A new Mario Party game is out, and that means new mini-games. As a Nintendo Switch title with mini-games, Super Mario Party will have you shaking those Joy-Cons. Fortunately, Nintendo isn't as obsessed with the motion controls as it was in the Wii days. It's actually something I cover in my review of the game, but the gist is that Super Mario Party expertly balances motion mini-games with more standard fare.
Still, I couldn't go into as much detail as I would have liked in the review, so here are ten mini-games that really showcase what Super Mario Party has to offer.
Slaparazzi has four players competing to be in the center of a photograph. You can see the Koopa photographer approach and set up his camera, allowing you plenty of time to prepare. The problem is that the three other players are trying to punch you out of the frame. It's a chaotic brawl with ticking clock, the kind of stuff Mario Party mini-game legends are made of.
Sign, Steal, Deliver
1v3 mini-games have to be challenging from a design standpoint. It always seems that the single player is given an overwhelming advantage or that the team of three just beats them into submission. This game is great because it's well balanced. The single player gets a drone to pick up packages while the team of three has to climb stairs. The team has a numbers advantage, but that's offset by the drone's ability to steal their packages. Aside from being a fun game, the setting is also a reference to the infamous Hotel Mario. That's a deep dive.
Shell Shocked Deluxe
The Switch's unique hardware allows mini-games to get really innovative. Shell Shocked Deluxe takes advantage of the fact that the console is also a tablet by having you wirelessly connect two Switches to form a joint battlefield. All it takes is lying them on the table next to one another and, boom, you have all sorts of oddly shaped maps your TV could never produce.
Don't Wake Wiggler
This game is one of the dreaded motion-controlled mini-games, but it has a compelling twist. You're not supposed to furiously wave your Joy-Con around, because gentleness is the key to victory here. The goal is to pet Wiggler as it sleeps. Do it too much and it awakens in a rage, ending the game. The result is a tense match of carefully pushing the limit while waiting for your opponents to mess up.
Hammer and Sic 'Em
On the surface, Hammer and Sic 'Em is another one of those classic brawl mini-games. Each of the four players has a hammer and a ballon. The goal is clear, and last man, woman, or turtle with their ballon wins. That's already fun, but there's added insanity in the form of the new ally system. Players can pick up allies during the main board game, and these A.I. friends will assist in certain mini-games. Here, they wander around trying to bop opponents. As you can imagine, the resulting cluster of hammers is a beautiful mess.
What A Racket
Back to the 1v3 games for another one that seems pretty well balanced. Three players hit bombs that drop from the sky at the single player, who carries a giant racket to fend them off. I've only played it a few times with friends, so I can't tell how balanced it truly is. All I do know is that I get excited whenever it shows up, and that's the sign of a great mini-game.
There is something to be said for a mini-game that lets you just go wild. Trike Harder is exactly that. The humorous premise is that of an epic tricycle race. The track is like ten feet long, which makes it a mad dash to peddle your stubby Shy Guy legs like you never have before. You do this by rotating the Joy-Con, turning the competition into a furious bout of forearm-spinning frenzy. It's a ridiculous good time.
Croozin' For A Broozin'
This one is amazing just for its setting. Broozers, a group of flailing boxing glove-clad ghosts, are chasing the players through an endless hallway. Obstacles manifest as you go, and if you're too slow the Broozers punch you offscreen. It's your typical "run until only one person is left" scenario, but it earns a top spot simply because the Broozers are the greatest.
Time To Shine
What's the point in having motion controls if you don't make people dance? The Sound Stage mode is all about rhythm games, and Time To Shine is one of the best. Waluigi, the meme man himself, strikes a series of poses. Players have to quickly mimic his moves. It's a basic game, but the speed and visuals make it the kind of silly fun Mario Party is known for.
Just For Kicks
Sometimes a mini-game manages to be an entire game in and of itself. That's even more true with Super Mario Party's ally system. Thanks to the ability to have up to 16 characters playing at once, Just For Kicks becomes a full-fledged soccer game. Or at least a very convincing mini-game version of one.
Super Mario Party is out now for Nintendo Switch.