Super Mario Party full review
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Mario Party is back and it's gone Super with a raft of new modes, characters and features. Oh, and plenty of mini games to shake your Joy-Con at. Find out if the latest in the board game franchise is worth it in our full review.
We've been big fans of the Mario Party games here at Tech Advisor. Over the years, they've brought copious amounts of joy and laughter and have been accessible to players of all ages and experience. This is exactly what Nintendo does so well, so it's great to have a new version for the popular Switch.
The franchise has been around since 1998 and this is the first on a full console since Mario Party 10 on the Wii U in 2015.
Super Mario Party expands on previous games in the series by offering far more than just the traditional board game mode. In this edition, there's almost too much to explore and get your head round but we'd rather that than a game that quickly gets old and dull.
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You can play the classic Mario Party mode with up to four players locally each with a Joy-Con and battle it out to collect the most stars. It's the other modes that will keep you coming back to the game, avoiding the possibility of quickly arriving at boredom.
For starters you can play Partner Party, which is the classic style but 2v2, meaning you can play with a set team for the entire game. This is particularly helpful if you want to play with a friend against two AI players.
The board also switches into free movement a bit like Mario + Rabbids so you need to plan a route - there's more strategy involved.
There's also the less competitive River Survival, a good shout for families who want to play together. It's co-op white water rafting and instead of being a game in itself (you use the Joy-Con to paddle), you pop balloons as you go down the river to play mini games. The river splits multiple times so you can go a different route each time.
These games are different to the ones from the main board and will see you working together to get the highest grade possible, and therefore more time on the clock when you return to the river. Our only complaint here is that there are not enough mini games so you'll end up playing some twice.
In the main game, there are 80 new mini games with the usual selection of all-vs-all, 2v2 and 1v3. Some use regular controls like the joystick and buttons, while others use the motion sensors and the HD Rumble, too.
As you'd expect from that many mini games, some are brilliant and hilarious while others are a bit basic and boring. You'll find your favourites.
If you just want to play mini games without the hassle and time needed when adding the board element. You can just play them individually, in a 'Mariothon' of five, or as part of a territory-stealing game called Square Off.
For the first time ever, a Mario Party has an online mode. It's called Online Mariothon and allows you to compete against other players around the world. Here mini games are grouped into cups, like tracks are in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
The downside to this, now, is that you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to play this mode.
You probably thought that would be it but there's more thing to do in Super Mario Party.
We particularly like Sound Stage which you might think is a sort of Mario version of Just Dance, and it sort of it in one section, while others are more akin to Guitar Hero. You'll play various rhythm mini games, from horse riding to window cleaning, that require you to do different motions with the Joy-Con in time to the music. It's fast paced and loads of fun.
After you've played enough, some pipes will be unblocked by Kamek so you can head to Toad's Rec Room to play a bunch more games. These can be played in various modes (as in the way the Switch doesn't have to be played on a TV) and interestingly some can be played across two Switch screens when you lie them down next to each other. We haven't been able to try this with only one console and copy of the game but it looks pretty cool.
Another pipe will take you to a seemingly empty room. Here you can apply stickers you've collected to various posters. You could call this depth and perhaps some players will enjoy collecting them all, but we got bored of this after one try.
There's more to discover but we're not at liberty to say what else the game has in store. However, now we've covered all the modes we can talk a bit about the boards and characters finally.
There are 20 characters to choose from with four needing to be unlocked. You can choose from all the classics with new additions including Goomba and Monty Mole. Interestingly, each has a unique Dice Block and in the board game modes, you can choose whether to use a regular Dice Block or their own.
Some have sides with coins instead of numbers, and those with higher numbers available will have more risky side like rolling a zero or even negative. Gaining allies as you go round the board gains you access to their dice, as well as a bonus roll each turn.
A Party Pad, effectively an in-game tablet, will guide you should you need help. It'll show you the map of the Plaza, explaining the different game modes, as well as acting as a sort of game manual with advice.
Slightly oddly, though, you'll need to collect Party Points by playing to buy bits of advice as well as stickers. Completing each mode will get you gems, too, which is the ultimate aim of the game.
The last thing we have to add is quite important and it's a bit of a head scratcher. Super Mario Party is a board game, yet it only has four different boards on which to play – and one of those is behind a question mark.
Whomp's Domino Ruins, King Bob-omb's Powderkeh mine, Megafruit Paradise and the mystery board just isn't enough variety for a game that relies heavily on the boards, despite having other modes that don't use one.
This doesn't help with longevity and although we're sure Nintendo will add more with future DLC, it's a shame that there simply aren't more at launch.
We love Mario Party games and Super Mario Party is no different. It's a formula that continues to work, creating a fun and joyous game that anyone can play.
While this might be a game you typically play for a bit before getting bored (excuse the pun), then only dust off at Christmas, Nintendo has added a lot of content to give you plenty of reasons to keep coming back.
The online mode will particularly help in this regard and we like the other options like Toad's Rec Room and Sound Stage.
We're just somewhat by the lack of boards available, as if Nintendo forgot Mario Party relied on them. So please make some more, quickly.
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