Mario Party Superstars is the latest edition to the storied party game franchise bringing online multiplayer madness to the Nintendo Switch and reviving classic N64-era Mario Party Maps and beloved minigames from throughout the franchise’s history. Four members of the But Why Tho? team got together to experience the game online and
What was your Mario Party experience before Mario Party Superstars?
Jason: I played the GameCube Mario Party games the most as a kid, with a few go-rounds in the earlier or later games over the years too. I certainly remember many a late night with friends when I was in elementary school playing wicked long rounds where I’d always get beat in the button-mashing games in particular. I’ve been working on my mashing skills ever since and I think the rest of the folks here can attest to that after our session together.
Arron: I spent a lot of time playing the games on the N64 that I would rent with my older brother from the Family Video in town. I also played some of the GameCube ones, Mario Party 9, and a lot more of Super Mario Party than I wish I had. While most of my time playing the series was with my older brother, my main memory of it is playing the mini-games while he wasn’t home so that I could get good enough to finally beat him.
Matt: I grew up playing all the early Mario Party games on N64. I owned all of the N64 Mario Party games, but after that my experience drops off as I did not own any Nintendo consoles after the N64. I did play some of the GameCube ones with friends on occasion but nothing more.
Kate: I didn’t have a Nintendo system growing up outside of a GameCube and the only games I had for that came out of the Sam’s Club $5 bin. So, my experience was I had no experience with Mario Party at all. Since the game is bringing together nostalgic mini-games, I was worried I would feel completely out of the loop, but with thorough tutorials and practice before each match, I was able to get up to speed fairly quickly.
In your own words, how would you describe the experience of a round of Mario Party Superstars multiplayer?
Jason: It’s just the right balance of simple and straightforward fun with chaotic luck-based tomfoolery. You can be the best mini-game player there is and still get all your stars stolen by a friend with a vendetta, or be the player with the worst rolls and get blessed by Toad in the endgame with some Bonus Stars. Luck is an ultimate equalizer that makes every round as fun as the next no matter how you play.
Arron: The pacing of a round in Mario Party Super Stars multiplayer is the series boiled down to its fundamentals. There is some light strategy with when and where to spend coins and how to take advantage of the game’s various items, while the randomness and ability for a “friend” to mess it all up keeps everything light-hearted and chaotic.
Matt: Mario Party games have always consisted of strategy on the board, skill on the mini-games, and just general luck overall. Mario Party Superstars is a ton of chaos and brings the right amount of luck and skill involved in each round. The luck element of the game can be frustrating at times, but it does add to the charm. There is a good balance between all of these elements that really makes it enjoyable for all players.
Kate: Frustrating and chaotic but like, in the best ways possible. While some games were luck, others were skill with smashing buttons, and others took a little bit of memory and coordination. This balance made every minigame different from the last and ultimately helped throw you off your game just when you think you’re going to win. Now, that sounds frustrating, but in the same way you lose your footing, so do the other players. Additionally, like Monopoly, there is enough difference in each turn to keep you interested round to round.
What is your favorite element of the game and which element was the most chaotic? (Stickers, hidden blocks, lucky tiles, mini-games, event tiles, etc)
Jason: Easily the stickers are my favorite part of the game. Both because it’s fun unlocking more of them, and because they are just the best method for passive-aggressive communication with your friends. There’s really a perfect sticker for every moment and never really gets old. The most chaotic element has to be the hidden blocks. They’re completely and utterly random and can yield rewards ranging from a few coins to an entire star. Two obscenely lucky star-gets from Hidden Blocks rendered me the winner in our play session and I will lord that over everyone for some time.
Arron: I think stickers are a great addition not only for the humor they bring to games but also for giving players something to do while they wait for their turn or the next mini-game to start. The most chaotic elements are definitely the hidden blocks and event tiles. The hidden blocks can entirely change the state of a match for seemingly no reason while event tiles are the best way to screw over other players, or yourself, with nothing but some movement.
Matt: The stickers are by far one of the best elements of the game. Stickers were something that really surprised me as I thought nothing of it beforehand and now after playing the game, I just need more and more stickers. While the stickers have been a pleasant surprise for me, I haven’t been the biggest fan of the hidden blocks. I know they are very random and rare, but I have had a few games where hidden blocks were a major deciding factor in the winner. I also say this as a person that still has not received a single hidden block during all my rounds.
Kate: Toad. Toad is the most chaotic, because whenever he picks who is going to win, the reward given can drastically change the game. That one element is what I’m most excited for at the end of game when I’m in last place (which is kind of where I live) and the one element I can see getting under the skin of someone at the top. Toad is essentially a blue shell, you know he’s coming, but you don’t know how much he’ll change up the game which makes for chaos when your friend group has added their own rules on top of the game as well.
How do you feel about the maps and mini-games in Mario Party Superstars?
Jason: I wish there were a few more, but overall, they’re just the right balance between small and hectic and big and complicated. I’ve had just as much fun getting my butt blasted by a mega coin-stealing laser (multiple times) as I did having the star get moved to the complete opposite side of the board one tile from getting one.
Arron: There is some solid variation between the maps, but it would be nice if there were some more or if Nintendo releases more in the future. It also would be really nice if players could look at the map when it isn’t their turn so that they could start planning their turn between spamming stickers. The mini-games are also really solid with a lot of different experiences to keep things fresh and give every player a chance to claim some wins along the way.
Matt: I feel great about the mini-games and maps overall as it does bring back lot of my favorite classic ones that I loved as a kid. I am sure more mini-games being added later could be nice, but so far I think there is a good amount of them. I do wish however, that the game pushed for more 2v2 and 1v3 mini-games at times. I have played multiple rounds with zero 2v2s and those can be some of the best, especially in game where four people are in it for themselves. The maps are also fun, but I do think they need to bring more maps as there are only six. I personally would love to see more maps added sooner than mini-games and overall really hope Nintendo decides to add more to this game over time.
Kate: When it comes to the maps, there is a lot going on. Since I’m not familiar with Mario Party as a game just loading into a map and choosing which direction to turn is overwhelming. That said, the minigame selection is diverse enough that I’m beyond excited despite whichever one comes on screen. Plus, the balance against “skill” and luck works for all levels of players.
What tip would you give for making the most of your Mario Party Superstars multiplayer sessions with friends?
Jason: Don’t take it too seriously. I hate the phrase “game you’ll lose friends over.” It’s trite and says more about you as a player than the game itself. Go in expecting to lose at the last second and be surprised and gloat when you pull off a win. You’ll have the most fun that way by a landslide.
Arron: I think the way to have the most fun is to just go with the flow and enjoy the ride more than trying too much to win. Most of what happens to players is far out of their control, and it’s more fun to just enjoy the great moments with the other players than get too worried about winning or doing the best.
Matt: Understand that while Mario Party Superstars multiplayer does take some skill and strategy to win there are still crucial components and mechanics in the game that are just completely random and out of the player’s control. The best a player can do is put themselves in the possible position to potentially win, but it doesn’t always happen. Knowing that there is a huge component of luck and randomness involved should also mean that it doesn’t matter if you are good or bad to enjoy the game. These components are designed not only just for chaos and general enjoyment, but also so there are no general barriers of entry for players. Also when you do win make sure to take as many screenshots as possible.
Kate: Just give into it and watch the tutorials if you’ve never played before. There is a chaotic element baked into the game from level design to mini-games and items that all work in a way that you can’t dig too deep on. Take the games for what they are, laugh, have fun, and be prepared for Monopoly-level excitement and friendship building.
As you can see, Mario Party Superstars multiplayer is a total blast. The game is available now on Nintendo Switch.