Mario Party is back, and this time it’s leaning on your nostalgia harder than ever. Here are the key things you need to know about Mario And Friends’ latest adventures in Mario Party Superstars.
What Is Mario Party Superstars?
In case you have somehow remained untouched by the power of Mario Party, it’s a digital board game on Nintendo Switch for up to four players with plenty of mini-games. This particular iteration has leaned hard on the Nintendo Mario Party catalogue and is a mash up of a bunch of boards and mini-games from the Nintendo 64 era, but with cleaner graphics.
Games on the game boards take between 30 to 100 minutes depending on how many turns you choose to do, your skill, intensity, and motivation to get through it quickly. Each player will have one turn each, followed by a randomly selected mini-game. There are so many mini-games that you’re unlikely to get too many repeats unless you play a lot. The winner is the player who collects the most stars and, in the case of a tie, coins. Players needs to collect coins on their way around the board to exchange for stars (around 20 coins per star).
If you’re not up for such a long commitment, or don’t want to rely quite so much on chance, you can just play the mini-games at Mini-Game Mountain, in a variety of configurations, including solo. Most mini-games take less than a minute, but some can take much, much longer if neither of you lose. We had a game of Stick and Spin that went for more than 20 minutes, just because neither of us would give up, and the difficulty didn’t increase quickly enough. If you get Stick and Spin, prepare for one of you to yield, lest you spend the rest of your natural life playing it to the grating sounds of carnival music.
What’s Special About This One?
There are two really great things about Mario Party Superstars:
- It’s a combination of all the most loved boards and modes from the N64 era.
- Unlike Super Mario Party you can use button controls on the Pro Controller or Switch Lite instead of having to live by Joy Con alone.
There is 100 ‘best of’ N64 mini-games, and more freedom to choose which kind you’re in the mood for. There’s also stickers that you can unlock with coins, so you can express your emotions through the power of sticker during key moments.
There are five boards to choose from in Mario Party Superstars, rated from 1-5 stars in terms of official difficulty:
- Yoshi’s Tropical Island is technically the easiest and most straightforward. Everything’s fruit-themed and there aren’t too many twists and turns to get lost in. There’s just the two star locations, so you can decide if you want to stay on the left side or right side of the island and still get a recent number of stars. If you want to mix things up, there are multiple opportunities to buy Warp Bricks and Triple Dice items so you can more easily travel between the two — just don’t forget that you’ll need to pay the Thwomps a fee each time you pass.
- Space Land is a space station with dividing paths and branches, so it can get a little confusing to find the best path to get to the eight different star locations. In the centre is a giant countdown that starts at 5 and works its way down to zero whenever it’s crossed. When it hits zero, Bowser fires a beam that steals all the coins of everyone in its path. Nasty. There’s also an event space where a Snifit Patrol will chase any poor souls in their path back to the nearest exit.
- Peach’s Birthday Cake. Technically this is supposed to be the third most challenging board, but I actually find it to be the most straight forward and easy of all the boards. The star doesn’t move, and the path to get to it is reasonably simple. The main catch is the “strawberry” spaces, where players have the option to pay 5 coins to plant a Piranha Plant that steals coins, or 30 coins for one that steals stars. The other catch is that if you pass the Goomba on your way off the top tier of the cake, you must choose a seed, that will either do nothing, or send you on a shortcut back to the star (but also send you past Bowser, who might steal 20 coins).
- Woody Woods is a forest designed to get you lost. The star can show up at nine different spots, and there are three paths that randomly change direction at each turn and when you land on an event space. There is also a nice tree that giveth and a mean tree that taeketh away. On this board, items like Chomp Calls (which change the location of the star) and Golden Pipes (which move you next to the star) are well worth stocking up on whenever you have the opportunity.
- Horror Land is a board where it changes from day to night every second turn, and certain things can only happen during the day or night. This is a board where you want to get as many coins as possible so you can use a skeleton key to access King Boo, pay 150 coins, and steal a star from each opponent at night. There are also regular Boos that allow you to steal coins or a star from one player, for a price. Whomps can only move during the day, so be careful of getting stuck on your path. There are seven star spots on this board, and it’s considered to be the most complex.
Playable Characters in Mario Party Superstars
There are only 10 playable characters in this game. But it does include the reappearance of Birdo, who is famously the first transgender character in video games, so that’s nice. There is no difference between how the characters play (unlike the different dice blocks that made Super Mario Party so interesting), they just look different. They’re all unlocked from the beginning, so you don’t need to worry about faffing about before you can access your favourite.
The playable characters are: