Games in the Mario Party series are some of the best entertainment for a group of friends and family gatherings. If earlier the developers tried to bring something new to the series (not always successfully), then Mario Party Superstars is a kind of collection of the best hits. It recreated five maps from the Nintendo 64 era and selected over a hundred minigames from all that ever appeared in Mario Party . For an audience that has been familiar with the series for a long time, this is an opportunity to make a nostalgic tear, and for new players it is fun fun, in which you can spend time with anyone. Including with yourself – thanks to the adequate online component.
Chasing the stars
The essence of Mario Party has not changed. Players enter the field, roll dice and move from one cell to another. The goal is to collect as many stars as possible by the end of the game, the location of which changes every time. To buy them, you need to save coins, and they fall out on certain cells (but they can be taken somewhere) and are earned in mini-games – they are launched after all participants have made a move.
Since Superstars is based on the re-creation of old content, you should not expect innovations from it. If in the recent Super Mario Party the authors made unique cubes for each character, then there is no difference between the heroes. Otherwise, the game has no distinctive features – despite the fact that this is a Nintendo Switch exclusive, none of the mini-games here even support swing control. In a sense, this is a plus – now Nintendo Switch Lite owners can play.
As before, it not only explains the rules of the mini-games, but also gives you some practice before starting.
The fields have not changed. From the first Mario Party they took “Yoshi Tropical Archipelago” with two islands and “Peach Birthday Cake”. From the sequel – “Orbital Station” and “Land of Fear”, where day gives way to night. Well, from the third part – only “Dense Forest”. The cards are really great and are suitable for different categories of players. The archipelago, for example, will be understandable for children and beginners in games, and with more experienced gamers, you can immediately go to the “Land of Fear”.
At the same time, the fields are still not enough. The set is not as modest as in Super Mario Party , where there were only four of them, but there they were at least invented from scratch. Here, they just recreated the existing maps – they would add another one from the third part, and that would be the very thing. You shouldn’t hope for content updates – despite the great popularity of the last game, nothing new has appeared in it for three years. But the existing fields look wonderful – when you launch them in single-player mode and look at the descriptions, you can look at the footage from the Nintendo 64, and the difference in graphics and variety of colors becomes obvious.
As in the original, “Land of Fear” looks different at night than during the day.
Everyone is welcome here
It’s great that Superstars has very flexible party settings. For opponents controlled by artificial intelligence, the difficulty is selected, the number of moves can be set from 10 to 30. At the end of the match, bonus stars are given for random merit: the largest number of collected coins, the least number of cells passed, a reward for the most frequent hits on cells with events, and so on. Further. But bonuses can be completely disabled in the settings. Or, on the contrary, you can sprinkle several stars (up to five) to some participant even before the start of the game.
You can also refuse some of the mini-games. They are categorized into family, action, and challenging. If you’re only interested in entertainment with the Nintendo 64 or GameCube, there are options too. I would not say that some fun here is especially difficult for inept players – the controls in all are elementary, and the conditions are clear, especially if you leave the training screens on before starting the mini-games. The entertainment is really excellent: both for attentiveness, and for speed, and for the ability to predict the actions of opponents. Several mini-games require you to quickly twist the stick, which in the case of fragile “joycones” does not really want to do, but there is not so much of that.
I recommend collectively skipping the tug-of-war to keep the sticks intact.
There is also a “Mountain of mini-games” mode – for those who are more interested in these short entertainments than walking on maps. There are even more categories there: you can choose between two by two and one by three fun, a playlist with competitive games, with knockout games, and so on. It also hosts the multiplayer Challenge of the Day – a daily changing set of entertainment, in which mini-games are also divided by theme.
One of the playlists offered to win three mini-games where you play alone against three opponents.
If there are no friends, it doesn’t matter
Fortunately, this is not the only multiplayer mode. One of the main drawbacks of Super Mario Party was that only a tiny set of mini-games could be played with other users on the Internet. A couple of years later, a patch was released with normal multiplayer, but it was not perfect either due to the lack of matchmaking. This time, Nintendo heard the requests and added a human online – right after launching the game, you are asked if you are going to play alone or connect to the Internet.
If you choose the latter, then when you go to the menu with the “board” you will be able to search for people and participate in multiplayer parties, playing by the same rules as in the solo mode. Of course, sooner or later someone “falls off” (in my case, all the participants never reached the end), and in this case the game replaces the left user with a bot. He makes moves quickly, thinks a little, so that does not spoil the match much – and in some cases it becomes even better. But if you come across a two-on-two mini-game and are not lucky enough to be on the same team with the bot, you will hardly be able to win.
Bad luck, bad luck …
What Superstars lacks is a good progression system that would be especially useful for solo players. For participating in matches and winning, you get coins that are spent in the Toad store, but the goods there are so-so. There are stickers – emotions that are used instead of a full-fledged text chat, but the starter kit is also enough. The data about the characters and games does not contain anything interesting. Colors for the player’s card and music, too, there is no desire to buy. The simplest solution would be to make unlockable playable characters, but there are none – all ten can be chosen from the very beginning.
Mario Party Superstars is probably not a new game in the series, but a bridge between Super Mario Party and the next part, in which the developers will again try to shake up the familiar formula and diversify the gameplay. As a greatest hits collection, it is very good – both the cards are great and the mini-games are funny. And the presence of a normal multiplayer makes the novelty more attractive for singles than the previous game. But with familiar people she is especially beautiful – in a friendly company Superstars seem like an indispensable entertainment.
Pros: Five classic cards that have stood the test of time; more than a hundred carefully selected mini-games, among which there are almost no unsuccessful ones; simple and straightforward gameplay available for any category of players; flexible batch settings; a separate mode for those who are interested in mini-games more than anything else; finally a normal multiplayer.
Cons: not enough fields, given that all the available ones are created on the basis of old maps; lack of significant innovation; not a very attractive progress system.