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Super Mario Party

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 17 - 2018

There ain’t no party like a Mario Party.

For all of the Breath of the Wilds, Dooms and Smash Bros’, Nintendo still want their Switch console to be the place to go for a party, and when Nintendo do a party, it has to be a Super Mario Party. Compete against friends and be constantly forced to high five them, all in the name of family fun.

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For those party poopers that have never indulged in a Mario Party before, and there have been quite a few of them across the various Nintendo consoles over the years, the main focus is on playing a board game which will involve a selection of silly mini games. Playable by up to four players, each of whom can choose their very own character from the Mario universe to represent them on the board, players will roll a dice and move that number of spaces on the board. The goal, rather than reaching the end, is to collect the most stars, and players have to reach a certain space on the board to get a star, at which point the star buying will move to another space. Adding more complication than just having to reach a certain space, players have to buy the actual star using coins, which can be gained from a variety of different places.

Which is where the mini games come in. After every player has had their move, a mini game will begin, offering more coins to the winner than the loser. Collecting as many of these coins as possible is essential to being successful in Super Mario Party, not just for buying stars, but also because it is quite easy to lose them. The board can have certain special spaces that can cause a player to lose coins, or to gain them, and other spaces can allow rival players to steal coins. To be honest, it can be quite ruthless, and still players are expected to high five their opponents at the end of the mini games.

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There is a nice variety of different boards to play on, each with their own special conditions. These can be alternate routes that can be opened up, or hazards that activate at the worst time. Other complications that crop up while traversing the board include the dice. Each character has their own special dice that they can use instead of a regular 1-6 dice. These could offer to roll a huge number of spaces, or very few, so there is always an element of chance no matter what character the player chooses. Also, certain spaces will give the player a companion who will follow them around on the board, and give the player an extra dice to roll for moves. These companions can be stacked as well, so players could end up with a Mushroom Kingdom entourage. Power ups also play a role, and can be won on some spaces, or purchased from a vendor for coins on the way round the board. These power ups only offer small advantages to the player using them, and so don’t have too much of an impact on the fairness of the game.

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But, while moving around on a board is fun, and often frustrating, the Mario Party games have always been more about the mini games than anything else. There are around 80 mini games in Super Mario Party, which seems a little tight to me, and these range from free-for-all games to team games setting three players against one or two vs two. They are generally very quick, although not Wario quick, and easy to understand. They are quite varied, and players may find themselves one minute guiding a giant robot crab with two other players, trying to smash the fourth player as they run from left to right, and the next they could be cooking steak in a frying pan. While they may not be the most complex or skilful, they are always fun to play with others, where a lot of the joy comes from watching others fail. The variety is impressive, and there is not a single game that I tried that didn’t at least raise a smile.

Outside of the board game, there are a variety of other ways that players can enjoy the game. River Survival is great fun, a four player co-op mode which takes its inspiration from Toobin and drops the four players into an inflatable and sets them off along some river rapids. Players will have to cooperate in order to avoid the hazards on the river and can compete in mini games along the way to add extra time to the clock. It’s slightly less competitive fun. Other modes are available as well, such as the more tactical Partner Party, or the rhythm-based games found in Sound Stage, and there are plenty of ways to just dip in and out of the mini games if that is more your thing. Then there is Toad’s Rec Room, which offers gimmicky ways to use the Switch in special mini games. The most famous of these is the one that will have been seen in videos, involving connecting Switch units together in order to expand the game area. I only have one Switch, as most people would I guess, but it seems like a nice idea.

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When it comes down to it, Super Mario Party does exactly what it sets out to, provides a group of people with family fun themed around the Mushroom Kingdom and its residents. With the party season rapidly approaching, anyone looking for a party game on the Switch would do well to consider one with the word “party” in the title, and by adding some Super Mario magic, then they are guaranteed a good time. It’s bright, colourful and looks great either on the big screen or the small. The brilliant thing is, almost anyone can play it, no matter what their skill or age. So, if there is a party going on, pick up Super Mario Party on Switch and turn that party up.




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