Nintendo has released 14 Mario Party games up until 2017. Now, at the end of the year, they give us a new addition to the franchise, Mario Party: The Top 100. It’s their 15th game and it’s almost been a full 20 years since the series began. The game highlights the best minigames in the series’s history, according to Nintendo and their sample audience.
It’s kind of a given that people will disagree with a good portion of the minigames chosen. I am no different and I have no problem with that. Additionally, Nintendo altered the minigames in three ways that I did not appreciate; they either shortened them, got rid of the variety within, or made them easier.
The game includes five modes to complement those minigames. The first is 100 Minigames, where there is the option to “favorite” minigames and play anything against computers on any difficulty. Since the game features so many minigames, it was a wise move to include the “favorite” option.
The main reason to play this game is for Minigame Island, which originally premiered in the first Mario Party on the Nintendo 64. Several difficulties are also available for this mode. The map is laid out the same for every playthrough. This creates an issue for those not skilled at revolving their control stick or mashing buttons quickly. Examples of this are Tug O’ War and coincidentally enough, Button Mashers.
The goal is to collect as many stars as possible with 300 total around the board. While venturing the board, it’s notable that beside each space is a landmark. These landmarks represents what the minigame is, which I found to be some great game design. There are four worlds and several times throughout, a boss appears to confront the player in a difficult minigame.
Every Mario Party has an option for the board game mode. For the past few years, this has been pretty nonexistent compared to how it used to be. Now, in Mario Party: The Top 100 everybody rolls the dice block at the same time, taking their turns at the same time and they play minigames when someone encounters a minigame balloon.
The games end much quicker and generate less interest or sentimentality toward the outcome of each. Not only that, there is absolutely nothing drawing the player to the board. No landmarks or notable features. It’s a Mario Party game except the charm is gone from the board game aspect.
Next is Championship Battles; a unique concept but I don’t see myself playing it too often. Everybody picks a set of five minigames to enter the game with. In it, one minigame from each contribution is chosen for a poll and then the competitors choose which of the four they want to play. This would have worked better if it was part of some larger mode like the board game idea mentioned earlier.
There’s one thing Nintendo added which I was actually thinking of. They included a decathlon and half decathlon of minigames where records are achieved in each. This mode brings something new to the table. Minigames that were not timed in their initial renditions such as Track & Yield, are now timed. The mode also records overall rankings for how the player performed throughout these minigames.
Optimally, Nintendo would apply this concept to as many games as they could. For example, it would have been perfect if they converted Bombs Away to this format as a kind of survival minigame.
Finally, the minor parts of the game are the collection and the “Play With Friends” mode. The collection is where the soundtrack, items throughout the game, series guide to each game, and the staff credits are stored. It would have been more helpful to the audience if Nintendo included all information regarding these categories for each game. Even the collection portion feels too minimal for a “top 100” game.
Finally there’s “Play With Friends”, which has been on handheld for the series since the DS installment. As usual, players can play with one another if at least one person owns the game. This always works well, though I didn’t test it myself here.
Mario Party: The Top 100 has the potential to be the perfect Mario Party game but Nintendo and their developer were lazy. The game is exceptional regarding graphical and sound updates. The modes and minigames need improvement, though. Overall, it’s a decent game that deserves recognition among Mario Party fans.Tweet