Reviews - Updated on April 11, 2022

Relevant for platform: NSW

In the first year and a half of its life, Switch Nintendo managed to release and publish exclusives in almost all popular genres: there are platformers on the console, and JRPGs of the “old school”, and an adventure in the open world, and racing, and even a fighting game. The only thing missing was a game for a group of friends – not Mario Kart 8 with its split-screen mode, but a set of cool mini-games with different modes. 1-2-Switch somehow coped with this task, but its price is still too high, and the content in it is of dubious quality. But now there is Super Mario Party – cheerful, bright and capable of making even the most gloomy laugh, but at the same time not without flaws.

Call everyone

Here, the modes are designed for a variety of players: there is a board game for four participants competing with each other, there is another version of it with two teams of two people, there is a cooperative mode in which everyone needs to work together. So it doesn’t matter at all whether experienced gamers have gathered at your place or full of clumsiness – if someone is upset because of defeats in the “tabletop”, you can go swimming in an inflatable boat and try to get to the finish line with him. Or launch a mode with musical mini-games, where it is important to move and wave your arms in time, and not press the buttons.

The main mode is precisely the board game Mario Party, which offers versions with 10, 15 or 20 moves – the shortest will take about an hour, and the longest can take two. Unfortunately, there are only four fields in it – if your company does not like some of them, you will have to have fun on only one or two. This disadvantage is compensated by the size of each field and periodically changing conditions (like moving walls in ruins), but still, I would like to hope that the developers plan to add bonus content in the future.

To win Mario Party, you need to collect as many stars as possible before the end of the game. They can be obtained in exchange for 10 coins from Toadette if you walk next to her, after which she will fly away on balloons to another place. And along the way, anything can happen – no matter what cell the character stops at, something will happen to him. Either he will end up on the blue circle and earn extra coins, or he will stand on the red one and lose them. A cell with an exclamation mark triggers a special event – on the second field, for example, five clicks will lead to an explosion that takes away half the coins from everyone standing next to the central bomb.

Super Mario Party game review

In many mini-games, hand movements are read, and I had no problems with this.

One of the most interesting features is associated with cells that give the player a random partner. Mario, Luigi, Boo, Bowser – they are useful for two reasons at once. First, you won’t roll the die alone anymore – computer-controlled characters will also start doing it, although in such cases, very small numbers are written on the faces of their dice. But even if the companion rolls one, you will take one more step – the numbers are summed up. You will also receive their unique dice as a gift and will be able to choose between standard, own and someone else’s. Someone has five faces with ones and twos, but one with ten. And someone has four large numbers, but two faces can deprive you of coins and not budge you.

It may seem that this mode is full of random events, and it really is. In some cells, the player is given a “random” item – it can be a golden pipe that teleports closer to the star, or a golden mushroom that adds five steps to the number rolled on the die. If you stand on the so-called “field of bad luck”, you have to take part in roulette: you will either lose some of the coins, or give them to your opponent, or increase the cost of Toadette’s star – there are many options. Do not forget about the shops where the same mushrooms and pipes are sold for coins, as well as the opportunity to steal currency from rivals for free and even steal stars, although you will have to fork out a rather large amount for them.

Coins can be earned in a variety of mini-games that are triggered at the end of each turn, and Super Mario Party is great for that. There are completely idiotic fun that ends almost instantly and will seem stupid even to “casual” players, but most often there are really original mini-games. For example, in “Get in the Frame” you are transported to a small arena and have to run up to each photographer so as to be in the very center of the picture. The shots are hilariously funny, and the ability to push opponents back leads to unexpected results. Sometimes all participants compete with each other, and sometimes one has to fight with three players.

Super Mario Party game review

In the “Team game”, the moves are made by both participants, who may be at different ends of the field.

Who wins has fun

The problem with Mario Party mode is that an inexperienced player will quickly get bored. He will have to rely solely on luck, and in many mini-games he simply will not keep up with the others. The lagging behind either should be lucky, or it is desirable for him to take first places everywhere and always in order to save money and steal stars from competitors. And this is not always possible to do, unless, of course, his good friends will not succumb to him. Bonus stars are also given out at the very end, choosing those who have collected the most companions along the way or traveled the longest distance. But even here you have to rely on luck. But those who have been playing games for more than a year will get great pleasure (and make new enemies, of course) – you never know what cunning plans an opponent has in his inventory of a mountain of coins and several golden pipes.

This mode has a cooperative version of “Team Play” – it also has four fields and the same scenery, but the maps look a little different. And all due to the fact that you can move here in any direction. Therefore, there are no special cells with random companions – they stand in certain zones, and if you wish, you can get to anyone on your own. You roll the dice together with your friend, after which the numbers are summed up, and then you can take steps. You still need to collect stars to win, but now you can’t steal them and make purchases in stores. This two-on-two mode seems more interesting than the usual one, due to more control over actions – yes, there are hidden fields of bad luck, but these are trifles.

And the most fun was the “Risky Rafting” mode – at least when we played it with the whole company, we constantly laughed either because of problems with coordinating our actions, or because of funny mini-games. Together with your friends you go on a river trip in an inflatable boat and you have to reach the finish line within a certain time. Joycons transform into paddles while swimming, and hot air balloons are often encountered along the way, triggering mini-games when hit. Short entertainments require teamwork: you have to consistently carry a huge ball one after another, trying not to fall into the abyss, help the penguins return to the corral, light candles in a dark room. It is a pity that there are few mini-games in this mode – they can start to be repeated within the same adventure.

Super Mario Party game review

Before each mini-game, a training session with detailed explanations is available.

There is also other content in Super Mario Party, but it either gets boring quickly or will not be available to everyone. The Rhythm and Beat mode, for example, consists of dance entertainment based entirely on joycon swinging. At some point you are asked to mimic Waluigi’s moves, who is clearly a much better dancer than me and my comrades, and while this may be hilarious the first time around, this is a part you’ll want to skip later on. Toad’s playroom consists of mini-games that require you to put your Switch on the table: baseball, tank battles, a collect Mario characters puzzle, and another game that requires as many as two consoles. Entertainment is not bad, but either inconvenient or impassable without an extra Switch.

It is impossible not to mention the online component, which Nintendo seems to have remembered at the very last moment. If you were hoping to play traditional modes with friends online, you can forget about it: the entire multiplayer is ten not the best mini-games, which, in addition, will lag terribly if at least one of the participants has a bad connection. Mario Party, Rhythm and Beat, and Risky Rafting do not work online. It is clear that with random players, the same “table” would be a nightmare with opponents slowed down or coming out in the middle of the match. But it was possible to allow at least to play with friends, communicating through a mobile application with voice chat! We will most likely see this only in the next generation, and even after it – this is not the first time that Nintendo has had problems with the online component.

Super Mario Party game review

One of the most fun mini-games ever.

***

Super Mario Party isn’t a must-buy for Switch, especially if you’re used to playing everything solo. Although the vast majority of modes can be played solo (and even choose the difficulty level of opponents), there will be much more fun and funny moments with live opponents. It is enough to invite at least one friend, and the game will be completely transformed. The number of fields will still be scanty, and mini-games will still begin to repeat, but many of them are so exciting and humorous that you often even rejoice at their next appearance. If the developers plan to add more content in the coming months, it will be generally great.

Pros: exciting modes for every taste; simple and funny mini-games, understandable to any participant; a large selection of characters with unique cubes in the “table”; companions in Mario Party proved to be a great innovation.

Cons: too few fields in the “table” and too many “random” in it; mini-games begin to repeat after a couple of sessions; there is practically nothing to play on the web.

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