Mario Party is back and this time it's Super! The series had been in decline in recent years, however we can happily confirm that finally Mario Party has once again found its smile. So get your friends together and prepare to no longer be on speaking terms...
A game of Mario Party pretty much always starts off the same way. You've got one or two friends who are overly enthusiastic, and another couple who think they're too cool to play this weird looking kids game, but will humour you anyway. Once you're a couple of minigames in, someone's screwed someone else over and there's that one guy who's has become the butt of the jokes, and then suddenly you realise - it's on!
As always Super Mario Party is full of that Nintendo charm, from its team-based high fives to the disappointed characters' groans when someone else gets a star. The minigames are fun and varied, and the boards are delightfully cruel. Just when you've finished gloating about how far ahead you are, someone steals a star from you and then a bunch more are handed out in the end game, causing you end up last because someone used more items than you. It's frustrating (in the best kind of way) and, like any good board game, it'll bring out the bitterness in the people that only two hours earlier you referred to as friends.
Other game modes aren't really worth playing - there's a motion-based rhythm game which is OK, but everything else feels like filler. We had high hopes for Toad's Rec Room, which consists of a tabletop-only mode, but the minigames on offer here were a bit underwhelming and communication issues prevented us from trying its much-hyped dual Switch mode.
The game can be played in either docked or tabletop mode, however, like 1-2 Switch, due to motion controls don't expect to be able to play in handheld mode or use a Pro controller. Super Mario Party is meant to be played locally with three other people - even the online functionality is restricted purely to minigames - so if you want to enjoy the game properly, local multiplayer is the only real option. If you can't accommodate this, you might feel a bit short changed, but if you can, Super Mario Party is definitely up there with the best in the series.
SUPER MARIO PARTY / DEVELOPER: NINTENDO / PUBLISHER: NINTENDO / PLATFORM: NINTENDO SWITCH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW