October 03, 2018

Super Mario Party - Review

It has been many years since I have sunk a lot of time into a single Mario Party game, as the series moved from the Nintendo 64 to the Gamecube, my tastes changed and when it landed on the Wii, the game seemed to be far different from what I recall, thanks to a single car and what not, but now the game is back and thankfully, it’s a much fun as I remember having years ago.

Super Mario Party is broken up into 4 main modes, with a smattering of smaller options on the side, of course, the main one that people will spend a lot of time in, is the standard party mode, where you and three other characters, AI or human controlled, will travel a board and attempt to collect the most stars and become the winner. This tried and true formula is very close to what I recall it being, with characters taking turns rolling the dice, moving the spaces and then at the end of all the turns, playing the mini games. Each character can roll either a standard dice, or their own character specific dice and if you happen to pick up an ally along the way, they will add their character dice to your collection. In addition, after you roll, all your allies will roll smaller numbered dice, giving you a boost to your total and if that was not enough, there are some items that you can collect that can add even more bonus moves to your count, the highest I got was 19, which was enough to move clear around a board.

 The mode which I really enjoyed was the Partner Party, which is the same base game, but splits you into teams of two and sends you out there, the biggest change though, is how the board behaves, as you are now free to roam around as you desire, no more following a single line, but that is not all. If you work together, you can really rack up the stars as, each character rolls their own dice and then the two values are combined, giving you even more spaces to move around in per turn. The items that you earn here, are added to a combined pool, so earning a really cool item, might tempt your partner into using it at the wrong time, but if you work together, you will surely come out on top.

The working together, funnily enough works best when you split up, letting one player head towards the star, while the other collects coins and items, it’s a risky strategy, depending on the stars location, but it can pay off in spades, if you are lucky enough. Of course, at the end of your game, bonus stars are awarded and sometimes, they are cool awards, like highest coin count and other times they are complete and utter crap, like least spaces moved or something that gave stars to other players and not me. However if you want to lose a little stress from the game, you can enter  Sound Stage, which has you ‘dancing’ to a beat, by moving the JoyCon, in a set motion, in time with the beat, this is by far the weakest of the four main modes, simply because it does not respond a lot and even if it does, the instructions are not as clear as they need to be.

If you want to go to where motion works and when you have had enough at free for all, or partner battles, you can take to the games newest mode, River Rush, which places all four characters into a raft and sends them on a nice little river journey. Actually, the journey is not all that calm, and if you don’t work together, you won’t get very far, as you not only have a timer to deal with, but some wacky obstacles as well. As you make your way down the river, balloons will float above the waters and when popped will trigger a mini game, unlike the games in the other mode, these are going to be co-op driven games, making you work together, in order to achieve a high score, the better your ending score is, the more bonus time you will add to the clock, when back on the river. After a stretch of usually straight water, you will be given a choice of which way you want to go, a large sign will help indicate what you should see in the next section, but it is not always clear.

While playing through the modes all sounds fun, there is an ultimate goal in them, if you get 1st place on all the boards, in Party and Partner Party, along with River Rush and Sound Stage, you will earn a gem, earn them all and it unlocks something. I can’t tell you what it unlocks, simply because I keep loosing on the final leg of River Rush, but I hope it is something cool. Of course, the real joy of any Mario Party game comes from when you play any of the included mini games, while they are touting 80 all new games here, the number is higher, thanks to the other modes, as well as Toad’s Rec Room.

Almost all of the games use motion in some fashion and thankfully it works really well here, unlike the other mode, though some are strange uses of motion. The games that don’t use motion, generally just use the stick and a button or two, some are just the stick and they work well, games like moving a hand to pick up pancakes or controlling a giant crane, which is used to construct Mario’s face are simple and straight forward, the one that use a combination of motion and buttons are a little trickier to get. There are a number of games, that use a button press to begin them, but then rely on motion controls, like the removing candy from a jar and these are fine, but it is the ones where you need to continuously use a combination of buttons and motion, the climbing games and throwing ones are the examples in question.

Both games use the same controls, hold down the shoulder button on your JoyCon and then repeat the action, let go of the button and then repeat, the issue I had, was that for the first time, the JoyCon was too small, so after a single game of climbing the pole, my hand felt cramped. Because you have to hold the shoulder button down, or no climbing will happen, meaning you can’t progress with it. The same actions are required for the throwing mini games and the same result happened, cramped hands, similar issues arose when I tried to play the minigame, based around cycling a tiny bike, which requires you to rotate the JoyCon, or more accurately, wobble it, in between your hands, if there was a single game that might trigger flashbacks for Mario Party 64 players, it is this one. Because of the size of the JoyCon, I could not hold it properly as well as moving it, which meant I had it resting in between my palms, which was not a comforting position.

The mini games overall though, were a hoot, some feel like new looks to classic games, but they all work and were fun to play. If you desire to play them more, you can venture to the Minigame mode, which lets you play them in a free for all, or applying some more little games atop of them, like claiming the spots on a board, if you win. It is a simple addition to the game, but gives you access to the games, without needing to play through a main more and hope you get to play your favourite. The other mode, which you might have seen shown off before, is Toad’s Rec Room, which basically strips a host of games down to their barest essentials, giving you quick access to them, oh and can be played on one or two switch screens. All of the games, bar one can be played on a single Switch, or even when the console is docked to your tv and they let you play either with other players, or against and again, are just basic fun.

One aspect that I really disliked though, was across the board, how slow the game is and I don’t mean in terms of how it runs, but just its overall pace, the game is so slow. When you load into your first board, Toad appears to give you the run down, he even asks if its your first time here and if you say yes, he shows off some of the highlights, which is a nice touch. Then he asks if you want to know the rules, but if you then return to the board again, he askes the same questions, no matter how often you go, he asks the same questions. When you finally get to play, if there are AI controller characters in your game, you get to watch them go through the motions, dice rolls, moves, the works and there is no way to speed them up. Once three turns remain, Toad appears to tell you the spaces have doubled, Kamek appears to up the bad luck spaces, stating the same thing each time, the repeating of these parts, really bog down, what can already been considered a slow game.

Of course, one aspect I did like was the visuals, they were bright and cheery, with all the characters looking quite spiffy, in the Switch outing, for many at least. While the limited amount of boards might be an issue for some, there is no denying that each of the included boards, does contain a lot of details that look great. While Whomp’s Domino Ruins has a lot happening in the background, it is probably the least busy board, which is strange as it’s the one with the largest trap. King Bob-omb’s Powerkeg Mine and Megafruit Paradise are brimming with detail, it is easy enough to stop for a moment and just watch it. The last board unlocks, once you have completed a playthrough of the others, its name is something you will need to discover.

The mini games themselves are also bright and charming, though looking for love in a gym, is a little strange, with a lot of the games, taking place around tables or such, those rooms also contain a lot of charm. The charm did not stop there as when characters would interact with each other, when you acquired an ally or if you landed on a bad luck space, they would react accordingly, the best one was when I was playing as Bowser, I landed on a bad luck space and had to deal with Kamek. Of course, as an underling, Kamek fears Bowser, so when he noticed it was his usual boss, he started to shake all over, the text reflected that fear and such, it was a nice touch.

The games audio presentation is honestly on par with what you would expect from a Mario game at this point, the music is light and catchy, the characters wah-hoo and oh yeah when they win and the birds chirp in the trees. The music inside of Sound Stage, is remixed versions of classic Mario tunes and that is pretty cool, but nothing that people have not been doing for years already.

Super Mario Party is a perfect game for playing with friends, a lot of my time with the game, had my niece with me and she loved it. The mini games are really well thought out, though some motion control ones are slightly awkward if you have larger hands, but don’t that stop you. Get some friends together and enjoy one really great party!

Review copy provided by Nintendo

Share this:

Post a Comment

Back To Top
Copyright © 2014 Maxi-Geek. Designed by OddThemes