Published on October 7th, 2018 | by Zorbz0
REVIEW: Super Mario Party
Summary: Another Nintendo, another Mario Party game. Can the 11th console entry rejuvenate the franchise? Let’s dig in.
Concept: Now there isn’t really a story for Mario Party games, however the main concept has always been the board-game aspect, so let’s jump right into the two board-game modes on offer. You can choose to play the classic 4 player classic board-game experience which changes up slightly across the 4 boards on offer (one of which you need to unlock) however these boards feel very small and with nothing really setting them too far apart from each other this can become stale really fast. Sure they are still enjoyable to play but i can never see myself going for more then ten rounds without getting bored and this has been something i found ever since the first Mario Party. Unless you’re playing with 3 friends, having the CPU controller the remaining characters can be a drag as they take their time and also have the potential to win via some shady measures like the star constantly moving to a location just in front of them or them winning bonus stars at the end of the match, which has always been the most frustrating thing about Mario Party. Skill can play a part but often it can come down to sheer dumb luck which totally ruins any point of actually trying to play well. Nintendo needs a mode or option that strips these stupid bonus stars and just has a skill based board for people wanting real competition.
The new Party Party mode however is a nice change up that lets you go two on two with players being able to move in any direction they so choose after their teams dice rolls are complete. This allows one player to search for coins whilst the other goes after the star, or you have the freedom to both do basically whatever you think will net you the victory. This definitely helps put a bit more depth to the tried and true formula and ups the strategy too as you need to land exactly on the star space as opposed to just being able to collect on your way through. Now again this is great fun with human controlled players or even 2, however player this mode with 3 human controlled characters automatically puts the player with the computer controlled partner at a disadvantage. Still overall i appreciate this new mode changing up to the formula just enough to spruce things up.
‘Pretty sure we’re screwed’
Graphics: Visually Mario party games have always been a tad downgraded in comparison to the other first party offerings on previous consoles and while this still remains true for character models on Nintendo switch, it’s barely noticeable as the characters still sport great animations, and look just as bold and vibrant as ever before. What stands out the most visually is how great the environments and backgrounds are for each mini game, which are all so lovingly crafted. Some of them had my jaw dropping, especially the meat cube cooking mini-game (i’ve forgotten the real name) but it’s the details in the environments that make things seem much more grand then just doing a simple little task. Span this across 80 new mini games and you have some amazing visual delights.
Gameplay: Now let’s get into the rest of the modes on offer. A new mode named River survival pits 4 players in a raft with two on each side controlling where to move to navigate obstacles and trying to hit balloons to enter a mini-game which upon completion nets you added time to the clock. The goal is to make it through to the end after passing multiple checkpoints. It’s fun the first time you play but it’s not a mode i would find myself going back to. Also i can’t stand the stupid forced high five mechanic. PLEASE MAKE IT STOP. Next up is probably my favourite new addition ‘Sound Stage’ which pits 4 players in a competition of musical mini-games that require you to time your motions to the beat. These games are really fun and provide some good challenge and competition amongst friends. Next up is Challenge road which is the single player component of Super Mario Party and has you completing certain objectives within the mini games on offer, so rather then completing a mini game like normal, you may have to beat it within a certain time or survive a clock countdown to collecting a certain number of coins or nailing a certain amount of perfect jumps. It’s good to kill some time and can actually provide a decent challenge. Now to the best part of every Mario Party game – the mini games. Selecting the mini game mode from the hub world gives you the option of Free play, to play through any of the 80 brand new mini-games (with a certain amount needing to be unlocked) at your leisure to Mariothon which has you competing in 5 games to see who can rack up the highest score which generally consists of how long you have lasted compared to other players as opposed to just simply winning like in free play. There is also a mini game mode called square off in which the victor of a mini game gets to colour in a square of the grid board with the winner being the player who fills up the most spaces of the 16 square board. There is a little strategy in where you should place your square too to ensure your success, this is a really fun mode. Now for Switch owners that have two consoles and two copies of the game, there is a few mini games you can play by placing two switch consoles together. These are cool little gimmicky games that aren’t worth purchasing a second copy over but a bonus should a friend also have a copy. Now lastly there’s the online Mariothon in which you can go online and compete against players online in the mini games on offer. There is no online mode for the board games and i totally understand why as anyone dropping out would ruin the entire experience, so having this mode is a fun bonus for anyone wanting to play against their friends online or against complete strangers globally.
Sound: Nintendo always nails great music in all of their games and Super Mario Party is no exception. I love all the tunes on offer and boy do they get stuck in your head. I also love the little reactions characters have to certain things when playing on the board, especially Daisy’s WOH! reaction, cracks me up every time. Also Wario is clearly just the coolest and he oozes confidence. Why would you choose anyone else?
Awesomeness: I think the thing most evident that I am going to point out is the fact that their is 80 new mini games on offer with the majority of them being a blast to play. The part i’m still not fond of is the generic board game maps with their lame bonus stars that can make playing strategically seem completely pointless. Now whilst their isn’t a lot of different boards to play, there is enough content packed in to offer players great ways to play and compete against their friends. Having the online mini-game Mariothon also adds longevity to the game for people who don’t have family or friends to share the experience with or even in times when it’s hard to organise a group gathering because at the end of the day, someone is always awake on the other side of the world and willing to play. One last thing I have to address is that everything you do in the game nets you Party Points that you can use to obtain collectibles such as stickers, music and advice (which is pointless) Whilst these do nothing for me, it’s nice to still have them on offer. I would have liked the hidden characters to be available for purchase or maybe some costumes, but hey maybe in the next game.
Even Mario sometimes questions the meaning of life
Final Word: Super Mario Party has rejuvenated my Mario Party experience as I fell off after the 4th title in the series and was never drawn back in until now. While it still retains a lot of what was introduced in the first game, I found enough new stuff to keep me playing and with the online functionality, it means that playing on my lonesome is a thing of the past when i can’t get friends all around at once, because you know, adult life. For anyone on the fence, rest assured, there is a lot of fun to be had with Super Mario Party.
Out of 5 Bugs!