Now that the series has thankfully moved away from the linear board design that came with the car mechanics of the recent Mario Party games before Super Mario Party, Mario Party Superstars has gone even further to go back to the type of game design fans have been asking for. Maps are once again sprawling, with multiple pathways, and unique aspects and twists on each one. This newest entry on the Nintendo Switch has already become a fan favorite, and possibly even the best game in the series bar none. Still, for those who haven’t already rolled the dice on this new game, the last game’s lackluster number of maps may leave you hesitating on picking up this new entry.
Mario Party Superstars is a love letter to the best games the series has to offer. All the mini-games are hand-selected from among the best the series has had, which is also true for the maps. Each of the game’s five boards has been pulled from the first three games on the N64 and given a fresh coat of paint for the much more powerful hardware. While five isn’t a huge number, the quality of these maps is more than enough to make up for it, and we can always hope that Nintendo will eventually add more classic maps later down the line. If you’re curious which classic maps made the cut for Mario Party Superstars, here’s the full list.
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Starting with the oldest, we have Yoshi’s Topical Island back from the original Mario Party. This is a single-star board, making it the easiest difficulty rating of the entire list. This map has a breezy tropical theme, with two islands, one called Watermelon Island and the other Cantaloupe Island, vaguely shaped like Yoshi. The two islands are connected by two one-way bridges with Thwomps guarding them. In order to pass, you must pay a toll that gets one coin higher for each player who passes.
There’s a Boo space on the right island, and the Star can only swap between two locations: One on each island. Wherever the star space isn’t will be a Bowser space. Passing by Bowser will trigger him to force you into buying an item for as much as 20 coins.
The second map from Mario Party back in Mario Party Superstars is the sweet Peach’s Birthday Cake, a three-star-rated board. It’s themed as a double-layered pink cake adorned with frosting and fruit, with a detour out around a side of pudding. This is a slightly unique board because the star never moves from its spot near the top of the cake. This cake isn’t all that sweet, though, since the event spaces around the bottom layer allow a player to plant either a small or large strawberry for 5 or 30 coins, respectively. If another player lands on a small strawberry, it will steal some of their coins, while landing on a large strawberry will steal a star.
The Goomba on the map will either send you to the next layer up on the cake, or way out toward the pudding where Bowser’s space is set, but also a Lucky Space, Vs. Space, and a Chance Time. It is also the fastest path to the star, so could end up working in your favor depending on how you roll.
Blasting off to our first map from Mario Party 2 is the futuristic Space Land. This one is a two-star difficulty rating but is deceptively complex compared to most boards. This sprawling map has a built-in timer that counts down each time a player passes over the center space of the board. Once it hits zero, a Bowser Beam will fire and travel diagonally from the top right to the bottom left of the board. If you are along the path of the beam, you will lose every single coin you have.
The other hazard of this board to keep an eye out for is the spaceships. If you land on an Event Space, your character, and any other players on the path, will be chased by a ship partway across the map. Players can also visit the Snifit Patrol and pay them 5 coins to go on duty. What this does is cause the spaceships that are triggered by Event Spaces to extend the distance they push players back across the board as they try and escape the Snifit. Depending on where the star is, that may end up helping, or put you way out of reach.
The second board revived from the beloved Mario Party 2 is Horror Land. This map has the highest difficulty ranking of any in Mario Party Superstars at a maximum five-star rating, and it is well deserved. Not only is the layout complex, but the gimmick makes things even more challenging. Every two turns, this map will transform between a day and night version, or it can be changed immediately if someone lands on an Event Space. Different paths, Boos, and the special King Boo are only available either during the day or night, while Whomps cost coins to move to reach different paths during the day, but cannot be moved at night.
There are a ton of routes to take, and the star can show up all over. To help get around, especially when paths can be blocked, there are unique Mr. I spaces that can move you clear across the board at the cost of 3 coins at night, or 6 during the day. There’s also the Mystery Mansion at the top of the map that’s only open during the day where you can pay to turn it to night. Switching the time will be a major factor in trying to access the star, as well as preventing others from reaching it.
The last map in Mario Party Superstars comes from the last of the N64 trilogy, Mario Party 3. Woody Woods, if you can believe it, is a forest-themed board with a four-star difficulty rating. It is described as a forest that causes anyone who goes inside to lose their way, and the design certainly attempts to make you feel this way. There are more branches in this level than any other, but these aren’t just forks you can pick and choose where to go. Each has a signpost that dictates which path you will take automatically, and they will swap directions after every turn. The Event Spaces will change the associated sign’s direction, but it will always turn at the end of a round no matter what.
There’s a special Monty Mole space near the top of the map who you can pay a random amount of coins if you want to change all the signs at once to prevent another player from having a chance at reaching the star. There are also two special trees, a green and purple one, that have Event Spaces tied to them. Land on the green one and you can get a Coin Fruit or Dice Fruit, the former giving you extra coins and the latter another dice block. Hitting the purple one, though, will make you either lose coins or hit a special dice block that sends you in reverse. Reaching the star on this map is one of the most challenging due to how lucky you have to get with your rolls and the signs working in your favor.
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