The 11th installment of the Mario Party series has been released, and it’s… just okay. Of the eleven titles, I have personally played at least half and absolutely adore them. Mario Party is fun, engaging, and you can play with friends and family. The game itself (the boardgamey portion) is competitive, and the mini-games kick that atmosphere up to levels arguably in the same realm as Monopoly. This is the game experience I’ve come to expect. Each game has usually come with some extras like side games and collectibles, but on the large, I have ignored these for the core game as it was always the draw for me. I am sad to report that this may not be the case with Super Mario Party. I’ve only given this title a few hours of my time thus far, and fully intend to delve deeper in the following days, but after two fifteen-turn (approx. 90-minute) games, I actually had more fun playing one of the side-games.
I’ve only played two of the maps/boards available so far, but they both feel extremely small and cramped. It feels like every three or four turns you’ve already explored the entire playing field. Granted, there are more “active” spaces, it seems; the maps are interactive, and there is usually some sort of event you need to keep track of during your play-through. I’m going to hold out hope that future boards yet to be unlocked will feel a bit more expansive and provide a game that doesn’t feel quite so rushed. Super Mario Party does offer a large number of game options outside of the main event, and I can appreciate that. There is a rafting adventure, a dance competition, and Toad’s Rec Room provides multiple smaller games to play via connecting two Switch consoles together for a “tabletop” game.
All in all, I’m not mad at Super Mario Party; I think I was just expecting something amazing from this new installation, given the hardware they have to work with. Currently, the mini-games I’ve played have been lackluster, and the boards leave a little to be desired as well. But I’ve only spent a few hours with it, so I’m willing to keep an open mind. Stay tuned to Geeks + Gamers for a full review!