Recent Mario Party games have had a somewhat sterile feel to them, but with Super Mario Party (the Switch's first Mario Party outing), that simply isn’t the case. This isn’t a cash grab with Mario's face on the front; this is a well-constructed and beautifully realised Mario Party game which takes the series right back to its roots, but without being a straightforward rehash.
There are a few interesting ideas that feel a little bit underdeveloped — such as the overhyped Challenge mode — but on the whole Super Mario Party is a true return to form after it felt like the series was sagging on the Wii, Wii U, and DS consoles.
Making the leap over to the Wii means a lot of motion controls, so Mario Party 8 already feels a bit different right out of the gate. But there were plenty of times when we didn't feel like this was the next big jump for the Mario Party series. With no online play, visuals that look on par with the GameCube titles, and a limp single-player mode, Mario Party has done plenty better before (and after) this.
However, it's hard to deny that we did enjoy playing this with friends and watching them waggle their Wii Remotes as they attempted to win. It's still a fun party experience that belongs with the Wii's initial slate of multiplayer games, but we know the series can do better.
Mario Party 4 is a definite party favourite for many, but for some, it was less of a jump or advancement of the series. The sheer uncertainty and the many features and games will keep it enjoyable for a long time, and some all-time classic minigames were introduced here, from Booksquirm to Dungeon Duos.
Once again, the single-player is just a dull add-on, and the fact that there are only 40 normal minigames definitely hurts replayability, but this is an overall solid Mario Party game that has stood the test of time and already evolved into a near-perfect multiplayer party game. It is worth showing your face at this party, even if you do show up fashionably late, as the party bag contains way more than just a paper hat.
For a handheld entry in the series, Mario Party DS has an addictive and wide variety of enjoyable minigames (over 70 including the puzzle ones) that we enjoyed. From rapidly slicing cucumbers to running around a maze snapping photographs of your rivals or blowing out candles for your character to hop across, this pocket-sized party is a decent transition to handheld consoles.
The story mode can annoy if victory is snatched away in the last few turns, and the lack of multiplayer does hurt party mode a bit. Not being able to invite friends to join you in a game reduces its longevity, but there's enough content in Mario Party DS to keep the solo player occupied for some time.
The GameCube's Mario Party swansong is a decent send-off for the series as Mario and friends look to future generations, but Mario Party 7 is the definition of a safe sequel. Our favourite thing about Mario Party 7 is the ability to play with up to eight people, sharing the controller between friends, albeit with simpler controls for some minigames.
We'll absolutely take being able to have a bigger party, for sure, even if it might cause even more squabbles among the family. It caps off a solid run for the series on the purple box, at the very least.
Mario Party 5 came in thick and fast after the first GameCube iteration, and with it came Capsules. Out with the items and in with the little plastic balls that you could use to consume helpful boosts or set up traps for your closely-matched rivals. We rather liked the fun Paper Mario nod with the Star Spirits, but there's no denying that this is even more of the same. If you like Mario Party, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
This fifth numbered entry has a solid set of boards and minigames to keep you and the family entertained, and it maintains a solid track record for the GameCube entries, but as another entry that does little to advance the formula, you don't need to run out to grab this one unless you spot it for cheap, even if you can't go wrong with this one.