Mario Party Superstars is a nostalgic journey of iconic boards, Bumper Balls, and new enhancements to the original Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube games. I recruited three of my colleagues to join me in playing Horror Land, a Mario Party 2 board from 2000 on N64. It’s crazy to see Birdo and Waluigi walking around this classic board that I first played 21 years ago. Horror Land has a day / night cycle every other turn and includes a new transition animation for when the time changes. This board also allows Whomps to finally get a good night’s rest, and you can’t wake them up to pass. In Super Mario Party 2018, you only needed 10 coins for a star, but in Mario Party Superstars, you will need 20 coins to buy a star. Toadette has to adjust for inflation, after all.
My new favorite Mario Party Superstars feature is the stickers. That’s it, stickers! Think of it as a quick chat feature while playing on a board. Sure, it’s great to yell and laugh with your friends in person, but there’s something very rewarding about communicating through what are essentially Nintendo emojis as well. With just a tap of the joystick, you can send out a crying toad to say “Gah!”, An angry Goomba to say “Bring it!”, Or even select your own character by yelling a “What ?!” The best part is that every time you send a sticker, a quick sound effect of the character plays, making it even more fun and engaging than a traditional quick chat. You can send a sticker at any time during anyone’s turn, and you can unlock more stickers with the collected coins. The (very large) sticker appears in the corner of the screen next to your player’s icon, and you can send the same sticker every few seconds as a distraction in the hope that your opponent will accidentally select “No thanks” when purchasing a star. (I can dream, right?)
Screenshots of Mario Party Superstars
Superstars is the first Mario Party game for Nintendo Switch that you can play in handheld mode. Super Mario Party of 2018 featured motion controls, so you could never play with the Joy-Con controllers attached. Mario Party Superstars gets rid of that rule, and now every board and minigame can be played with button controls, preserving the experience of the original Mario Party games. Now you can also play Mario Party Superstars natively on a Nintendo Switch Lite (no need to pair Joy-Con controllers), and you can finally use your Nintendo Switch Pro Controller! No more angry waving around your Joy-Con trying to throw a basketball into a Cheep Cheep’s mouth.
We all know that the boards can get hectic in the last five turns, but in Mario Party Superstars you can add turns to your existing board game. If you are in last place AND you can convince your friends to give you a chance to catch up, this option is for you! Hit pause and you can add turns at any time (except during the last turn, Toad can only do so much). The pause menu also allows you to change things like text speed from “Normal” to “Slow” or “Fast”. If you’re like me and have played so many Mario Party games, you can now fly through the NPC dialogue and get to the minigames even faster. Other quality of life improvements include being able to save your board game and pick up where you left off, so feel free to take 30 turns and play the long game! You can save up to 10 different board game sessions at a time. Once the game is over and the winner is announced, Toad will comment on your specific play style with a custom artwork that shows each player in the order they placed them. It’s very cool and I took a LOT of screenshots using the capture button on the Switch.
Mt. Minigames is a new location where you can play all 100 minigames immediately in a variety of different modes, including Free Play, Coin Battle, Daily Challenge, Survival, Sports & Puzzle, Trio Challenge, and Tag Team Fight. Of course, the first thing I did was run to Free Play and play Bumper Balls ten times in a row. The great thing about Bumper Balls and other specific minigames is that you can choose which scenario variation to play in. With Bumper Balls you can choose between a scary lava-based scenario, a slippery ice-based scenario, or a rocky island. stage based. Once you’re done playing Bumper Balls (impossible), you can jump into the Trio Challenge to play all those tricky 3v1 mini-games. I love being the solo player and seeing if I’m going to have the advantage or the disadvantage of the minigame.
Mario Party fans old and new will enjoy playing Mario Party Superstars, and this game seems like a love letter to some of the most iconic boards and minigames of the N64 and GameCube era. My favorite little detail was that each minigame you play will show which Mario Party game it came from, along with a cute N64 or GameCube icon. Never forget where you come from!