Super Mario Party Vs Mario Party Superstars: Which Game To Buy
By: John Reeves
If you've been out of the Mario Party loop for a little while, you might have realized there are multiple recent entries into the series on the Nintendo Switch that probably pique your interest. Super Mario Party and Mario Party Superstars are modern versions of the classic Mario Party formula with some intriguing differences.
The Mario Party franchise, created by Nintendo, is a celebrated and enduring video game collection that showcases the beloved world of Mario. At its core, the games are designed to be enjoyed by multiple players, as they navigate a variety of boards inspired by the Mario universe by rolling dice. Along their journey, gamers can accumulate coins and participate in an array of minigames, in their quest to outwit and out-luck their opponents. The unique combination of strategy, chance, and fun has made Mario Party a staple for family and friends to come together and play, leading to its recognition as one of the most treasured video game franchises in the world.
Over time, the franchise has continued to evolve, incorporating new gameplay elements, characters, boards and minigames, ensuring its timeless appeal. In this article, we'll explore the latest two entries into the Mario Party series, and the only two to release on the Nintendo Switch.
Super Mario Party
Super Mario Party, released in 2018, truly seemed to be the definitive edition of Mario Party, featuring character-specific dice blocks, a whopping 20 playable characters, and the first online play available in the Mario Party franchise. This game truly is a fresh take on the classic gaming franchise that has taken the world by storm for decades. However, with it's many pros, come a few things that left something to be desired.
Pro: New Boards and Mini-games
Super Mario Party comes in hot with new boards and minigames, which is always an exciting prospect. Unfortunately it only contains four boards, but it makes up for it with about 80 minigames. The minigames are split up into several categories such as 1 vs 3, 2 vs 2, and free-for-all. Some of them require using motion controls, which means you can't play the game without using Joy Cons.
Con: Small and Simple Boards
The most upsetting part of Super Mario Party is there are only four boards, and they're quite small and simple. In comparison with other Mario Party games, there isn't a lot to the boards.
Pro: Bigger Character Roster
Mario Party Superstars has a standard roster including Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Wario, Waluigi, Yoshi, Rosalina, Donkey Kong, and uniquely, Birdo. However, Super Mario Party had all these playable characters, barring Birdo. It also included Bowser, Goomba, Shy Guy, Koopa Troopa, Monty Mole, Bowser Jr., Boo, Hammer Bro, Diddy Kong, Dry Bones, and Pom Pom. That's a ton of playable characters, and what's more is that Super Mario Party includes character-specific dice blocks.
Con: Slow Pacing
When compared to Mario Party Superstars, and even older Mario Party games, Super Mario Party seems to have a slower pace. It's not overly clear why this is, but it may have something to do with the fact that coins are practically worthless. In other Mario Party games, coins have a clear value as the second most important resource, with twenty coins needed to buy a star, and more than that for some items. However, in this game, stars are only 10 coins, with the exception of the Kamek's Tantalizing Tower board. This makes events like being hit with a Coinado seem minuscule as you'll still easily have enough coins to buy whatever you need later on.
Pro: Character Specific Dice
What good is a large roster of playable characters if the only differences are cosmetic? Well, in Super Mario Party, each character has their own unique dice block that gives them advantages and disadvantages when rolling. For instance, Rosalina's dice block is really solid including two '+2 coins' faces, a 2, 3, 4 and 8. Shy Guy can only roll a 0 or a 4, Dry Bones a 1 or a 6, and characters like Donkey Kong epitomize a high-risk, high-reward play style with a '+5 coins' face, three 0s, and two 10s! No character plays exactly the same, and that's one of the biggest strengths of this game. Knowing the average result of your dice block and which numbers you can actually roll are an integral part of your strategy going into every game.
Con: Only Playable with Joy-Cons
Another qualm some gamers have with this game is that some of the mini games require you to use motion controls. This can be cumbersome and clunky for some, and downright annoying and unenjoyable for others. It also means you can't just use your Pro controllers, which many users of the Nintendo Switch have grown accustomed to.
Mario Party Superstars
In 2021, Mario Party Superstars was released, carrying over the engine and many of the mechanics of its predecessor. However, while only featuring ten playable characters and no character-specific dice blocks, it brings back many fan-favorite maps and minigames that are sure to make long-time fans of the franchise feel very nostalgic. It does less to make the game fresh and distinct from the rest of the series, and instead plays to the strengths of the classics. However, that doesn't mean it's definitively a better choice.
Pro: Brings Back Fan Favorite Mini-games and Boards
Mario Party Superstars may not have any new boards or minigames, but the ones featured in the game are some of the best from older Mario Party titles. Boards like Space Land, Horror Land, and Woody Woods are huge in comparison with some of the ones found in Super Mario Party, and offer much more to see. They also brought back a hundred minigames from old Mario Party titles, heavily weighted toward some of the fan favorites such as Mario Party 2, 3, 5, and 6. It's truly a piece of fan service, in that the classic content from some of the most widely acclaimed titles is included in the new game. However, that's not without it's drawbacks, as we'll discuss later.
Con: No New Boards or Mini-games
As mentioned before, while the game does include some fan-favorite boards and minigames, there isn't any new content here to explore. This might come as a disappointment to some, however the old boards are brought back to life in stunning detail, which makes them feel new again. Chances are, you'll play this game and think "Oh, yeah, that's how it looked in the original" just to look back and realize it has been given a massive facelift. Nostalgia gives you rose-tinted glasses, and this game is no exception!
Pro: Faster Pacing
The inclusion of certain minigames, more lucky spaces, bigger maps, and more expensive stars and items make this game another fast-paced title. You could be just about to win the game, and somebody could use a Boo Bell to yoink one of your stars or a bunch of coins and steal the game. Thus is the joy of Mario Party, at least for some.
Con: Too Many Lucky Spaces
Some players have complained that there are too many lucky spaces in the game. However, that's a matter of personal preference. About a quarter of the blue spaces are lucky spaces, but the benefits of lucky spaces aren't as powerful as they were in Super Mario Party, at least in most instances. Also, the prevalence of these spaces definitely improves the pacing of the game, which is one of the things many people like about it.
Pro: Playable with Both Pro Controllers and in Handheld Mode
Since they removed mandatory motion control minigames from this title, you're able to play it pretty much however you like! This means Pro controllers or even Handheld mode won't interfere with your ability to dominate your friends in some Mario Party madness!
Con: Smaller Character Roster
As mentioned before, Mario Party Superstars doesn't have as many playable characters. However, because the differences between characters is purely aesthetic, it isn't as crucial for the game to have the level of variety as its predecessor. It is a shame, though, if you happen to be a huge fan of one of the characters this game lacks.
Comparison and Contrast
Since both games are parts of the same series, Mario Party, it's not hard to find similarities between them. The two games, Super Mario Party and Mario Party Superstars, are both 4-player local multiplayer titles that aim to provide a thrilling, dynamic, and engaging experience for players to enjoy with family and friends. These games make for ideal group play, allowing players to engage in a diverse range of minigames, where strategy, luck, and skill are put to the test. To the uninitiated, they may seem very alike. However, there are some key differences between them that you should consider if you're looking to pick one up.
Gameplay Mechanics: Super Mario Party brings fresh gameplay features to the table, such as exclusive dice for individual characters, and motion-based games. Meanwhile, Mario Party Superstars takes a different approach, focusing on the return of classic gameplay elements, including complex and sprawling boards, and a faster-paced playstyle.
Available Modes and Features: While Super Mario Party accommodates online play, you're unable to leave a game without ending it. In contrast, Mario Party Superstars incorporates online play that enables players to exit without ending the game. Furthermore, Mario Party Superstars permits players to save local games, an aspect that is missing from Super Mario Party.
Character Roster Size and Diversity: Super Mario Party boasts a larger character roster, with unique dice for each character, which adds a strategic layer to the gameplay. On the flip side, Mario Party Superstars has a smaller character roster, with all characters using standard dice, offering a balanced and conventional gameplay experience, although with limited character options.
Super Mario Party has small and simple boards, requires Joy-Cons to play, and has a slower-paced gameplay style, but it does feature new boards and minigames, the largest character roster to date, and new features such as unique dice for each character. Mario Party Superstars, while not bringing any new boards or minigames to the table, having fewer playable characters, and featuring a copious amount of lucky spaces, does manage to bring back the classic boards and minigames and allow for faster-paced gameplay. It can also be played using Pro controllers or in Handheld mode, which is a plus. However, the differences in these games only runs so deep as they are both great entries to the franchise that would be just as fun, depending on what type of player you are.
So, which one should I get?
Naturally, the final answer on Super Mario Party Vs. Mario Party Superstars is... It depends. But that's not the end of the story. If you're new to the Mario Party franchise, we'd recommend you grab Super Mario Party first! It's a slower-paced game that allows you more wiggle-room with your coins and gives you opportunities to try out interesting new features like character-specific dice blocks. However, if you're accustomed to previous Mario Party games, you're gonna love Mario Party Superstars. It has dozens of great minigames from some of the best titles in the series, and a handful of massive maps from those games as well. It also plays more like those games, where the outcome of the entire match can be decided in the blink of an eye.
Final thoughts on Super Mario Party vs Mario Party Superstars
Overall, Nintendo surely knows what they're doing with the latest installments of the Mario Party franchise. It appears they're taking a second to seriously listen to fans and make changes that will make everybody happy. The two games might be a little different in how they play and what they contain, but both of them are sure to be great introductions to the series, as well as a potent way to relive some sweet childhood memories!