There's loads of stuff in Super Mario Party. In fact, there's arguably more variety than any previous Mario Party game. But what's old? What's new? What's the banana game? Well, in this feature we're going to take you through the lion's share of what's new and improved in the latest game in the Mario Party series.
It may be the return to the old formula that many have been begging for, but the old-fashioned Mario Party isn't the only game mode you'll have available at your fingertips, oh no.
Partner Party is an evolution of the gameplay that first appeared in Mario Party: Star Rush; you move around a grid board freely rather than a set path with a few forks, but this time you'll be doing it with a partner, as the name suggests. That means you'll be involved in a 2v2 party rather than being a total free-for-all, allowing for some interesting strategies to be employed, by which we mean new and exciting ways to shatter your friendships. At least one of them will be maintained.
River Survival is a four-player co-op experience that tasks you with careering down a raging river whilst paddling in sync, slamming into minigame balloons, and avoiding more river-themed obstacles than you can shake an oar at. You're on a time limit to get to the end, but as long as you work together, you'll do brilliantly.
Sound Stage is a minigame rush mode that employs nothing but rhythm and timing. Charge through them to the sound of some classic Mario tunes and see who can score the highest and be potentially crowned the next Mozart.
And finally, if you're more on a solo mission, you can indulge in Challenge Road. This will take you through every one of the 80 minigames on offer with occasionally mixed-up completion requirements. If you breeze through it all too quickly for your liking, return to the start and try and beat the harder challenges that you've just unknowingly unlocked.
Toad's Rec Room
When the party's just a bit too much, you can always retire to Toad's Rec Room for a bit of an old 'chillax'. Here you can play a variety of minigames that aren't really suited to standard board game play, be it due to length, complexity, or requiring more than one Switch console.
Three of the four games only need a single system, but one of them requires two to even function. You have to rotate your consoles around to match up two halves of a banana perfectly, swipe across both screens, and yes it's as ludicrous as it sounds. Break it out at Christmas if you don't want to get into a whole, hour-minimum session.
Playable Characters, Allies, & their Dice Blocks
What's better than having a myriad of playable characters to choose from? Super Mario Party offers more characters than any previous game in the series, with 16 being available the moment you slap your Switch on, and an extra 4 to be unlocked as you progress. That makes a total of 20 for any of you maths fans out there.
Each character also has their own unique die that they can roll. This was also present in Mario Party: Star Rush, but it's been streamlined here to be more universal and less context-sensitive. These special dice can have a face value of up to ten, but can also cause you to gain or lose coins if you're lucky and/or unlucky. Even if your character's die looks rubbish, you never know when it might be beneficial to roll a lower number than usual, or even just stay where you are, especially if you're on an Item Space.
Not only that, but characters that aren't in the party can be called upon by landing on an Ally Space, using the Ally Phone item (known as Buddy Phone outside the UK for some reason), or in the case of Partner Party, just running into them as they stand waiting patiently to have something to do. Every Ally Character you have in your entourage can add up to 2 to your roll each, and you'll also be able to use their special die if you so choose, so try and nab as many of these characters as you can!
If you're looking to take things onto the internet and only destroy long-distance friendships, Super Mario Party has online for the first time in the series. Sadly this doesn't include the main board game modes, but rather a short burst of minigames. The 10 minigames available are divided into cups which rotate as time goes by, and can be played with friends or randomly selected strangers.
You also unlock stickers as you go through the game, which you can arrange on a series of backgrounds and share with the world by taking a screenshot. It's a simple addition, but that's your thing, enjoy!
What's your favourite new feature in Super Mario Party? Let us know by leaving a comment below.