The Mario Party series is 23 years old and has had many highs and lows. Its highs have been some of the best times I’ve ever had playing local multiplayer games with my friends and its lows were… well, almost the opposite. Mario Party Superstars celebrates the best moments of this long-running franchise. It combines 100 of the most fun minigames and five of the best boards from the original Mario Party games. Although it’s not the most fun Mario Party game, there are still some great minigames like Vex 7.
2018’s Super Mario Party was a “back-to-basics” shift in the series. Mario Party Superstars takes that idea a step further, focusing on the N64/early GameCube days. There are no minigames that can be controlled by motion, no item capsules or character-specific custom dice blocks. Also, there is no party car. There are only four players. Each player takes turns rolling the dice and moving along a virtual board. They also play minigames to earn coins. Stars can be bought with those coins. It’s been a while since we had Mario Party without any extra gimmick. But this simplicity is so refreshing and I didn’t miss the opportunity to play minigames to earn coins.
The five boards are among the most well-designed in Mario Party history. Yoshi’s Tropical Island, a great starter board, has a simple layout and fun twist that involves star marker swapping between the islands. It’s sure you’ll have heartbreak and joy among your friends. Space Land, on the other hand, is my go-to board for pure virtual board games. Peach’s Birthday Cake is another great option. It keeps the star in one place and allows you to plant coins or steal star-stealing plants. Woody Woods is fun because you have to think ahead and can use King Boo to steal star from any player. If you get a Skeleton Key, 150 coins and can reach him during the night, Horror Land is also a favorite. This is a crazy hail Mary win situation to try for but it can be done well and it will make a memorable story that you and your friends will never forget.
NdCube, the developer, has done an amazing job of updating both the sounds and looks of these boards to current standards. The character models look almost identical to those in Super Mario Party three year ago. However, the remade boards have incredible detail. Peach’s Birthday Cake is a standout due to the delicious and hyper-realistic snacks that line the cake’s path. It’s also important to note that all the boards have undergone dramatic visual transformations. Not only has the board and almost all the minigames been remade, but each song they accompany has received new instrumental arrangements. The Data House allows you to unlock songs and listen to both the old and new versions. This is great as the N64 songs are still very popular, but the modernized versions are better.
Mario Party Superstars offers more than just an assortment of classic boards and minigames. It is a complete return back to form for the Mario Party Series. The mix of modern and classic minigames is excellent, with some exceptions. Although it could use one more board and the 1v3 balance is not the best, the solid online play makes this the best Mario Party in at least a decade.