Nintendo Switch

Super Mario Party’s New Modes Change Up The Formula

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Super Mario Party is the Nintendo Switch’s first installment, giving Nintendo an opportunity to change what people may think about the series. We all expect to go around multiple boards with friends, perhaps becoming enemies as we desperately attempt to earn as many coins and stars as possible. Having some sort of cooperative mode, called Partner Party here, is also not uncommon. But what else it can give people a chance to do and enjoy is what can make an installment a little more memorable. With Super Mario Party, we have new features that have us working together as well as possible as a team in a mode that usually takes much less time than even a 10-turn Mario Party, a rhythm game that calls to mind Rhythm Heaven, a toy room that lets us use multiple Nintendo Switch systems for a different experience, and an online mode that might sometimes give people a little trouble.

 

River Survival is a good place to start. It feels like a way to enjoy the minigames with people who enjoy Mario Party in general, but aren’t a fan of how competitive it can get. Everyone is working together to find their way down a river with increasing branches, hoping to reach one of the five endpoints. You have to aim for balloons to earn more time, try to hit timers, paddle to avoid obstacles and sometimes even all raise your oars at the same time in a show of unity for a few extra seconds. It is great for people who want to all join in and enjoy the game together. Even better, it is a good way to train and prepare for more cooperative endeavors. There are a lot of minigames that involve teams, co-op actions, and people generally working together against one other person. This can help you get in synch with one another.

 

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Toad’s Rec Room is the mode that involves multiple Nintendo Switch systems. Its mileage varies, depending on which game you choose. Mini League Baseball is a rudimentary baseball game that can last between three and nine innings, is a bit like a board game. If you are hitting, you try to hit the ball past the character with cups blocking different indicators in the outfield showing if you hit a single, double, or triple. If you are pitching, you try to get a ball past someone or catch hit balls so the opposing team doesn’t score. It is simple, but fun! Shell Shocked Deluxe, where you use two Nintendo Switches to make a map and send tanks around it to attack opposing players, is also a rather novel take on the tank shooting genre. Puzzle Hustle, a game about putting together puzzles inspired by classic Mario characters or items, and Banana, Split, which has you getting bananas matched up, are really more “there” and do not offer the same level of skill and interactivity.

 

I felt the best mode is Sound Stage, which feels a lot like a Super Mario Party meets Rhythm Heaven. When you head into this mode, you play minigames in time with the music. Pep Rally is pretty much identical to Cheer Readers, as you are holding up sign boards in time with the music and other people also holding signs. Baton and On can feel a bit like Marching Orders, in that you are marching in time and holding your baton in time with the beat, occasionally needing to stop or perform other orders. Even the ones that don’t match up one-to-one with a corresponding Rhythm Heaven game still maintain similar feels. Also, the remix element that sends you back through already seen minigames at a different pace calls to mind the Rhythm Heaven remix challenges.

 

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The only mode that falters is Online Mario-thon. This is the mode that lets you go online to play the Super Mario Party minigames against other people. There are different Cups during Worldwide Match and people can go online to face off against friends. However, sometimes Worldwide Match is nearly unplayable. During the Kamek Cup, I never had the five minigame run get past the Gridiron Gauntlet minigame. There was too much lag from all the Chargin’ Chucks onscreen at once. Your experience may vary wildly, depending on how many people are playing, their internet connections, and the minigames being played.

 

Super Mario Party’s supplemental modes give people different ways to play through minigames and interact with other people. Some of them are a lot of fun. Sound Stage is my favorite part, due to its catchy minigames and tunes. River Survival is a fun way to train and work together with others. Toad’s Rec Room is all about experimentation and shorter experiences. If you come across a day with a Cup that has good minigames or have a group of people with stable internet, even the Online Mario-thon can work. These bonuses all keep the fun going, while not requiring you to sit down for at least an hour to play.

 

Super Mario Party is available for the Nintendo Switch.

Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.