Nintendo’s “Super Mario Party” brings players some of the best pieces from classic “Mario Party” games and combines them to deliver an experience which takes some serious time to get old.
This variety of game modes works incredibly well with the pacing of unlockables in “Super Mario Party,” as players always feel close to getting that next gem, unlockable character or even unlocking a new game mode.
The popular “Mario Party” game mode, a combination board-game and minigame, returns in this iteration.
Players can have a field day on one of four ever-changing boards allowing for high replayability, whether they are by themselves or even with friends. Every game is different and can go from being in a person’s favor to dropping them into last place in the final moments.
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“Partner Party” is another fun mode that combines elements from “Mario Party 7” with pieces from other games throughout the series, adding up to a fun 2v2 mode that can be played across boards similar to “Mario Party.”
The dynamics of “Partner Party” are incredibly similar to those of the regular “Mario Party,” but the changes to the board make the mode worth playing.
In “Mario Party” the event countdown on “King Bob-omb’s Powderkeg Mine” only goes down if a player lands on a special event space, which is totally different from “Partner Party’s” board of “Gold Rush Mine,” where the countdown can be triggered randomly on any tile in a certain area, providing more suspense as players rush for stars.
Players growing tired of those modes can always turn to the “Sound Stage” to dance around their living room to some Mario themes and a collection of basic rhythms.
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While players are having fun with these types of game modes, they’re also working toward unlockables which seem to always feel within reach and keep players hooked.
After completing every “Mario Party” stage, players may earn a gem as motivation to explore other game modes and unlock additional gems, game modes or characters until they’ve put countless hours into the game — eventually unlocking everything.
Even after all the spoils, the heavy element of replayability seems to draw players back for more, thanks to how good the game is at its core. That’s not to say the game doesn’t have problems, however.
Choosing between “Normal,” “Hard” and “Very Hard” AI (Artificial Intelligence) may seem like a choice that matters, but the AI is poor enough that it does not seem to make a difference and can hinder gameplay when human players are paired with them during minigames.
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There’s almost nothing worse than an AI teammate undoing the progress players make in minigames, which may determine if they can afford stars or not. When the whole goal of winning is to get the most stars, this can be a serious detractor.
Outside of the actual in-game issues, Nintendo’s new online service, similar to Microsoft’s “Xbox Live” and Sony’s “Playstation Plus,” costs real-world dollars and offers some bonuses like the ability to play a selection of Nintendo Entertainment System classics, but fails in a few areas.
The online mode of “Super Mario Party” still succumbs to the confines of the offline mode since there can only be a total of four players for a regular game of “Mario Party.”
Having hundreds, if not thousands, of people online with the ability to only play, with a maximum of three of those people at a time, seems like a missed opportunity by Nintendo. A game of “Mario Party” with more than four people may be chaotic and take longer, but it’s a risk that should have been taken.
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Poor AI and a lackluster Nintendo online service integration are valid issues within the game. They will hopefully get fixed soon, but they are certainly not enough to overshadow the real beauty of “Super Mario Party.”
The pacing of the game is like that of a great novel in how it gives players and readers something to keep striving for, even if there are parts which may not be great. They are both incredible to pick up again and again which is why “Super Mario Party” receives a strong rating from yours truly.