Game Review: Mario Party: The Top 100– Minigame Madness

Photo courtesy of Nintendo.   Photo courtesy of Nintendo. I always felt like the minigames in Mario Party were like Lucky Charms marshmallows – the delicious prize floating amongst the mostly bland board-game-like gameplay. If you love Mario Party mostly for its minigames, Nintendo developer Nd Cube has a treat for you with Mario Party: The Top 100. A collection of minigames from the entire Mario Party franchise, The Top 100 allows you to play all sorts of Mario Party minigames in a few different ways. The title alone mostly explains exactly what Mario Party: The Top 100 is all about: the 100 best minigames from the Mario Party franchise all squeezed onto your 3DS. If you don’t mind playing against bots and want to dispense with any formality, you can jump right into the minigame action, of which there are all sorts. Unfortunately, not all of the minigames are available from the get-go, even in the “100 Minigames” mode. To unlock all of them, you have to play through them on Minigame Island – a single player mash-up of Super Mario overworld and Mario Party minigames. Winning minigames gets you stars and allows you to progress, while being in last place will make you lose a life.  There are four worlds of minigames to play through, each made up of at least two sections. In Minigame Island you can use certain supported Amiibo to get coins, but they can only be used once a day and the boost they give you is minimal. Photo courtesy of Nintendo. Anyone who has played a Mario Party game in the past will probably recognize a few of the minigames as they play, and will most likely find a few of their favorites in the process. Since many come from N64 or Gamecube era games, they actually get a bit of a graphical boost coming over to the 3DS. The games have been altered slightly for the translation, though the gameplay for each manages to stay intact despite the transition. The collection is truly eclectic: some rely on motion controls or the stylus; there are brain teasers or puzzles, while others are closer to shooters or platformers, requiring quick reflexes. There are free-for-alls, games where teams of two compete, or three players will have to face off against one, or vice versa. From one game to the next there will be great variety: one moment you’ll be catching ice cream to get the biggest cone, the next you’ll be trying to race to complete jigsaw puzzles. It's a game that's perfect for those with short attention spans or for playing on the go, since minigames usually take less than 30 seconds to complete. In other game modes, such as the Championship Battle or Decathalon, you can adjust the AI difficulty for increased challenge. Photo courtesy of Nintendo. Mario Party: The Top 100 is best played with friends, and you can play locally with up to three other players with just one game cartridge using the 3DS’s built in Download Play function. You can challenge them in a best of three or five minigame Championship, a score-based minigame Decathalon, or play the Mario Party-like Minigame Match. Minigame Match is similar to older Mario Party titles in which you roll dice to collect coins to spend on stars. Just like Mario Party, there is a whole lot of luck involved and the minigames take a bit of a back seat. If you don’t have three other friends to play with, AI controlled bots can fill in the empty spots. In fact, if you don’t have anyone else to play with and still hanker for minigame action, all of the game modes can be played with difficulty-adjustable bots. Photo courtesy of Nintendo. Nintendo delivers another incentive to keep the 3DS out of storage with Mario Party: The Top 100. If you have a family of 3DS players or friends with their own systems, it’s extremely economical to get people playing with Download Play, and there is a ton to do as a solo player. If your favorite part of Mario Party was the minigames, definitely pick up Mario Party: The Top 100, available now on Nintendo's 3DS/2DS line of consoles.
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Antal Bokor

Antal is video game advocate, retro game collector, and video game historian. He is also a small streamer, occasional podcast guest, and writer.