Mario Party Superstars Review: A Nostalgic Blast That Needs Something More

Mario Party Superstars is ready to reel fans of the hit Nintendo franchise back into its archives. If you did not know, the party game will drop soon with some of the series' best moments from the Nintendo 64 era. Of course, this means all eyes are on Mario to see how this blast from the past fairs, and it will easily satisfy diehard fans. But for those expecting another full-blown entry to the Mario Party line, well – this will leave you wanting.

To break things down, Mario Party Superstars is slated to join the franchise as its 12th title following 2018's Super Mario Party. The new game is focused on the series' earliest era, so Nintendo 64 lovers will find Mario Party Superstars comforting. A slew of classic boards like Space Land and Horror Land are revived in this game with a gorgeous HD overlay. And, of course, 100 of the franchise's best mini-games from the decades past come with the deal.

Given the game's focus on the past, it is no surprise this game leans into nostalgia. Mario Party Superstars is simple in the same way the franchise intended decades ago. There are no character dices to worry about, and the board-specific rules are spelled out easily for new players who need a bit of help. As for everyone who grew up on the original Mario Party titles, it is special having them redone in HD, and gamers can even play as Birdo for the first time since 2012. But if you go into Mario Party Superstars hoping for an all-new experience, you better think again.

At its launch, Mario Party Superstars is fairly limited. There is a total of five boards to play on with 100 mini-games curated from the series' catalog. Of course, a good few of them come from the Nintendo 64 era, but you will find a few games from more recent titles. Fans shouldn't expect any brand-new games to pop into rotation, and the same goes for boards. Sure, the levels look gorgeous in their remastered glory, but they come straight from the Nintendo 64. Plenty of players may not have tried the boards until now, but if you are a longtime fan, don't hold out for any surprises.

While the boards and games might leave some disappointed, Mario Party Superstars is loaded with enough features to get anyone out of their funk. For one, this Nintendo title allows gamers to play with Switch Joy-Cons like usual or paired controllers. It is a total game-changer in terms of accessibility, and I can say playing Mario Party has never felt better than with a wireless pro controller. This addition alone is worthy of praise, and Nintendo did take an extra step with its online offerings in Mario Party Superstars.

The online mode was not available for testing during our review period, but Nintendo has expanded its online play options for Mario Party Superstars. There are different mini-game modes offline as you'd expect, but players can take on survival or daily challenges online. These online offerings will add some variety to players who want to test their mettle against others. But if you local play is what you prefer, same-system and local wireless options are always available.

Mario Party Superstars might not reinvent the wheel in any way, but its additions are very much wanted. From online play to controller pairing, these little additions add up to something special. Fans new and old will definitely find joy in this nostalgic remake, so die-hard players just need to keep their expectations in line. Mario Party Superstars is a fun game like those before it, and its nostalgic flair is endearing enough to cover its flaws. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

Mario Party Superstars is available on the Nintendo Switch starting October 29th. A digital code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review, and it was reviewed on a Nintendo Switch Lite.