Super Mario Party has arrived on the Nintendo Switch. Thanks to Nintendo we can get ready to get together and play once more. Plenty happened during Super Mario Party review in this latest iteration of board game becomes computer game formula.
Join all the Mario gang in deciding who is the “superhero” of Mario world. Super Mario Party Nintendo Switch features 80 mini-games that utilise the joy-con motion control features. They do this in an absolute whacky and crazy fun way.
Up to 4 players can grab a single Joy-con and take part in the fun. There is also an arcade which grants access to the mini-games. As well as an online mode to compete with other players directly in the mini-game challenges around the world.
How does Super Mario Party Play?
Super Mario Party is all about fun. Take a board game, funky Mario characters and joy-con motion controllers and mash it all up into Super Mario Party. Pick how many characters you want to play with, choose if you want to play as a team or solo and pick a board.
The rest of the game is dice rolls, moving you piece and taking part in one of eighty mini-games that are randomly selected for you.
Where Super Mario Party really shines in different ways that a player is challenged to participate in the mini-games. In a throwback to the era of the days of the Nintendo Wii. Each player will find themselves slipping the wrist strap on and waggling, waving and winding their joycons.
I really enjoyed the way that different mini-games utilised the joy-con motion detection technology. I was either pedalling a bike by rotating the joy-con like pedals or using the joy-con like a hammer to hit rodents popping out of holes. Or running around trying to catch raining popcorn!
As whacky as it sounds the board game element is soon forgotten and the focus is on the mini-games. I should note that to make the most out of Super Mario Party you really need 2 sets of Joy-cons.
Which unless you have already splashed out on the second set could mean extra cost. Super Mario Party doesn’t support Pro Controller either.
Presentation and Graphics
With all Mario games, the cartoon graphical style, comedy voices and Mario world are all part of the appeal. When playing in TV mode Super Mario Party looks great at 1080p.
Likewise in undocked mode graphically Super Mario Party drops to 720p and a similar frame rate. Both playing modes are equally fun and you’re not going to play in handheld mode due to the need to spin your joy-cons around.
Fans of the Mario series will enjoy the interaction with the cast of Mario Land. You can choose who you play on the board games. Each of the 3 boardgames is truly detailed and lavishly drawn with lots to enjoy. I wish all boardgames I have looked this good!
On the performance front its worth noting that I did have some slow down playing online, but I hope that Nintendo will fix this given that the online service is now paid to play!
A few times I felt that my joy-cons seemed to get a bit muddled and I couldn’t quite get them to work the way I wanted in mini-games. It may have been some connectivity issues or that I was rubbish at shaking sweets out of a bottle!
Super Mario Party has several main modes which revolve around different boards and slightly different mechanics on reaching the goal and completing the mini-games.
Mario Party is the standard 4 player mode where you have to roll the dice, cross the board, take part in the mini-games and reach the goal.
There are 3 boards to choose from with different themes and one that I believe is unlockable. The boards feature many different dangers in the shape of the environment Indianan Jones-style rolling balls etc) and other enemies from the world of Mario that are out to get you.
The design layout of each board is relatively simple with branch junctions to all you to choose your path.
If you land on a red square you lose 3 coins, land on a blue square you gain 3 coins. Whilst collecting coins won’t win you the game the main function is to spend the coins on items to enhance your chance of winning.
I chose to purchase items that increased my move allowance but you also use items to make your opponent’s dice rolls suffer too!
Roll the dice and take your chances
Dice rolls and decisions play a major part in Super Mario Party and it is possible to gain assistance from other characters from Mario land via the ‘phone a Buddy” square.
This allows modification to dice rolls and access to other dice that give different possible move scores. If a player lands on a green square a Mini-game is randomly selected for everyone to participate in.
The Mini-games generally come under 3 categories, free-for-all, 1vs3 or 2vs2. There are elements of team games and single player games present too. If you win a Mini-game you’re given more coins!
You can then spend coins on power-ups in game or lose them via poor dice rolls.
The other game modes of river-survival and soundstage bring some of the older Wii game features into play. River-Survival is very reminiscent of the Xbox 360 Connect style game where you have to work as a group of 4 paddling your boat down a river.
You need to steer it into coins and balloons to activate the mini-games gain more time. If you run out of time your game ends, it’s that simple. River-Survival is really fun and you will find that in 4 player mode it’s hilarious as you need to coordinate your joy-con paddling like in a real boat!
Soundstage is very similar to the Wii-fit mini-games that required you to move to a rhythm and make a shape or mimic a motion. If you have played 1-2 Switch you will recognise some of the similarity.
Soundstage literally puts you on a stage with 3 other opponents and makes you perform. Whilst this mode is fun it will probably appeal to those who like to be more active than the others who play board games.
I enjoyed a baseball style hitting and pitching game, a rodent whacking game just to name a few games.
Additional features – Toads Rec Room and Online Marathon modes
Toad’s Rec Room features a particularly unique feature of the game that allows you to place your Switch flat on a table (like a board game) next to a friends Switch and take part in some 4 player games.
Toad’s Rec Room has 4 mini-games that are unique to the mode. Putting aside the obvious fact that you will need a cooperative friend who owns a Switch or deep pockets to own two to participate in this mode.
I wasn’t able to try out this mode during the review. However the videos online that I’ve seen either fit into the gimmicky nature of Nintendo Gaming or just plain clever.
The 4 mini-games vary from repositioning the 2 systems to connect bananas, to a full game of baseball, a shell shooting game and a puzzle game. Whilst this feature isn’t essential to Super Mario Party, I consider it more of tech demo showing off a cool feature of the hardware.
Online Marathon mode is the online part of Super Mario Party and anyone who familiar with Mario Kart Online will recognise the similarity is voting and selected the game to play.
You are connected with other players online and take part in the challenge of each Mini-game, with leaderboards. if you play against random opponents you get a random pick of 5 mini-games, if you play with friends you can choose.
I enjoyed this mode but did find that the fun of the game tended to be dictated by the internet speed of your opponents. At one point a game of collecting popcorn in cups ground to an almost stop becoming unplayable.
If a disconnect occurs the game then restarts, which then resulted in the same happening again. I hope these are teething problems and can be solved as Nintendo are now charging for an online game service!
Should You Play Super Mario Party?
Super Mario Party is as much fun as you make it. I have played a lot of online with friends and local with family and it has been a hoot. There are shortcomings in terms of limited content, but Nintendo is always releasing DLC?
Online needs some work to iron out the connectivity issues, which I’m sure will come with time. For a couch family or friends game on Saturday night Super Mario Party will stop you arguing about whos gonna be the shoe in Monopoly!
Overall I really enjoyed playing Super Mario Party and I honestly feel that it will be a game that I continue to play with my friends and family. It’s also a game that I will showcase to people who haven’t seen the Nintendo Switch as it’s got an instant appeal and great access to any person.
Gamers who will suit this game…
Gamers who like small, short fun mini-games will enjoy Super Mario Party. If you are a fan of 1-2 Switch and prior Mario Party games on older Nintendo consoles you will enjoy this game.
Gamers looking for an online boardgame to play with friends will not be happy with the lack of proper online boardgame mode. The mini-games may not suit all and can become very repetitive due to the limited number in online mode.
|The Good||The Bad||The Bugs|
|Perfect party game||Only 3 tables||Frame Rate issues|
|Lots of new mini-games||joy-con only controls||Online lag|
|Multiplayer couch mode is fun||Online has limited games||some problems with joy-con synching|
|Lots of charm|
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About Super Mario Party Review
Game Reviewed: Super Mario Party digital edition, provided by the publisher.
Review Format: Nintendo Switch
PEGI Rating: 3