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Mario Party Superstars Review

Verdict

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Mario Party Superstars is an enjoyable ‘Best Hits’ collection of the series, including 100 classic mini games and 5 boards that all feel distinctive. But with the lack of modern features such as co-op play and motion controls, it’s clear this entry is prioritising nostalgia over innovation.

Pros

  • Superb selection of classic mini games
  • Each board features a unique quirk
  • Fantastic customisation options
  • Impressive updated visuals

Cons

  • A little boring to play in solo mode
  • Lacks modern features such as co-op play
  • Certain items feel overpowered
  • No motion-control mini games

Availability

  • UKRRP: £49.99
  • USARRP: $59.99

Key Features

  • Supports 1-4 multiplayer:Can play both local and online multiplayer with friends.
  • Supports the Nintendo Switch Pro controllerSince motion controls aren’t supported, you can use both Switch Pro controllers and Joy-Cons.

Introduction

Nintendo has launched countless iterations of its Mario Party series, which adopts the format of a classic board game while adding in lots of delightful Mario-themed mini games. But there’s always been one common criticism with the latest entries: they’re just not as good as the N64 classics. 

Looking to put an end to such criticism, Nintendo has repackaged some of the classic boards from the N64 era into the new Mario Party Superstars game on Switch, while also incorporating 100 of the very best mini games from the series’ history. It’s essentially the equivalent of a ‘Greatest Hits’ album. 

Nintendo has updated the visuals to modern standards, while also adding in an impressive number of customisation options so you can set your own rules. There are also new online features and an optional game mode that lets you cut out the board game antics and focus solely on the mini game action. But are these features enough to bring Mario Party back into its prime? 

Board game

  • Core gameplay is the same as original Mario Party
  • Features five boards from N64 era
  • Great customisation options

Anyone who’s played a previous Mario Party game should know the drill here, as Superstars sticks faithfully to the blueprint set out in the late ‘90s. You roll a dice to traverse around an interactive board, competing with rivals to collect as many coins and stars as possible. 

Superstars features five boards from the N64 era, all beautifully remastered for the Nintendo Switch. Each board has a unique quirk that makes it feel distinctive, whether it’s the constantly changing routes in Woody Woods, or the day and night cycle in Horror Land that can change the function of board spaces. 

Woody Woods board

I enjoyed every board I played, although the likes of Space Land and Horror Land certainly packed in more interesting features than the more beginner-friendly Yoshi’s Tropical Island.

I’m also disappointed that there are only five boards on offer here, which feels stingy for a full-priced Switch game. 

You can choose from 10 different characters, from Mario to Birdo, but they only have aesthetic differences. Super Mario Party featured a bit more replayability with optional character-specific dice, so Superstars feels like a step back with this omission and its focus on providing a hit of nostalgia instead of any fresh ideas. 

Mario Party Superstars

I was also disappointed to see there’s no Partner Play in Superstars, which allows you to pair up in teams of two. But co-op play would have likely forced Nintendo to introduce additional boards, so it’s understandable that this feature didn’t make the cut. 

As with many board games, success in Superstars largely comes down to luck. You can amass as many coins as Scrooge McDuck has in his vault if you’re talented in the mini games, but that still won’t guarantee you success if you’re unlucky with the dice rolls. 

With that in mind, Mario Party is best thought of as a multiplayer game rather than something you should play alone. You can play with up to three CPU rivals, but seeing them roll a 10 on the dice or uncover a hidden block is just frustrating – it’s more forgivable if a friend or family member benefits from such fortune, allowing everyone a chance of victory regardless of their skill level. 

Mario Party Superstars

Items can also provide a big advantage, with triple dice allowing you to reach the other side of a board in a single turn, and the Warp Block making you swap places with a random opponent. 

However, I do feel that some items are overpowered and all too easy to purchase. The Golden Pipe can be purchased for just 25 coins, and warps you right to a star. If you’re able to purchase this item multiple times in one game, then you’ve got a fantastic chance of winning. 

Once you’ve finished the game, additional stars will also be distributed to players using random metrics, such as the number of times you landed on a Bowser Space or the quantity of items you purchased. Such randomness adds some chaos and tension for the final count, but it can also be incredibly frustrating if you’re thwarted last minute. 

Mario Party Superstars

Fortunately, developer NDcube has added in lots of fantastic customisation options so you can switch off these random star prizes if you wish. You can also select what kind of mini games will appear, whether they’re skill-based, family-focussed or from a specific era. It’s a great way to cater the game to a specific audience, while also making repeat visits to a board feel fresh. 

You can also decide how many rounds you want to play, and even add in additional rounds midway through a game if you don’t want the fun to stop. We all know that board games can drag after a while, so it’s good to see you don’t have to commit to a specific length. 

Mini games 

  • Features 100 classic mini games
  • Both 2v2 and 3v1 games available
  • No motion control support

Mario Party Superstars features a whopping 100 mini games. That’s a big jump up from the 80 games on offer with Super Mario Party. 

There aren’t any new mini games here, with Nintendo instead cherry picking the very best from previous Mario Party entries, including the original on N64 all the way up to Mario Party 10 on the Wii U. This ensures a consistent high quality, but may also put off Mario Party veterans who don’t fancy revisiting old games. 

Mario Party Superstars

There’s a superb selection here, ranging from skill-based games that require speedy reactions or clever tactics, to laugh-out-loud scenarios that anyone can win.

Every level has been upgraded with the new visuals too, so you won’t be able to tell which console generation each mini game originated from by looks alone. 

Nintendo has also included some 2v2 and 3v1 mini games, which refreshingly change the dynamics of the face-offs. But when playing alone, I didn’t enjoy working with the AI – it either eliminated the challenge of coordination, or proved an impossible task without the ability to communicate. 

Mario Party Superstars

Nintendo clearly knows that the mini games are Superstar’s greatest strength, and has so added in a game mode called Mt. Minigames, where you can hop into any bitesize game you like or even compete for high scores with people online. It’s a nice addition, but playing multiple mini games in a row exposes how short and simple they are without the slower pacing and wider context of the board game. 

Superstars sadly doesn’t feature any game that uses motion controls, which is a pity since they would have further increased the versatility of the roster. On the plus side, this means you’re able to use the Nintendo Switch Pro controllers, which is a massive boon since it’s always a bit of an issue finding enough gamepads when playing in a group. 

Multiplayer and collectables 

  • Lots of online multiplayer options
  • Gained coins can be spent on new stickers

Nintendo has tried to cram in as many multiplayer features as possible, allowing you to compete with both friends and strangers in the core Mario Party mode.

It’s a great option to have, but I personally don’t think online strangers are a worthy substitute for playing with a group of friends, as half of the fun is laughing at your pal’s misfortune or crying in despair when your sibling snatches a star from your grasp. 

Stickers have been added to Superstars to allow you to communicate with other players without using voice chat. You could send a celebratory ‘Yay’ with Yoshi’s face stamped on after you’ve won a mini game, or a sticker of Bowser doing an evil laugh if you just used a Boo to steal someone’s star. You can even unlock more stickers to use by spending the coins you earn while playing Mario Party. 

However, these stickers can arguably get annoying quickly if another player starts spamming the feature. The stickers will pop up on your screen, and can sometimes even block important text on the board. I can see that becoming a frustrating issue with online multiplayer. 

Survival mode

I can see Mt Minigames being the best avenue for online multiplayer, with the likes of Survival allowing you to compete with players for hot streaks and Daily Challenges offering an incentive to return each day.

I don’t think there’s quite enough content to keep players hooked long-term like with Splatoon or Mario Kart, but they’re enjoyable distractions if you’re waiting for your group of friends to arrive for couch play. 

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Should you buy it?

If you want a game to play with a big group: Mario Party Superstars is best played with a group of friends or family members, with up to 4 players at a time.

You want a game to play solo:
It’s perfectly possible to play this game alone, with the CPU taking over rivals, but it’s nowhere near as fun when played this way.

Final Thoughts

Mario Party Superstars is an enjoyable package of some of the very best mini games in the series’ history. Like with most Mario Party games, it’s best played with a group of friends as the CPU simply isn’t that fun to play with, and relies too much on randomness in order for it to be hugely enjoyable when playing against strangers online.

You could make the case that Superstars feels like a backwards step for the Mario Party series with the limited number of boards, lack of character-specific features and omission of motion-control mini games, but it’s still a hugely enjoyable experience when playing in a large group with friends and family. 

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We play every game we review through to the end, outside of certain exceptions where getting 100% completion, like Skyrim, is close to impossible to do. When we don’t fully finish a game before reviewing it we will always alert the reader.

Played every available game mode

Tested on Nintendo Switch OLED

FAQs

Is Mario Party Superstars a remake?

Not exactly. It features remastered boards and mini games, but also has a new Mt. Minigames mode and additional online multiplayer options.

Can you play Mario Party Superstars on Switch Lite?

Yes, you can play Superstars on any of the Nintendo Switch consoles, including Switch Lite and Switch OLED.

Can you play Mario Party Superstars online?

Yes, Superstars allows you to play both the Mario Party and Mt. Minigames modes online. But you will need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription.

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