Mario Party: The Top 100 (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Lex Firth 21.12.2017 1

Review for Mario Party: The Top 100 on Nintendo 3DS

The Mario Party series' long and storied history is not without its peaks and troughs - especially recently, with a change in development team and various attempts to spice up the franchise's core gameplay formula. Thankfully, the games' nature as mini-game compilations means that no entry is truly irredeemable, as there are always extra modes and select mini-games to keep players' interests, so it makes sense that they are now all compiled into Mario Party: The Top 100, a 'greatest hits' of sorts that combines a curated selection from the main ten Mario Party games (handheld side-entries notwithstanding). Is this a party worth RSVPing to, though?

The first thing to note about Mario Party: The Top 100 is that this isn't a traditional Mario Party game; where mini-games have previously taken something of a backseat role in favour of the central board game mechanics, this time they are front and centre, with the "100 Minigames" mode taking up most of the space on the main menu. In here, all of the available mini-games can be played freely, with the ability to choose team-mates and computer opponents, as well as their difficulty level.

Screenshot for Mario Party: The Top 100 on Nintendo 3DS

The mini-games on offer encompass a range of different types, from the more traditional four-player free-for-alls, to 2-on-2, 1-vs-3 and 2-player duel games, and even a small handful of endless single-player puzzlers. When they are good, they are great - fan favourites like Mario Party 2's Bumper Balls and Mario Party 4's Booksquirm are present and intact, but they are not all winners. Luck-based guessing games like Mario Party 2's Bowser's Big Blast don't offer much replayability, while far too many of the games last just a few seconds, making them, on the whole, unsatisfying.

In fact, there are only fifty-five of the games available at first, with the others under lock-and-key until they are found in the single-player Minigame Island mode. It takes place on a New Super Mario Bros.-style linear world map, with each stage being a different mini-game. It's as simple as it sounds; each mini-game has to be passed to move onto the next one, but this only requires coming in third place out of four, and with no central plot to speak of, it's hardly gripping at all. It's mercifully short at just three hours, but it exists as a meandering distraction simply to make all of the advertised mini-games available.

Screenshot for Mario Party: The Top 100 on Nintendo 3DS

There's a small selection of extra modes that mix up the action, with Championship Battles pitting players against each other over a selection of three or five mini-games, and the Decathlon mode seeing players earn points over either five or ten games to come out on top. They are worthwhile distractions, and a great way of mixing up the standard rules, but they are frustratingly not customisable; Decathlon uses the same selection of mini-games on every playthrough, whilst Championship Battles uses a "pack" system, with a selection of five mini-games pre-bundled into certain packages. It's possible to select a randomised pack, or to customise up to three unique packs, but the inability to outright select five mini-games at will is an annoying design choice.

There's also a traditional board game-style mode in the form of Minigame Match, which pits the characters against each other to earn coins through mini-games and buy Stars with them as in classic Mario Party titles, but even this feels underdeveloped, with only one board to choose from. There are a number of items to use in the name of progress, with many being a satisfying throwback to previous entries, and the ability for all players to move at the same time really speeds up the normally dull waiting-around periods, but it's still just not fleshed out enough to stand up to multiple play sessions.

Screenshot for Mario Party: The Top 100 on Nintendo 3DS

At the very least, the multiplayer options are solid; all of the game modes can be played with up to three friends in local modes, and the ability to use Download Play means that it's not too hard to set up a quick-fire game, even with people who don't have their own copy to hand. It almost offsets the disappointing fact that, once again, online play isn't on offer here. It's easy to understand why the mainline series avoids network features for fear of opponents disconnecting during longer play sessions, but a typical Top 100 session runs so short that it's difficult to see a reason for its omission this time around.

Overall, The Top 100 feels like a half-baked collection that doesn't reach the potential it could. The modes are too limited in their scope and customisability, the list of games on offer is often disappointing, and even the character roster is smaller than expected (there are only eight characters here, and series staples like Toad and Donkey Kong are curiously absent, despite having in-game models for their CPU appearances). When there's a solid mini-game on offer, it shines - Bumper Balls is just as fun as ever - but the package, overall, simply isn't worthwhile.

Screenshot for Mario Party: The Top 100 on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Even Mario Party die-hards will struggle to find much to enjoy in this rudimentary compilation. There are occasional glimmers of nostalgic genius, but they are few and far between when compared to the plainness of the side modes, brevity of the single-player campaign, and length of the list of dud mini-games on offer. It's a fun distraction for a couple of hours, but Mario Party: The Top 100 lacks the replayability of a mainline Mario Party title, making it a hard sell in the face of its more complete-feeling siblings.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Party

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Sounds like they really missed the point of this one - have the fun was the board game with friends/family element, right? Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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