If you had a Nintendo 64, there's no doubt you managed to wrangle your family (or friends) in for a few games of a few multiplayer games featuring the Italian plumber at Christmas. But, of all of them, Mario Party may have spawned a few too many arguments that have spawned an amusing life-long legacy of familial rivalries and blistered hands.
There have been 17 main Mario Party games since the series debuted in 1998, and with that many titles out there, how on earth do you choose which Party to pack to your next school (or family) reunion? Well, we're counting on you lovely lot for that. No, we don't want any bickering — it's our (your) job to give the stars out, not win them this time around. We asked you to rank every single Mario Party game that you've played, and below, you'll be able to find out which one is the prime party candidate, and what should be left in their gift wrap and returned.
We've excluded the Japan-only arcade games and that rather odd GBA e-Reader title from the rankings — mostly because we're old and we can't afford to go to Japan to seek these gems out, or because the e-Reader is a fickle beast and never showed its face on European shores...
You can rank the Mario party games going forward. The order below is updated in real-time, and changed depending on the overall User Rating in our secret little database. Things might be very different the next time you look at this list. So, if you haven't had the chance to hand out some stars, simply click the star by the game you want to rate below, and assign a score right now.
So, line up at the start, roll your dice, and move the appropriate number of spaces forward to see who comes out on top with the most stars:
Nd Cube's decision to bring back 100 beloved minigames from the Mario Party series is admirable, but Mario Party: The Top 100 falls short as a package in the way it delivers those bite-sized delights. While it may hold the record for the most minigames, The Top 100 certainly has the least amount of content and the lowest replayability.
The game set out to compile a collection of the best minigames from the ten console games, and in some ways, Nd Cube has accomplished that with great results. The minigames have been revamped for the 3DS, which makes the initial time spent with the game an awesome walk through nostalgia lane. But after one or two playthroughs, you'll start to see that this feels like a rushed project that is hugely limited by the hardware with that in mind it fails to live up to its full potential.
Going in with the right expectations will help shape your enjoyment of Mario Party Advance; there's none of the raucous action and minigame madness of the console games in this portable party, but it offers up its own attractions within the board game frame. There are some charming Quests with great writing, fun, solo-focused mini-games, and a toy box full of wonderfully whimsical Gaddgets to explore.
But the Mario Party series has always been about multiplayer, and the lack of it here — apart from some four-hands one-GamePad microgames — is a definite disappointment. The huge role played by the roll of the dice can be frustrating at times, too, but if you're up for a less prototypical Party there may be something here for you.
Where the series was already showing signs of wear and tear, the last numbered Mario Party tries to incorporate amiibos to the point where it's a little bit too reliant. Still, Mario Party 10 can be a multiplayer game, and it's still polished and undeniably entertaining at times. The Bowser Party mode, in particular, was a great example of how the Wii U's bespoke features could be used to create a compelling multiplayer experience that extends beyond minigames, though it's extremely limited in replayability as a result.
We like how the game utilises the GamePad, but even with the changes, this feels like a tired entry in the series. But, if you want a light-hearted game to enjoy with a group of friends, regardless of their skill level, you could do a lot worse than this.
Mario Party: Island Tour may still be a sound purchase for kids, families or anyone looking to play with friends, but there are clear misfires and shortcomings that plague the game boards. Those seeking a long-lasting single-player experience may want to steer clear as there isn't enough depth to the solo-focused modes to keep you engaged for very long, and Island Tour is yet another entry that doesn't do much to differentiate from its predecessors.
Many of the boards are throwaways, and a handful of game modes are forgettable, hurting the overall experience in a big way. Thankfully, there's a great collection of minigames that may give enough of a reason for many to roll the dice.
In a shake-up for the series, Mario Party 9 makes the most major changes to the Mario Party formula that we've seen in years, for both better and worse. Streamlining proceedings to a short and snappy rush of mini-games, it's much less predictable than previous instalments, with boss battles that don't outstay their welcome and less-distracting minigames. But the lack of a 'Classic' mode, the poorly-explained Captain Events, and the short parties often leave something to be desired.
We can't deny that this game ditches some of the dead wood in favour of a fresh approach that emphatically reminds us why the series has been going for 14 years, but some of the changes seem to forget what makes Mario Party fun in the first place.
Mario Party: Star Rush may not excel in many ways, but it addresses some complaints from past entries and delivers some harmless entertainment. It's entertaining and charming and offers some easy-going minigame fun. The main modes have a nice variety and sense of purpose (aside from two duds), and the overall offering includes a mix of longer-form and quickfire gameplay options.
The free 'Guest' download is a brilliant touch for quick and easy local multiplayer if you've only got one full copy on hand -- we wished that more games would use this feature. However, because of hardware limitations and a few disappointing modes, we're not sure you should rush out to buy this entry, even if it still shows that Mario and company can be stars of a party.