You would think that after 15 games, Mario and co. would be completely partied out. Apparently not, as this time the Mushroom Kingdom is holding a special party bash to celebrate the most integral part of any Mario Party game… the mini-games! Take a stroll down nostalgia lane with 100 mini-games from the past ten years (yes, Mario Party turns ten this year in Japan) in Mario Party: The Top 100!
Is Mario Party: The Top 100 the ultimate celebration, or is it worse than that one party I hosted when nobody turned up? Find out in our review after the break… and after I’ve finished crying!
Mario Party: The Top 100
Nintendo 3DS Family Systems
Developed by Nd Cube
Published by Nintendo
Released: 22nd December 2017
Screenshots courtesy of Nintendo
Let me start by saying that I absolutely love the Mario Party games, and have fond childhood memories of them. In fact, the only Mario Party game I lack at the moment is Mario Party 3… one day I’ll behold your beauty and frantic multiplayer fights!
The idea that Nintendo were making a game where it’s concept was to include the best Mario Party mini-games had me really excited. It reminded me of the times family friends would visit for New Years, and while the adults would become incapacitated with wine downstairs, the me and my friends would play 50 turns of Mario Party in my bedroom on a small 15 inch CRT TV. But enough with the sentimental phooey, let’s get on with the review!
The main focus of The Top 100 are the mini-games. Each of the 100 mini-games from previous games have been remade specifically for the 3DS with updated visuals, and even remixes of old music. Some of these improvements definitely improve the gameplay. For example, in Mario Party 2, the mini-game Dizzy Dancing has you controlling directional challenged players to collect the musical note in the middle. The first person to grab it wins. However, in The Top 100, whoever has collected the most randomly spawned notes is declared the winner, extending the enjoyability of the game. This is just one example of mini-game improvements.
One thing in particular that I love about the mini-games is the fact the most of the music still remains but has simply received a remix. Even when you have played a mini-game, the victory music from the relevant Mario Party game plays, which is another sweet little throwback.
You will initially start with 55 mini-games off the bat, if you want to unlock more, then you’ll need to visit Mini-game Island. This single-player mode is set-up similarly to the map in New Super Mario Bros, but instead of taking one stage at a time, you take it one mini-game at a time. Anyone remember mini-game island from the original Mario Party. This is quite a neat way to unlock new mini-games to play without having to earn lots of coins to purchase them, you can also unlock some items in the collection so you can brush up on your Mario Party history. Additionally, you can choose to play in Hard Mode once you’ve completed it. Other than that, it’s a fairly short mode which can be completed in a couple of hours, and then you will likely not go back to it.
Unfortunately this is where Mario Party: The Top 100 starts to really go downhill. Even though 100 mini-games has been the most amount of mini-games in any other Mario Party title, it still feels like there is an unfair balance in representation of each Mario Party game. An example of this is the fact that there are only six mini-games from Mario Party and four from Mario Party 10, yet there are 17 from Mario Party 5. Surely there could be a fairer balance, or at the very least up the amount of mini-games. I understand this may seem very demanding of me, but when the main focus is the mini-games, you would expect a fair representation from each game, wouldn’t you?
There is a board-game mode, Mini-game Match, very similar to Balloon Match in star Rush where you all move at the same time, unfortunately this feels very uninspired as there is only one map, the map is very small, and there is barely anything exciting happening. The other modes feel just as inspired.
Championship Battles basically pick mini-games from random, and pits all the players against each other. In Decathlon, similar concept but you are trying to get the best scores and there is a pre-set choice of mini-games which remains the same. That’s about all there is. Sure you can use wireless play to play with other friends, both those who have the game and those who do not through download play, but that still requires extra 3DS systems and you still have the same uninspired modes available. Maybe you’ll play a handful of mini-games, but you’ll eventually tire of it.
Overall, Mario Party: The Top 100 seems like a fantastic concept, but even all those little throwbacks aren’t enough to salvage this uninspired party. There is so much potential missed with this entry and surely Mario Party deserves better (especially at it’s current RRP). Maybe it’s better suited for younger players, who knows, but either way it is a bit of a disappointment… plus, where’s my Crazy Cutter and Hot Bob-Omb!
Maybe the game is worth your time if you just have to own every Mario Party or if you are looking for a little gift for younger gamers, I’m sure they will have a blast, but if you do not fall under that category, unfortunately I cannot fully recommend Mario Party: The Top 100. Try getting Mario Party 2 on the Wii and Wii U Virtual Console instead.
Mario Party: The Top 100 is out now for Nintendo 3DS Family Systems.