Mario Party has built up quite a legacy for itself since its debut on the N64. Unfortunately, that legacy has been hurting with the last few entries whether they be on consoles or handhelds. If you ask anyone what the best part of Mario Party is, they’ll probably answer something like “Mini-games and be crushing my friends!” to which I would say yes, that’s exactly what it’s about. However, once you take out that second part and leave only the mini-games, you quickly realize that maybe the best part of the series was really just crushing your friends.
Mario Party The Top 100 is a compilation of the said 100 best mini-games across all the console Mario Party titles (1 through 10). I can’t say I know what polling process went into deciding these were the 100 best as I don’t recall any public polls going out. So perhaps they should of went with the title “Mario Party The Top 100, According to Nintendo” instead.
Fresh out of the packaging, the game loads up with most of these 100 mini-games ready for you to play. You can play them in several different modes that don’t really feel all that different from one another. The main mode lets you pick what game you want to play and off you go. Then there’s a world mode which has your character on a very linear board moving from space to space, playing and sometimes unlocking mini-games. It’s the mode I found the most interesting, but that’s not saying much. Then there’s a decathlon mode where you can play 5 or 10 random mini-games in a row. There’s a local multiplayer mode that lets you play with friends in the same room as you. Unfortunately, you won’t find any online mode so if you have no local friends, prepare to feel the deepest feeling of solitude.
On the subject of mini-games, yes they are fun. Are they the best? Well, I didn’t play every mini-game from every series to pass judgment on that, but all the ones I played here were fun, albeit very short. In a party setting with friends, the mini-game formula works but when you’re sitting at home alone on your 3DS it’s just unsatisfying and upsetting. For motivation, there’s a bit of stuff to unlock, but not much. There’s also record-setting but again this falls short since you’re comparing your score to anyone who played on your 3DS. The addition of worldwide leaderboards would of went a long way to making record-breaking a more enjoyable endeavor.
All that aside, the game’s presentation is great and meets Nintendo’s usual standards. The graphics look as good as some of the best 3DS titles out there and it’s great seeing some old N64 mini-games get a much needed graphical upgrade. The tracks are a joy to listen to and unlocking them is one of the better parts of the game.
Unfortunately, I just don’t see how Mario Party is supposed to be enjoyable playing solo on a handheld when there isn’t even a fully fleshed out board games to play on. It’s just a series of 1min mini-games that award you 1-3 stars feeling very much like this should have been a mobile game. The mini-games are fun, but the model in which they’re presented to players feels very out of place on the 3DS. This might be a good pick-up for families with a few kids at home but I can’t recommend it to fans of the series or an older audience that have so many better titles to choose from on this platform.