starting the game, or winning a co-op mini-game, which is cute. The joy-con makes a little sound when it’s your turn, something I didn’t know the joy-con could do.

River Survival

River survival is a four player co-operative mode. Where you must raft together through a few branching paths with different hazards. It’s a race against the clock and you can collect more time by popping balloons. The balloons hold mini-games where you work together to complete a goal. Such as catching the most fish all at once, herding penguin babies or passing fireworks. By the way the trick to the penguin game is to have a couple people herding them along the edge, while the others block them into the exit. There are only ten different mini games in this mode.

This is a really good option for families, as instead of competing, you are working together. I’d suggest playing with at least one other person, set on the opposite side. As playing with three COMS makes it difficult to navigate. Often they paddle too much or not at all. There is also a hard course you can unlock. Wherein the river flows faster and the games are more difficult.

Sound Stage

Sound Stage is a competitive rhythm mini game collection. These all use motion controls, and are set to various Mario tracks. My favourites are the window wiping and dance copying. The only one I couldn’t get the hang of was the table cloth pulling. My little sister had trouble with the baseball one, as you have to make small swings. Then it comes up with a warning which we had trouble getting rid of. It also doesn’t pause the game. After beating a few you then get the option to play remix then hard mode. It’s probably the easiest gem to get depending on your ability. While I enjoyed it, I don’t understand why the games aren’t just in the board game. Especially since they’re in the single player Challenge Road. There are only ten of them after all.

Partner Party

Partner party is a co-op competitive mode. Where you work in teams of two. The boards used are the same but the spots on the ground are different. Your dice rolls combine, before counting any allies or items. From there you can both move the same amount of spaces anywhere on the board. As it works grid-like, you can’t stop until you’ve moved all your number. You can however loop around yourself if need be. In this mode you actually have to land on the star space instead of passing it. This can be annoying when you get the wrong choice of odd or even and there’s just no way to reach the star that turn. If you and your partner can both land on the star in the same turn you can both buy one.

The mini games in this are any free-for-all or 2v2 ones. If it’s a free for all then whoever the winner is, determines what team wins. In this mode when passing over rivals you will actually stomp on them and earn a coin. The same follows for any allies you have collected. It also has a lot more different items that I did not see in the main mode. I think it’s a decent option, especially to pair up a younger or more novice player with the best one.

Mini-Games and Online Mario-thon

In total, including the River Survival and Sound Stage there are eighty mini-games. Which is a decent number. In order to free play them you will have to unlock some by playing either board game modes. Most of them are already unlocked at the start. I know there are a lot of people who are strictly interested in the mini-games.

Most game-play involves holding the joy-con horizontally, and either using buttons or motion controls. The motion controls are pretty good although some people have trouble with making too big a motion. Some of these motion control game require holding it vertically, and using the strap but it tells you before you start. Also included are some mini-games that use the HD Rumble functionality which I liked. Having the practice mode included in the instructions instead of a separate section is very handy.

Square Off, is a round of twelve mini-games but winning one allows you to capture a panel. As the main goal is winning the panel capture game. Where you can trap other’s squares to earn them. If you manage to tie then the winner of a round is determined by dice roll.

You can also play in a series of five mini-games called a Mariothon. Your performance determines the points you earn. This is available to play online, however I have been unable to complete even a single mini game connected to it. Meaning I can’t comment much on it. I have seen that the online Mariothon has very few mini-games, which makes it all the more terrible.

Toad’s Rec Room and Multi System Play

Toad’s Rec Room is a collection of four different mini-games not present in the other modes. They all have the option to use multiple systems to play. Only Banana Split requires it. All the other ones can be played on TV, with two systems, tabletop, or set down. With Mini League the two screens give you different views, in Shell Shocked Deluxe you can set up the map how you want. The only benefit with Puzzle Hustle using two systems is that you can warp through a pipe to help them out.

Asides from Banana Split, I don’t see why these couldn’t have been implemented in the other modes. They could still have been in Toad’s Rec Room with the multi-system features. As far as I’m aware you can play the other modes with a couple of systems as well.

Challenge Road

The single player in this game is the Challenge Road. In it you have to beat a few challenges in a row before you can rest. However if you fail you can keep trying it. There are eighty challenges. All of which are the mini-games including the River and Sound ones. But with some additional requirements such as beating a certain time, making a minimum score or not getting hit at all. It definitely gets very challenging.

This is how you unlock two of the additional characters. I think this is actually a better  single player option than just playing the board games against COMs which you can still do. Though, in this game just playing a board counts as completing it towards the gems.

Party Points

The game is presented in a cute little hub you can move around between the modes. You also get a Party Pad so you can directly go to them. After playing a bit Birdo will quiz you on Mario Party and if you get it right you’ll earn a sticker. Stickers are used in a room where you can make a funny picture using backgrounds and stickers you earn. This is a little addition that I really liked. Toad will update your Party Pad from time to time, and you’ll be able to buy stickers, music and advice with Party Points. The Party Points are earned for various things such as completing a mode, or even getting a personal best.

You can scan five amiibo a day to earn Party Points. If they are a Mario Party amiibo you will earn their shiny sticker the first time. These stickers can still be bought in the final Party Pad update if you don’t have the amiibo.

If you want to change characters and the COMs difficulty, you can go back to the Blue Toad at the front. Super Mario Party has the biggest roster with a total of twenty characters. It does suck a little that the only non-princess specifically female character is unlocked through challenge road. As my sister and I both prefer Princess Peach over the others. Perhaps in the future Mario Party could have an option for alt colours or something. As even in Mario Kart you can both be the same character.

It’s Better Than The Last Party

Super Mario Party is fun but in comparison to my favourites there’s a bit lacking. One thing, is that the items in Mario Party mode are similar. There’s mushrooms to influence dice rolls, and a warp pipe to warp in front of the star. Whereas 4 had stickers you could place to change spots, a whistle to scare the star out of place and mushrooms to change where you could move. There are also only four boards, when the earliest Mario Party games had six. Not only this but the boards are all very small. Versus space games in this aren’t full special mini-games but short HD Rumble buzzer games. Having a star cost ten instead of twenty also doesn’t feel right with me, as almost anyone can get a star at any point. Unless they really got screwed over.

Bonus stars in this game can’t be turned off, and they won’t be the same every time. Whereas in four when in free play you can choose them, and they’d be the same three every time. In Super Mario Party I lost a Partner Party because Yoshi got a star for having Mario as an ally. The only reason he even got Mario was that he stole it from me after he landed on a lucky space.

Certain mini-games like Don’t Wake Wiggler, give a massive advantage to the first player. I think that Sound Stage wasn’t needed and it and Toad’s Rec Room games should have been in the board game instead. River Survival definitely needed more than ten mini-games considering you can hit more than that many balloons in a run. As far as I’m aware the online mode is terrible. I don’t understand why they couldn’t have put the main mode in it, at least for friends. People could have been replaced with COMs for taking too long like in Mario Kart.

Sixth Time’s The Charm

Super Mario Party itself looks pretty nice, and some of the boards have some cute background details. The cute packaging doesn’t make up for a slightly lacking present. Outside of the online mode there aren’t any technical issues. I’ve seen a few people say this is a good foundation for returning to the Mario Party format. Yet this its NDCube’s sixth Mario Party game, I’m not going to cut them any slack at this point. Due to the lacking nature of the main mode, it does go by a little faster which is good for some people. It seems a bit easier for new players to succeed, as my boyfriend had never played a Mario Party before and won his first game. Clearly my mistake was telling him how to play.

I really do like this game, and it’s a pretty decent family game depending on how the younger one’s can handle losing.

I like it!


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