Mario Party Superstars was low-key one of the best announcements from Nintendo’s E3 2021 Direct!
While the Mario Party game may differ, those who grew up with Nintendo consoles most likely have fond memories of playing older Mario Party games with friends and family. Wacky minigames, ridiculous chance time events that could change the flow of the game, and those damn hidden blocks with stars always created a dynamic and fun party game with friends.
Unfortunately, later entries started to lose their luster, and none made this more apparent than Mario Party: The Top 100. This 3DS game was supposed to celebrate the series but instead served as a harsh reminder of what it once was. Fortunately, the series has now gotten back with Super Mario Party and now Mario Party Superstars, which was unveiled at E3 2021.
Mario Party Superstars in particular is an exciting new entry for the series, as it can right the wrongs of The Top 100. The Mario Party series is a cherished one that deserves to be celebrated, and Mario Party Superstars needs to learn from the worst to become possibly the best Mario Party game in over a decade.
Top Tier — In September 2017, Nintendo unveiled Mario Party: The Top 100, touting it as a celebration of the long-running series that paid homage to everything that made it great. The Top 100 seemed like it would be a breath of fresh air for a series that had waned in quality in the 2010s.
Ever since Mario Party 9 in 2012, each new Mario Party game would be quite experimental, trying new things (like putting all players in one vehicle) while forgetting what made the series appealing in the first place. Mario Party: The Top 100 seemed like it could fix that, but severely disappointed when it was released two months later.
Yes, it contained 100 minigames from the series past, but that was about it. There were no classic boards to speak of, only those 100 games spread across various modes and one free-roaming board based on Mario Party Star Rush.
While some supported multiplayer, the 3DS isn’t as well-built for multiplayer as something like the Wii or Nintendo Switch, so there wasn’t much to do if you didn’t have 3 friends with 3DS systems that were also interested in playing months after the Switch launched.
Being a 3DS game also means only some of the minigames got a facelift, and others had forced touchscreen controls implemented. Overall, it was just a super baffling release that felt like it was on the wrong platform and didn’t understand that minigames aren’t the only thing that made Mario Party special.
Superstar Saga — Mario Party Superstars needs to learn from Mario Party: The Top 100’s mistakes to craft the Mario Party celebration title that fans have wanted since 2017. It needs to focus on the boards and gameplay experience as much as the minigames, and not get bogged down by the side modes.
Nintendo needs to make these minigames more approachable than ever with good tutorials and controls that are easy to handle on any Nintendo Switch controller. At the same time, it needs to include the best boards from the earliest entries in the series and not bog them down with unneeded gimmicks like special dice, cheap stars, or friendly coin distribution to losers.
Features like online play and autosave between turns are also long-request additions for the series. Thankfully, all of these things seem to be coming true. Fortunately, this all seems to be coming true with Mario Party Superstars.
We already know that it remasters 100 minigames from the series history, though it’s unknown if these will all be the same ones featured in The Top 100. All 5 boards in the game at launch will be faithful recreations of classic N64 Mario Party boards as well.
The early look we’ve gotten at the game during the Nintendo Direct and Treehouse Live promise a faithful recreation that features the same depth as the original Mario Party game, not just a shallow minigame collection.
After taking Mario Party in a direction that fans didn’t like for years — Mario Party: The Top 100 is the prime example of that — Nintendo seems to have rebounded and delivered a game in line with what fans have wanted.
Returning to what works will remind people of why they fell in love with Mario Party in the first place and is the best option for Nintendo after over a decade of exploring new ideas of what a Mario Party game could be.
Mario Party Superstars will be released on October 29, 2021.