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Super Mario Party is game in the Mario Party series, released for the Nintendo Switch on October 5, 2018. It is the twenty-fourth installment in the series overall, the eleventh home console installment in the series, and the first home console Mario Party game to not be a numbered installment since the original Mario Party game.

Described by Nintendo as a "complete relaunch"[1] and "complete refresh" of the Mario Party series when revealed at E3 2018, the game "goes back to the four-player basics as [players] take turns and race across the board searching for Stars" as seen in the Mario Party installments prior to Mario Party 9, but also incorporates elements from the more contemporary Mario Party games, including the "ally" mechanics from Mario Party: Star Rush. Additionally, the game takes advantage of Nintendo Switch hardware for its minigames, such as flicking the Joy-Con as if it were a frying pan handle. Players can also link multiple Nintendo Switch consoles together for a single, larger alteration of the display for the game. The game is the first installment in the Mario Party franchise to incorporate online play, as minigames can be played online.

Story

Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Wario, Waluigi, Yoshi, Rosalina, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Toad, and Toadette are standing around, with each of the playable characters claiming that they should be the "Super Star". Mario suggests that they have a party to determine who the "Super Star" will be, which the group agrees to, with Toad and Toadette being judges. Suddenly, Bowser appears with Bowser Jr., Goomba, Boo, Koopa Troopa, Hammer Bro, Shy Guy, Monty Mole, Pom Pom, and Dry Bones, and says that he or one of his minions could also be the "Super Star". To ensure that the judging is "fair" and "impartial", he summons Kamek to judge alongside Toad and Toadette. Kamek then creates a venue for the party.

When all the boards in Mario Party mode are completed, the Gem of Tenacity is awarded. Similarly, the Gem of Spirit is awarded when the Hard difficulty in Sound Stage is completed; the Gem of Courage is awarded upon sailing every branch in River Survival; when all the stages in Partner Party are cleared, the Gem of Love is awarded; and when every Challenge Road stage is cleared, the Gem of Passion is awarded. When all five gems are collected, they fuse together to create the victory podium, which the newly crowned "Super Star" stands on. The partygoers, even including Bowser or Bowser Jr., agree to get along, at least until the "next party".

Gameplay

Super Mario Party reverts to the traditional way of playing Mario Party, where four players take turns to navigate around a linear board dictated by how much they have rolled through the Dice Block. When a character lands on a space, they receive effects dependent on what the space is, such as a Blue Space giving the player 3 coins while a Red Space subtracting 3 coins from the player. They can also spend coins to buy items from Flutte] which can help them or hurt other players; these item shops can be triggered by passing by them in Mario Party or landing on them in Partner Party. The game borrows the ally mechanics from Mario Party: Star Rush where players can increase their team of characters by collecting party members who spawn throughout the board or by earning them by landing on Ally Spaces or using a Buddy Phone; allies gained from there are decided by a roulette. Allies contribute to Dice Rolls by either adding one or two to the total, and they participate in specially designated Team Minigames.

Prior to starting the game, players roll a dice block to determine turn order. In Mario Party, higher turn orders determine who goes first, while in Partner Party, the team with the higher overall dice count goes first. The overall goal of the game is to purchase the most Stars from Toadette, who serves as the host of the Star Space in this game. Stars cost 10 coins to buy, and after a player has purchased the Star, Toadette warps to another location of the board. In Mario Party, players can pass by Toadette to purchase Stars while players are required to land on the Star Space in order to receive Stars from Toadette.

Super Mario Party introduces the choice of using character specific die prior to rolling, where players can either opt for the standard 1-6 Dice Block or the character's unique Dice Block, which carries pros and cons associated with it. If players receive allies, they have option to use their designated Dice Block instead. Additionally, partners contribute to the total Dice Block amount by hitting a weaker Dice Block with only 1 or 2 sides and adds up alongside the leader character's dice roll amount.

Minigames are played, selected by a roulette, at the end of every turn, and the type of minigame is determined by the spaces players landed on. If all players land on the same-colored space as each other, a Free-for-all minigame is played. If one player lands on a different, non-green space than the rest of the players, a 1-vs-3 minigame is played, where players who land on the same-colored space are placed in the same team as each other. If players land on an equal amount of non-green spaces, a 2-vs-2 minigame is played, teamed up depending on the color; Team Minigames may be thrown into the mix, where the player's current allies may participate if they are received. If players land on a Green Space, the color is randomly determined to be either blue or red. Prior to playing the minigame, players view the rules and can practice; each minigame comes with its own rules and controls. Players can act out in the minigame's instruction menu prior to starting the minigame, replacing the practice feature altogether. Whichever player wins the minigame earns the most coins, while players who do not perform as well earn less coins. In Partner Party, Free-for-all, 2-vs-2, and Team Minigames are played; due to the mode having no colored spaces, all of those minigames show up in the Minigame Roulette.

At the last three turns, replacing the Last Five Turns Event, Toad and Toadette host character predictions, where the losing characters receive bonus items. At the end of the match, two Bonus Stars are issued, and they are selected from a pool of Bonus Stars. These Stars are the following:

  • Minigame Star: Given to players who have won the most minigames.
  • Rich Star: Given to players who have the most coins throughout the game.
  • Eventful Star: Given to players who have landed on the most Event Spaces.
  • Item Star: Given to players who have used the most items.
  • Ally Star: Given to players who have the most allies.
  • Buddy Star: Given to a player who has a particular, random ally.
  • Sightseer Star: Given to players who have traveled the most spaces.
  • Slowpoke Star: Given to players who have traveled the least spaces.
  • Unlucky Star: Given to players who have landed on the most Red Spaces and Bad Luck Spaces.
  • Stompy Star: Given to players who have stomped on other players the most. (Partner Party only)
  • Doormat Star: Given to players who have been stomped on the most. (Partner Party only)

After this, the winner is announced, and players can then view the statistics of the player's progress through the game, such as a line graph detailing the Star collecting progress or how many times a particular space has been landed on.

The game can only be played with a single Joy-Con per player, and is not compatible with the Pro Controller or Handheld Mode, unlike previous Mario games on the Switch, due to some of the minigames using motion control. The game is also compatible with local wireless play.

Characters

There are 20 playable characters in Super Mario Party, which is the largest number of playable characters thus far in the Mario Party series. Of these characters, 16 are available from the start, while the other 4 need to be unlocked. Goomba, Monty Mole, and Pom Pom are playable for the first time in the Mario Party series, with Pom Pom also making her overall Mario Party debut. This is also the first Mario Party game to feature Bowser as a fully playable character, as well as the first home console installment in the series to feature Bowser Jr. and Diddy Kong as playable characters.

  • Mario
  • Luigi
  • Princess Peach
  • Princess Daisy
  • Yoshi
  • Wario
  • Waluigi
  • Bowser
  • Donkey Kong
  • Rosalina
  • Bowser Jr.
  • Diddy Kong
  • Goomba
  • Shy Guy
  • Koopa Troopa
  • Dry Bones
  • Boo
  • Hammer Bro
  • Pom Pom
  • Monty Mole

Boards

The game only features only 4 board themes but, there are significant layout changes between the main modes of Mario Party and Partner Party. They are:

  • Whomp's Domino Ruins/Domino Ruins Treasure Hunt
  • King Bob-omb's Powderkeg Mine/Gold Rush Mine
  • Megafruit Paradise/Watermelon Walkabout
  • Kamek's Tantalizing Tower/Tantalizing Tower Toys

Minigames

The game has 80 different minigames. They are split into the free-for-all (including allies), 2 vs. 2, 1 vs. 3, Sound Stage and co-op.

Reception

Critical reception

Super Mario Party has been met with generally positive reviews, garnering an average of 76 based off 78 reviews on Metacritic[2] and a 74.59% based off 33 reviews on GameRankings[3], notably receiving more praise than most Mario Party games in the series, being second only to the original Mario Party title for the Nintendo 64. Critics have generally praised the return to the original method of playing the game's main mode, blended with elements new to the series, as well as the amount of minigames and modes, in addition to the party experience with multiple players. Critics have compared the game favorably to the recent past installments of the Mario Party series. Much of the criticism has been directed at the number of boards, the board design, CPU intelligence, the single player experience, and the online implementation.

Casey Gibson of Nintendo World Report gave Super Mario Party an 8/10,[4] praising this direction of the Mario Party series favorably compared to the Mario Party titles where "everyone was placed in the same vehicle, which would then move around the board at the same time." While Gibson has noted that the time can feel "drawn out" while playing with computer players, it was noted that the pacing can feel better than played with friends. Gibson has additionally praised the assortment of the 80 minigames where they are "actually a ton of fun and are pulled off very well", citing Sizzling Stakes as one of the favorite minigames played. The most jarring criticism from Gibson has been directed towards the online play and its features and options (which she considers restrictive), such as its rotation of 10 minigames, where she summarizes, "Overall, although the mode is fun, it won’t likely see much playtime as you repeat the same few games over and over. It’s a tease of what could be, but ultimately fails to add much value to the overall package." Colette from My Nintendo News gave the game an 8/10, echoing sentiments from Gibson, citing the previously released Mario Party: The Top 100 and Mario Party 10 as disappointing, as well as stating "the less said about Mario Party: Island Tour (2013), the better", while praising Super Mario Party in comparison, saying it "changes the sour flow into something much sweeter."[5] Colette has cited elements of minigames that she found frustrating, such as the CPU players in Pull It Together in the Challenge Road, but has otherwise mostly praised minigames seen as fun. Colette additionally criticizes the online functionality (finding it to be disappointing), although she did note that Super Mario Party was the first Mario Party game to feature online play.

Samuel Claiborn of IGN scored Super Mario Party a 7.3/10,[6] calling the game, "the best Party in two [home] console generations." He has praised the game for a perceived sense of being competitive, strategic, and fun, especially in Partner Party. However, Claiborn has cited the other modes not Mario Party or Partner Party as "filler", preferring the focus on the aforementioned two modes. He has also called the amount of boards lacking and that "Parties will get stale fast" due to what was considered a low number of boards and their believed simplicity, comparing unfavorably to Mario Party 5 and Mario Party 6. Claiborn has also described motion controls and the Joy-Con-exclusive functionality as troublesome, but not "as bad as the worst Wii-era games." Additionally, Claiborn has described the Switch functionality to interact with another console as cramped and "not put to great use". The amount of minigames have been praised, as well as the stated attention to detail in the minigames. He ended his review with the statement, "Super Mario Party delivers the couch multiplayer experience the series is famous for with an awesome new layer of strategy, 80 mostly-great minigames, and the quirky tech of the Switch controllers to keep things feeling fresh. The downside is that with the Switch’s controllers come some annoyances that make getting people settled onto your couch a bit more of a hassle than previous parties, and the best games are prone to annoying random upsets. But it’s far better paced than recent games and Super Mario Party reset my expectations of the series with its graphics and gameplay creativity." Stefan L. of TheSixthAxis has given the game a 6/10,[7] criticizing an apparently 'safe' approach to gameplay, the online implementation, the lack of single-player handheld mode compatibility, the amount of boards, and the amount of minigames for some modes, while praising the return to the original style of play, the strategy of character die, Toad's Rec Room minigames, and the HD Rumble tune. Stephan has noted that the content is "spread wide, but it’s not very deep", and also noted that the available boards are not engaging. Stephan has criticized the game's AI, calling them "dumber than a sack of bricks at crucial moments". In the conclusion, he stated that "Super Mario Party is just a very safe game. It brings back the classic Mario Party board game form, marrying it with some of the better ideas from Mario Party: Star Rush, but it’s light on the number of boards to play, lacks depth in other game modes, and misses opportunities for solo handheld and online multiplayer. It's Mario Party, but it's not particularly super".

Sales

Within the first two days of launch, the game dominated Japanese sales charts, selling 142,868 copies and beating out competitors such as Assassin's Creed Odyssey for top chart.[8] As of December 31, 2018, Super Mario Party ranks 7th place among the top sellers for Nintendo Switch games, selling at a 5.3 million copies.[9][10]

References to other games

  • Super Mario Bros. - Mario's, Goomba's, Spiny's, Cheep Cheep's, and Bowser's sprites appear in Puzzle Hustle. Dart Gallery's background features neon lights resembling the overworld levels from this game.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2 - Shy Guy's sprite appears in Puzzle Hustle.
  • Super Mario World - Luigi's, Boo's, Koopa Troopa's, Monty Mole's, Dry Bones', Kamek's, Sumo Bro.'s, Chargin' Chuck's, Mario with Baby Yoshi, and Cape Mario's sprites appear in Puzzle Hustle.
  • Mario Party series - In one of Birdo's dialogue lines, she refers to this game as the "11th party", referencing the previous ten home console Mario Party games. She also gives the player quizzes relating to the previous home console Mario Party games.
  • Mario Party - The game's opening is a direct callback to this game's opening, with Mario and his friends arguing over who is the Super Star. The opening also begins from a similar camera angle.
  • Mario Party 2 - The music for Shell Shocked Deluxe is an arrangement of the music "Going for the Coins", which is used in several minigames, one of which is Shell Shocked.
  • Mario Party 7 - In Mario Party Mode, whoever rolls first becomes a red player, second is blue, third is green, and fourth is yellow, regardless of player number.
  • Mario Party DS - The Star Pipe item returns under the name "Golden Pipe".
  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii/New Super Mario Bros. 2/New Super Mario Bros. U - In Challenge Mode, the sound effect that plays when a new level opens up is recycled from these games.
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Many of Yoshi's voice clips are reused from this game.
  • Mario Party 9 - Shy Guy's and Koopa Troopa's victory and losing animations are recycled from this game.
  • Mario Party: Island Tour - Bowser Jr.'s and Boo's victory and losing animations are recycled from this game.
  • Mario Party 10 - The majority of the returning characters' victory and losing animations are recycled from this game.
  • Super Mario Maker - Peach's, Daisy's, Wario's, Waluigi's, Yoshi's, Rosalina's, Donkey Kong's, Diddy Kong's, and Toad's Costume Mario sprites and Chain Chomp's (Super Mario Bros.-style), Blooper's (Super Mario World-style), Hammer Bro's (Super Mario World-style), and Bowser Jr.'s (Super Mario World-style) sprites appear in Puzzle Hustle.
  • Mario Party: Star Rush - Diddy Kong's victory and losing animations are recycled from this game. The concept of character-specific Dice Blocks returns, with some Dice Blocks being reused (albeit with different names). The Coinado item returns. Bob-omb's role in Gold Rush Mine is similar to Peepa's role in this game, where both characters will join as "allies" and roll a negative Dice Block.
  • Mario Sports Superstars - The horses in Fiddler on the Hoof reuse their Balance-type design from this game.

References in later games

  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - Mario's Dice Block and River Survival appear as spirits, originally only obtainable during the "Oh Yeah! Mario Time!" spirit event that ran from December 27, 2018 to January 1, 2019 prior to the version 2.0.0 update.

Trivia

  • This is one of the only two Mario Party games to not feature a Bowser-themed board, the other one being Mario Party 3.
  • This is the first Mario Party game since the international versions of Mario Party 5 and the Japanese version of Mario Party 7 to have a female announcer.
  • A promotional browser game was released on the Play Nintendo website in 2018 called Super Mario Party Fun Trivia Quiz.

References

  1. https://e3.nintendo.com/#the-party-comes-to-nintendo-switch-with-this-complete-relaunch-of-the-mario-party-series
  2. Metacritic score for Super Mario Party. Metacritic. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  3. GameRankings score for Super Mario Party. GameRankings. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  4. Gibson, Casey. (October 3, 2018) Super Mario Party (Switch) Review. Nintendo World Report. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  5. Colette. (October 3, 2018) Review: Super Mario Party For Nintendo Switch. My Nintendo News. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  6. Samuel Claiborn (3 Oct 2018) Super Mario Party Review. IGN. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  7. Stefan L. (October 3, 2018) Super Mario Party Review. TheSixthAxis. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  8. Lamoreux, Ben. (October 10 2018) Super Mario Party Dominates the Japanese Charts at Launch Gamnesia. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  9. (December 31, 2018) IR Information: Sales Data - Top Selling Title Sales Units Nintendo. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  10. Lamoreux, Ben (January 31, 2019) Super Mario Party Hits 5 Million Sales Gamnesia. Retrieved March 15, 2019.

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