With over 23 years of history, Mario Party has seen its fair share highs and lowers. The highs are some of my most memorable times playing local multiplayer with friends. While the lows are almost the exact opposite. Mario Party Superstars is a celebration only of the greatest moments this long-running franchise ever had. It features 100 of the most entertaining minigames, five great boards from the first three Mario Party Games, and a combination of some of best mechanics, rules, and quality-of life improvements into one Switch game. While it isn’t surprising that the game is dull without friends and not all minigames deserve the title of “superstar”, the overall experience is simply the best Mario Party in a long time.
2018’s Super Mario Party marked a return to basics for the series. Mario Party Superstars took that idea one step further and focused on the N64 and early GameCube years. There are no motion-controlled minigames. There are no item capsules. There are also no custom dice blocks for characters. There is no way to recruit friends and there is no party vehicle. Only four players take turns rolling dice, moving on a virtual game board and playing minigames that earn coins. The coins can then be used to purchase stars. Maybe it’s because we haven’t had Mario Party games without any additional gimmicks in a while, but I find this simplicity to be incredibly refreshing.
These five boards are amongst the most beautiful in Mario Party’s history. Yoshi’s Tropical Island makes a great starter board. The layout is simple and the fun twist involves swapping star markers between its islands. This will be sure to bring joy and heartbreak to your friends. Space Land is my favorite board to play when there are no game-changing mechanics. Peach’s Birthday Cake allows me to play in a different way by keeping the star in a single position and scattering spots where you can plant star-stealing or piranha plants. Woody Woods requires you to think many moves ahead due to its changing arrows. Horror Land has a King Boo that lets you steal stars from other players… provided you have a skeleton key and 150 coins and you can reach him at night. Although it is an impossible hail Mary win condition, it can be done if you’re able to handle it. Read More