I've been playing Mario Party for over 20 years, and let me tell you, the raw frustration of Chance Time is just as strong now as it ever was. You're on a hot streak, two stars ahead of your opponent by round 20, only for someone to activate Chance Time and steal your victory. "There's bonus stars!" I hear you cry. But you can't rely on those. It never gets easier, so why do I come back?
Because Nintendo's friendship-ruin simulator is a solid multiplayer game. Many fans criticised later entries for introducing new gimmicks, and though Super Mario Party started moving back towards classic gameplay, Superstars truly returns to the series roots. With its remakes of classic N64 boards and minigames spanning the series, this is without a doubt Mario Party's best entry since the GameCube days.
Party Like It's 1999
Superstars has two main modes. Unsurprisingly, you'll spend most of your time in the "Mario Party" one, but Mount Minigames, the other choice, is worth checking in on as well. It's the series' traditional side option, letting you play minigames on their own without having a to deal with boards and star betrayals. There's plenty of quick fun in this one, and since you're not waiting for CPU characters to move, that faster pace better suits solo players.
Ultimately though, that's not why we're here.
Mario Party mode, with its five classic boards, remains mechanically faithful to the original editions but visually, everything look stunning. I do wish Nintendo included a second MP3 board to even things out — there are two each from Mario Party and Mario Party 2 — but what we've got is great.
The moment-to-moment action is the same as always. You'll roll a dice to determine movement, then travel across these boards on a quest to buy stars from Toadette for 20 coins apiece. Getting there isn't that simple, mind. Spaces trigger different events, so you can earn/lose coins, summon Bowser, win items, or, of course, upend someone's progress in chance time by swapping coins or stars.
Treachery Is Afoot
Once all four characters have taken a turn, the round ends, activating one of Superstars' 100 minigames. Unlike Super Mario Party, these all utilise a traditional controller setup, which is handy f you aren't a motion control fan or want to play in handheld mode.
Superstars has remakes of minigames from across Mario Party 1-10, and it's a brilliant selection that feels suitably updated for modern audiences, with something for old-school fans and newcomers alike. There's a couple of duff minigames, as always, but Nintendo's mostly picked a fine selection from the series' history.
The winner (usually) earns 10 coins and then it's onto the next round and the next chance to ruin someone else's career — or your own.
A winner is decided once the full game ends, but in true Mario Party fashion, there's a chance for extra salt: players can get bonus stars too. These depend on hitting random criteria, such as who moved the most spaces or who earned the most coins in minigames, and it's incredibly easy for a hard-fought match to get upended at the last minute.
All I'm saying is, question how much you value your friendships first.
Mario Party Superstars Review - Is It Worth It?
By offering a remake of older entries, Mario Party Superstars has given long-terms fans what they've wanted for a long time. If you weren't sold on the series previously, Superstars won't change your mind, but with three other friends, Superstars is some of the best multiplayer action going on Switch.
Review copy provided by the publisher. Played in Docked Mode off a base Nintendo Switch.