Mario Party has a place in almost every Nintendo fan’s heart — no matter if you joined the party at the beginning, jumped on with the GameCube instalments or only just played the Wii ones — there’s just something about the Mario Party games and the experience they provide.
The idea of Mario Party: The Top 100 is a great one, all of the best mini-games from the history of Mario Party in one collection. The mini-games in Mario Party are so great, so let’s just strip back the board game stuff and you should be left with the best. It sounds a lot better on paper than actually in practice.
Minigame Island is the main mode of The Top 100, it’s where you’ll have to unlock all of the mini-games by playing through them, beat one and move on the map to the next one. It only takes a couple of hours and you’ll have everything but after that there’s no reason to go back, you’ve got the mini-games you wanted, so now it’s time to play them with some friends.
There’s a number of modes you can play with up to four friends over local wireless, but Minigame Match is the bulkiest of them all. Despite it being Mario Party without the board, there’s a really cut down version of Mario Party here that has players all move at same the time to collect coins so they can purchase stars. There are some tricky squares to move people around or rob coins, but there’s only one design and, of course, it’s based on luck. But with only a limited amount of moves, games can be over on the first couple of rolls. In one game I walked the other way, away from the initial star offering, only to have another triple star appear on the other side of the board next to me. There was no way after that for the other players to catch me.
Other than that, there are Championship Battles and Decathlon modes, both of them are just you and your friends playing through mini-games to either win the most games or get the most points based on how you do in the mini-games. That’s about it for the game, there’s not much else to do aside from that. It’s not all bad, The Top 100 can play with four players using only one copy of the game. It all loads fairly quickly and works just as well as you’d hope. There’s no benefit from having more than one person have the game, anyone can play as any character, and all of the games are available. Mario Party: The Top 100 also works with all Mario related amiibo, they don’t do much but it’s always nice to get more value out of them. The amiibo come in handy during the Minigame Island mode and they can revive you or give you more coins, but only if you have a matching amiibo to the character you’re playing.
All of the mini-games too have been updated graphically to suit the Nintendo 3DS, with the Nintendo 64 games getting the most love. The game’s 3D effect is also available, but only in some mini-games and it turns on and off randomly as well. Some of the music has also been remixed from previously released titles. The controls have been updated for the 3DS too, games that use motion controls from the Wii now use the touch screen, pointer games also use the circle pad. The games that once caused blisters are more manageable now too. The microphone games from Mario Party 7 also have been moved across, which reminded me that the GameCube had that suss looking microphone accessory as well. There is love and care here that’s been put into the mini-games with the small quality of life updates for some of them as well.
Ultimately the main problem with Mario Party: The Top 100 isn’t the bare-bones package, it’s that it’s on the wrong console. Well, at least the wrong kind of console. While it was enjoyable to play the games with people multiplayer and not have to have more than one copy of the game, there was something lost by not having these games on a TV. It just feels off and that’s something that portable Mario Party titles have never been able to achieve — this one is no different.
Mario Party: The Top 100 is a solid idea on paper but falls short in execution. The 100 mini-games chosen for the collection are all great and have been updated for the 3DS brilliantly. It’s just that outside of the mini-games there’s nothing else to do and all of the multiplayer modes ultimately feel the same. Playing mini-games in Mario Party is fun because of the entire package its wrapped up in, just playing them in succession sucks the fun out of it. This is one that could have been so much more.
Rating: 2.5 / 5