Mario Party games go poorly when tempers run hot. One minute, you’re about to finally (finally!) grab a star. The next, one of your so-called “friends” uses a Golden Pipe and snatches it from your grasp. Or maybe you’re stuck in a rut of poor mini-game performance. Coming dead last in a dozen mini-games in a row can cause one’s psyche to slowly unravel. Maybe you’ve heard the joke that this game is a friendship destroyer.
But the truth, as millions of players will tell you, is that Mario Party games are far from friendship destroyers. In fact, 2018’s Super Mario Party on Switch is just about the most fun you can have with a party game, so long as you do it right. It’s particularly ideal to play in this moment.
Because of that, we’ve got some tips for you for getting the most out of the game.
The conceit of Mario Party‘s standard mode is simple. You roll a die. You move that amount of spaces around a game board. Your goal is to land on the spot with the star, which you can then nab for yourself by forking over coins. Whoever has the most stars at the end wins. While there are quirks—warp pipes, game-shifting items, and the like—on each board, the standard mode doesn’t require much more strategy than a round of Candy Land. Most of the actionable gameplay, such as it is, exists in the minigames you’re forced to play at the end of every turn. Don’t play standard mode.
Party Mode, on the other hand, calls for some heavy thinking (at least in Mario Party terms). Folks, do not sleep on Party Mode.
Here’s how it works: Four players, split into two teams of two, jump into remixed versions of the Super Mario Party’s game board. Rather than traditional boards, these boards don’t have straightforward paths. They’re wide, open-ended spaces in which you have full control over your movement. Your goal remains the same: Getting the most stars. But accomplishing that requires both tactical thinking and solid communication.
Teammates share items, coins, and dice rolls. So if Wario rolls a 6 and his ally Diddy Kong rolls a 7, both characters can move a lucky 13 spaces. If Wario rolls a -2 coins (like the man himself, his die lives on the edge) and Diddy Kong rolls a +2 coins, literally nothing will happen for that team.
Mini-game outcomes are also shared between teammates. Despite Party Mode’s team-oriented nature, you won’t just play team-oriented mini-games. Free-for-all games appear, too, with the spoils going to the victor’s team. If you’re playing, say, Slaparazzi—an all-out melee in which players slap each other in order to score some room in front of a Koopa’s DSLR—Wario could come in first, Diddy in last, and the team would still receive a ten-coin bonus.
Succeeding in Party Mode requires more than mini-game superiority. You’ll need to talk to your teammate about plans. You might need to coordinate dice that compliment each other from the jump. In free-for-all mini-games, you might have to sacrifice yourself to let your teammate take home the gold. All told, it adds an interesting wrinkle of complexity to an otherwise not terribly complex game.
But most of all, Party Mode bonds you to your teammate. Their anguish is your anguish. Their joy is your joy. Far from a friendship destroyer, this mode is a friendship forger—well, at least between teammates. The other team can screw off.
The best part of any Mario Party game, Super Mario Party included and especially, is the library of mini-games. Once you’ve played through the four game boards a few times, it’s a good bet that you’ll have all 80 unlocked. In other words, you can skip straight to the good stuff.
Sure, some mini-games—like Tall Order, Barreling Along, and all of the rhythm-based ones—stink. But most of them are a blast. So filter out the ones you can’t stand by creating a list of favorites.
I recommend including: