We live in an age of reboots and remakes. Every movie is either a reboot, a sequel or trying to lay the foundation for a new universe. Games aren’t immune to this infliction either. So, what is a Mario Party game to do when it reaches its 25th instalment in a franchise? Why it looks back at every game that preceded it and says, “hey let’s do that again, but better”. The question is, did they hit the mark? Or is it nothing more than a lazy romp back to safe territory that feeds the nostalgia of the 90’s kids that seem to be flooding the interwebs with their “back in my day” nonsense?
Long answer short, kind of both. Here’s our Mario Party Superstars review.
Mario Party Superstars goes hard on the nostalgia, right from the beginning. Immediately, you’re welcomed by a very familiar home screen to anyone who has played the very first Mario Party game on Nintendo 64. Straight from there you take a dive into that wonderful green pipe of old. You then embark on ‘your very own adventure’ and choose from 1 of the 5 maps remastered from the Nintendo 64 days of Mario Party.
I like how the game gives screenshots of how the Mario Party boards looked on the old system. It’s awesome to see how far the graphics have come. Gone are the individual dice blocks of Super Mario Party, and with it the strategic gameplay they encouraged. Instead, we are treated to a stripped back RNG based 1-10 die for each character, regardless of choice.
Where the real meat is in this game is the 100 self-appointed “best of” minigames. I loved playing some of the greatest hits in all their Nintendo Switch powered glory. Most of the classics are here. ‘Shy Guy Says’, ‘Bumper Ball Derby’, just to name a few. But seriously, who asked for ‘Mario’s puzzle party’ to come back? really?
Jokes aside, the selection here is part of what makes Mario Party Superstars so enjoyable. It’s basically what contributes to the games replayability – even once you’ve already played the meager five maps, once or twice. Not that I’d be going back to Peach’s Birthday Cake again any time soon.
Mario Party Superstars is ultimately a solid retrace through the games that kept us going when we were younger. The game reminds us of a time that we’d bust out our off-brand Nintendo 64 controllers for when our cousins came over and wanted something to play.
It has just enough nostalgia to satiate the need of anyone who was looking for a portal back in time, but still craves the graphics of 2021. It also gives us something to hold us over for whatever comes next. For a game that isn’t necessarily moving us forward, there’s still plenty of fun to be had either with friends, against the computer, or online. Just don’t go back to Peach’s Birthday Cake, it doesn’t hold up, trust me!