When it comes to playing with the family or some friends, few games can deliver as much fun as Mario Party. The famous hero wearing a red hat, along with his pals and enemies, have starred in over ten Mario Party installments. This shows that players are still enjoying the games. All the way back from 1998 to modern day, Mario Party has ruled the virtual board game market. Other famous characters have tried, (such as in Sonic Shuffle and Pac-Man Fever) but none have enjoyed the grand success of the Mario Party series.
Though every installment brings some layer of fun, there is genuine criticism to be levied against the series. Though one can amass many Stars, in the blink of an eye everything can be lost. On the final turn, a player can go from first place to last place. That can be annoying, sure, but with others, it can create some great laughs. At its worst, Mario Party can be tedious, but at its best, Mario Party is the ultimate way to spend a Saturday evening with friends. The games are accessible for both longtime players and non-gamers. Anyone can play Mario Party; the series invites anyone of any age. For this list, we'll be taking a look at every Mario Party game ranked from worst to best.
A long time ago, Nintendo released the e-Reader, which was a fun little accessory for the Game Boy Advance. The device could be used in some games to open up new features, an example being extra levels in the Game Boy Advance remake of Super Mario Bros. 3. In 2003, Nintendo released Mario Party-e, which took advantage of the e-Reader.
Mario Party-e is primarily a card game to be played in person. The e-Reader isn't required, but if one player has it and a Game Boy Advance, minigames can be played to enhance the card game. The actual minigames are fun enough, though incredibly simplistic. Of course, one can't expect much when the minigames are just there as an add-on and not the main focus.
Mario Party Advance is the first full-fledged handled title in the Mario Party series. It brought many of the iconic things, such as the dice roll and frantic minigames, to a small console. Though it is admirable that Nintendo put a lot of work into making a portable Party experience, the game falters in one critical area: it isn't much of a party.
Mario Party Advance isn't a bad game. Most of the minigames are fun. The thing is that it seems to be tailored for a single player experience - but how many people throw a party just for themselves, let alone play a party game unaccompanied? There is some multiplayer support, but the main party mode isn't available. Instead, the main "party mode" (called Shroom City) is made to be more of an RPG experience, complete with quests. It is admirably lengthy, but can get tedious if you play it for extended periods.
The latest Mario Party, Star Rush is perhaps the most unique game in the series. Gone is the usual board-based play in favor of a new main mode: Toad Scramble. For the first time, all the players move at once. The mode also implements a unique gather-allies feature, which eventually concludes in facing a boss battle minigame. It's great Nintendo thought up something brand new for the series, but it doesn't stop Star Rush from being on the bare bones side.
The biggest drawback is the minigame count. There are only 53 mini-games. To put that in perspective, Mario Party DS had 73 minigames. (To add more insult, the original Mario Party had just three shy of 53.) A lot of the minigames aren't even that good. Toad Scramble is worth a look, but as a whole, Star Rush doesn't justify the price tag.
Mario Party 8 released just six months after the Nintendo Wii launched. As one would expect, the game uses the Wii remote extensively. After all, with the Wii being the pioneer in motion control, it makes sense Nintendo would want to show it off as much as possible right? Sure, but that's the beginning of this game's downfall.
Too many of the minigames require pointing at the screen. It's okay in small batches, but Nintendo went overboard with implementing motion control in this game. It's fun enough if you have others to play with of course, but in terms of overall quality, all the other home console Mario Party Games are better. Plus, Party 8's graphics are barely passable, looking not much better than an early GameCube game.
Island Tour is the first Mario Party game on the 3DS, and also the first handheld game in the series since Mario Party DS six years prior. Like DS, Island Tour only requires one game card to play with others locally. That's good, because with the franchise's signature luck-based play being rampant here, playing alone could get tedious.
That's not to say Island Tour is an awful game. The boards are diverse. Typically the goal is to get to the end, which has its upsides and downsides. The luck-based gameplay, as stated earlier, is a bit much. For example, in the Banzai Billboard, one character can summon a giant torpedo by a roll of the dice. This can be amusing to make fun of when playing with others but is still a mechanical oversight. The minigames are solid, though there's barely any minigame modes to speak of, which is a crime in Mario Party.
By the time Mario Party 8 rolled around, the series had become formulaic. Hit the dice, random things happen, play mini-game, and repeat. It made sense then that in Mario Party 9, Nintendo switched things up. The car gimmick was interesting, though controversial, because it took away some of the competitive nature since everyone moves together. Still, it was admirable that Nintendo tried something fresh. It was okay solely for one game, but for some reason Nintendo brought it back for Mario Party 10.
The biggest negative of Mario Party's 9 system was that minigames could only be played if a player landed on certain spaces. This 'feature' returned in Party 10, which was a terrible move. (It's technically possible to go through an entire session without playing a single minigame!) That's a shame, because Party 10's minigames are excellent. Sadly, 10 has fewer minigames and fewer boards than 9. The addition of Bowser Party was welcome, though it can be unbalanced.
Mario Party 9 is perhaps the most controversial game in the series. It was the first to implement a brand new play style for the main Party Mode. Instead of the usual players hit dice and run around the board, this time everyone rides together in a car. Each board has its own unique vehicle to ride around in. It's an interesting approach, but it can take away from the competitive board game feel the series is known for.
If one grows tired of the car, Party 9 offers a bunch of minigame modes, unlike Party 10. On the subject of minigames, since 9 was released toward the end of the Wii's lifespan, the minigames have a much better balance of motion control and standard play than Mario Party 8. Though 9's car idea wasn't the best, it was admirable Nintendo attempted to change things up.
7 was the last Mario Party on the Nintendo GameCube. There isn't much to say about this installment mainly because it does little to differentiate itself from previous games. There are no big gimmicks or innovations, and thus it's on the rather plain side. It does, however, offer a whopping 88 minigames.
The boards in Party 7 are decent enough, and there are plenty of minigame modes to play around with. The impressive number of minigames are diverse, featuring genuine challenges. The "Clock Stoppers" mini-game will always be a quality test of accuracy on the player, and "Ghost in the Hall," though luck based, is a lot of fun too. Though Party 7 is probably the most generic Mario Party, if you enjoy the series, you will enjoy this one.
This is the game that started it all. The original Mario Party laid the foundation for all its sequels. From the dice roll to blue spaces awarding three coins, it all originates here. Though sequels built upon and improved the overall concept, Mario Party holds up. Who can't help but smile when the awesome opening cutscene plays?
There are quite a few highlights in the Mario Party minigame lineup. "Running of the Bulb" is intense, and there's classic platforming in "Platform Peril." As for Party Mode, its simple rules are inviting. Though, the outcomes of some minigames are a bit on the harsh side, as it can be too easy to lose coins. Despite that system, Mario Party is a classic. It's a shame it still has not been released on the Virtual Console.
A sequel is supposed to go bigger, and that's what Mario Party 2 does. It features more minigames and new features that would become a staple in the series. It features two fewer boards, but it makes up for that in having a cool addition: the characters dress up according to the boards' corresponding themes. Who doesn't smile at seeing Deputy Mario in Western Land? The boards themselves have a lot of charm.
Party 2 features duel minigames and battle minigames for the first time. It also features items the players can use. In short, it improves and expands upon its predecessor. Party 2 could be even higher on this list if not for this unfortunate fact: it takes a lot of minigames from the first Party. Party 2 features plenty of great, original mini games, but to also recycle so many from its predecessor is a bit of a crime.
In 2007, Nintendo finally gave players a true portable Mario Party experience. There was Mario Party Advance, of course, but that game failed to deliver the actual party. Mario Party DS picks up the slack by introducing wireless play with just one game card. That's right; with just one card, up to four people can play Party Mode together. This is great, but what about the actual quality of the game? Mario Party DS delivers on all fronts.
The minigames take advantage of the DS's capabilities. The Stylus is perfectly used in minigames such as "Cucumberjacks" and "Goomba Wrangler." The mic is also used nicely, such as in "Big Blowout." Though Mario Party DS isn't too different than the games that preceded it, it does a perfect job of bringing the experience on the go with an impressive number of minigames and diverse boards.
Mario Party 6 is perhaps best known for its day and night system. Taking a page from Mario Party 2's Horror Land board, Party 6's boards changes when the game switches to nighttime and vice versa. This adds an extra layer of fun to an already great Mario Party.
Mario Party 6 has a fantastic collection of minigames. Who could forget classics such as "Granite Getaway" and "Lift Leapers"? To enjoy the minigames outside of Party Mode, the game offers an impressive amount of minigame modes. As for Party Mode, it isn't too different than its predecessors. The boards, however, do offer some nice diversity, from Faire Square giving players the ability to buy up to five stars in one area to chasing Donkey Kong in Clockwork Castle. Mario Party 6 is a game that never gets old with friends.
Mario Party 3 was the last installment on the Nintendo 64. On the surface, it may not appear too different than its predecessors. Party 3, however, stands above the previous two games in a few ways. The primary reasons are the interesting assortment of minigames and the unique Duel Mode.
Quite a few of Mario Party 3's minigames require memory skills. This is apparent in "Curtain Call," "Messy Memory," and especially "M.P.I.Q." It's nice to see a good number of minigames testing the player like this. There are also other notable minigames, including playing golf in "Chip Shot Challenge" and even Tetris in "Mario's Puzzle Party"! Duel Mode is a nice change of pace when wanting to do something different than the usual Party Mode.
Mario Party 5 was the second installment on the GameCube. It doesn't change the formula; if you played the previous four games, you know what to expect. Despite being perhaps "more of the same," Party 5 packs a lot of content and is easily one of the most fun games out there to play with friends.
The boards are inviting, but the greatest aspect of Party 5 is the outstanding assortment of quality minigames. Who could forget getting through the horde in "Pushy Penguins," or taking friends out in "Fish Upon a Star"? The 1-vs.-3 and 2-vs.-2 minigames are also excellent. There are some nice minigame modes and even a bonus mode where players can play volleyball and ice hockey, along with an interesting game called Card Party. There's also an epic addition exclusive to Party 5 called Super Duel Mode, where players can customize battle machines to duke it out.
Mario Party 5 is a prime example of how fun the series can be and is only usurped by one other game.
It doesn't get much better than Mario Party 4. It came out way back in 2002 and graphically looks better than some Wii games. The boards are inviting and the minigames -oh boy- the minigames are the greatest in the franchise. Every minigame is excellent. Trying to avoid getting slammed in "Chain Chomp Fever," or team up in "Dungeon Duos"? To top everything else, "Booksquirm" could be the greatest minigame of all time.
Mario Party 4 takes everything that made the Nintendo 64 games fun and multiples it, giving players the definitive Mario Party experience. Party Mode is at its finest, always giving friends and family the ultimate of laughs. The best minigames, fun boards, and overall presentation earns Mario Party 4 the title of being the greatest party game out there.