Mario Party Superstars: Why A Return To Form Is The Best Thing For The Series

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Mario Party Superstars is set to release very soon, and it borrows elements from the oldest titles in this franchise, acting somewhat like a "best of" collection. It might come as a surprise for some, given that the recent game ended up being seen by many fans as their favorite installment within the series so far - though I'd imagine they're too busy playing through all those new boards anyway! 

 

It's been two decades since Nintendo released its last entry: Mario Party 8, back on Wii 1998 Deluxe Set. It took me quite a while myself just getting around finally unlocking them, but then again when you have kids these days who need sleep.

 

The Mario Party series has been around for quite some time now, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Throughout all four parts released so far (Mario Party 1-3), there are always gameplay changes that make each game unique from its predecessors or successors in how you move your character around the board without getting stuck on an island as Bowser does at times!

 

The first three Mario parties had players taking turns moving one space after another until someone reached either goal space with stars(the winner). They tried collecting coins which led them onto minigames where strategy was key instead of luck because whoever got there last would win whether they played fair or not by dodging hazards.

 

Each title featured its unique features and gimmicks between the boards you could play on. Some were linear, only enabling players to acquire stars at the end, while others included innovative means of getting those stars in the first place. Players might focus on stealing stars from opponents or decide to gather enough money to gain bonuses after the game. The fundamental gameplay was simple, yet it allowed for enormous creativity.

 

With the takeover above of Hudson by Konami, all mainline Mario Party titles were developed by Nd Cube, the geniuses behind the Wii Party series, and modified with Mario Party 8. It was the moment the series was transformed, for better or for worse. But in my view, it's hard to argue for the former.

 

Minor Setbacks, Serious Mishaps

 

The first Mario Party created by Nd Cube, Mario Party 9, was also the first mainstream release to change the fundamental gameplay.

 

Boards

 

Instead of traveling around the board on their own to acquire coins and stars, all players are compelled to move in a vehicle. To cater for this, each panel is highly linear, and the only way to win is to gather mini-stars strewn across each board. There are no coins or average stars; there is only one way to proceed regardless of your strategy.

 

Minigames

 

Even the minigames have been changed. The variety and enjoyment of these minigames have not lessened, but they have lost a lot of their appeal. At the end of each minigame, all characters are placed in a line and play a happy or sad animation based on whether they won or lost. It is a departure from earlier releases, in which characters would pose in the minigame's location, sometimes with distinct win or loss animations. Even with boss minigames in Mario Party 9, all players must work together to defeat an opponent. Enemies can't even hurt the players; their attacks result in a point loss.

 

The minigames and boards are at the center of the Mario Party. While It would have appreciated a more profound modification to the concept, the adjustments introduced by Mario Party 9 eliminated many of the game's distinctive modes of play. Because players all shared the same space, It could utilize fewer strategies, and minigames seemed less competitive to a degree. This new gameplay approach was carried over to Mario Party 10, which received mixed reviews from players and reviewers. Although that title offered a plethora of game options for players to enjoy, it was difficult to deny that the series had lost the spark that had made it so wonderful in the first place.

 

The Mario Party series has gone through many changes in its almost two decades of existence. The Mario Party titles on the Nintendo 64 were often lauded for their innovation and "hype-factor" that came with it. From the introduction of minigames to giving way to fun boards with interactive elements, Mario Party was made into a game that had more than just rolling dice, choosing paths, and occasionally landing on item spaces. Until Mario Party 9 in 2012, most Mario Party titles held to this formula.

 

Mario Party 9 began an era where Mario Party games were considered competitive party experiences because they lacked luck. Suddenly every minigame was based around completing some objective, with Mario Party being transformed from a Mario-themed board game to an Odyssey-like adventure. While Mario Party 9 was able to pull off charm and character as it reworked the original Mario Party formula, Mario Party 10 and beyond would be marred by gimmicky controls and boards that required very little player interaction.

 

Mario Party: The Top 100 attempted to take steps back towards a Mario Party that felt more like a collection of minigames than a lackluster Mario RPG adventure, but there were still some missteps in this new direction. In addition, the existence of the Super Mario Party on Nintendo Switch has made any sort of return difficult at best as its concept is almost entirely outside the use of dice as Mario Party is known for. The Mario Party series has changed, but it may have returned to form with Mario Party Superstars on the 3DS.

 

Mario Party Superstars takes the Mario Party of old and shapes it into something that can be enjoyed by casuals or tournament-competitive players alike. Super Mario Party's introduction of character-specific dice had a cascading effect upon all future Mario Party titles, including Mario Part Superstars. It was safe to assume that Mario Part Superstars would have had character-specific items as well, but what happened was only two characters got new things - Bowser Jr. somehow got three offensive items. In contrast, Waluigi got three different movement-related ones (we'll get more into Mario Party Superstars items later). Mario Party Superstars are Mario Party that Mario Party 9 should have been, but was too ambitious and lost focus. This Mario Party has a Mario Party feel again by allowing for many options (such as playing multiple games at once) and bringing back short-term objectives such as competing for item shops.

 

Mario Party Superstars' most significant change from any Mario Part title is it's two versus two gameplay option. Mario Party Superstars takes Mario Party 9's Mario-themed love letter to Mario Odyssey and returns it to Mario Party for the better. By adding another player to each team, this added level of competition can be seen in the number of stars the units will need to win and how much more hazardous everything becomes with twice as many players on each board. Not only did Mario Party Superstars manage to take a unique approach with two versus two, but they also managed to make solo mode feel like more than just a slower-paced Mario Party 10.

 

Mario Party: The Top 100 made something that felt like Mario Kart Stadium from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. But, Mario Party Superstars takes multiple boards and makes them feel like they're part of one big board (similarly to how this was done in Mario Parties 2 through 4). The result is boards that feel short and sweet rather than overly long experiences where every time you come back onto the board, another player can have a considerable lead. Mario Party Superstars takes Mario Party 9's Mario-themed love letter to Mario Odyssey and returns it to Mario Party for the better. Not only did Mario Party Superstars manage to take a unique approach with two versus two, but they also managed to make solo mode feel like more than just a slower-paced Mario Party 10.


 

"What makes the new Mario Parties any good?" you may be wondering about now if you're one of the unlucky ones who skipped Mario Party: The Top 100 and Mario Party 10. Super Mario Party took much of what was done in Mario Party. 

 

The Top 100 improved upon it, making an excellent party game that doesn't rely on luck as much as its predecessors - nor does it suffer from bad luck (unlucky players) nearly as frequently. Mario Party Superstars takes Mario Party 9's Mario-themed love letter to Mario Odyssey and returns it to Mario Party for the better. Not only did Mario Party Superstars manage to take a unique approach with two versus two, but they also managed to make solo mode feel like more than just a slower-paced Mario Party 10.

 

Mario Party: The Top 100 made something that felt like Mario Kart Stadium from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Mario Party Superstars takes multiple boards and makes them feel like they're part of one big board (similarly to how this was done in Mario Parties 2 through 4). The result boards think short and sweet rather than overly long experiences where every time you come back onto the board, another player can have a considerable lead. Mario Party Superstars takes Mario Party 9's Mario-themed love letter to Mario Odyssey and returns it to Mario Party for the better. Not only did Mario Party Superstars manage to take a unique approach with two versus two, but they also managed to make solo mode feel like more than just a slower-paced Mario Party 10.

 

"What makes the new Mario Parties any good?" 

 

you may be wondering now if you're one of the unlucky ones who skipped Mario Party: The Top 100 and Mario Party 10. 

 

While we might seem like we are merely lobbying for the next game in the Mario Party series, we are also blogging as proof that the previous N64 titles indeed are as excellent as fans of their recall. Sure, following games would have their novelties and tweaks, but rather because the game stayed with its pattern - up until 9 - it succeeded in retaining a sense of comfortable enjoyment. Mario Party Superstars understands this and carries over the gameplay of those previous games in total and countless boards and minigames across the genre.

 

While Superstars does not provide anything special for the gameplay, it also doesn't need to. By reverting to the original series format, the game can focus on the flair that made Mario Party so impressive in the first place. If the creators decide to further 'innovate,' their experience working on this new title should teach them why the earlier games are still so adored - and how subsequent experiences may be enhanced.

 

There's little I can say about Superstars that would be deemed harmful. My primary concerns would be that the minigame selections are a little skewed, with only two minigames returning from Mario Party 8, and that there are only five boards. Indeed, it is more significant than Super Mario Party, although most titles included six or more. Even said, there is always the chance of updates or secret unlockables; there will undoubtedly be quite a deal to look forward to as the game nears its debut date.

 

Not every change or innovation is a good thing, and sometimes it may be fantastic to return to your origins. Mario Party Superstars aims to reflect the modifications implemented in more recent Mario Party titles, choosing to reclaim the focus of being a complex, entertaining, competitive party game. We are delighted to see this happen, and we wonder how the future of Mario Party will play out and whether Nintendo will decide to follow suit with any of their other titles.