Thursday, 13 April 2017

Mario Month - The Top 20 Mario Party Minigames

Mario Party has a lot of things that can be found contemptable, which I discussed a lot last week. Lots of luck based events on the board, your friends conspiring to be dicks to you and the occasional minigame that’s boring, uninspired or unfair. But ultimately the games are still amazingly fun experiences to share with your friends and the main reason why is with the minigames. Sure, not all of them are gold but when they hit they really hit and you’ll be hoping the following twenty games come up every single time you play the game.

  • NUMBER 20 - Mosh Pit Playroom (8)

Kicking off with the game that looks like the remnants of the infamous DashCon convention from 2014, this game is a mad dash through a ballpit in order to pop fifty coloured balls of your own colour. Whilst you can get to a high score rather quickly things can get down to the wire here as you’re scrambling around looking for the last few balls of your colour, hoping that you can be the King of the Ballpit.

  • NUMBER 19 - Tumble Temple (9)

Spiked balls are one of the most irritating obstacles in Mario games, requiring precision and timing to avoid them. You’re going to need both in order to get past this gloriously fun mini-game where spiked balls run down a slope in order to knock you and your opponents into the lava. Things can get very hectic as you’re running into other players and getting worried when pegs that the balls run up upon turn off to crush you to your doom.

  • NUMBER 18 - Bombs Away (1/2)

Mario and explosions may not seem like the natural complement at first but this minigame proves that there’s great fun with the two mixing. The four players are on a little island floating in the sea (how it got there the world will never know – we need answers, Miyamoto!) as one of Bowser’s ships fires cannonballs at you. Stay on for 30 seconds and you win (this is what should happen when everybody is good at a game, The Beat Goes On). As fun as it was in 1 it gets heightened in 2 where an enormous torpedo is fired at you right at the end to wipe out any remaining players who were a bit too smug with their performance. This adds up to becoming one explosive minigame (thank you, I’ll be here all week).

  • NUMBER 17 - Cliffhangers (4)

One of the most enjoyable types of minigame in the Mario Party series is the 2 versus 2 minigame, where you’re teamed up in order to take down the other side. Expect a lot of rage at your partner as you try to achieve your goals. Still, these kinds of games are usually fair and fun and this is one of the best. You need to ascend a mountain together whilst timing it correctly in order to make sure that you stay on the mountain when snowstorms hit you. A test of skills in knowing when to stop and teamwork in getting your partner to stop with you, this one will either make you extremely pleased with your partner or make you wish that you could throw them off the top of the mountain. Either way, a very fun game.

  • NUMBER 16 - Look Away (2)

1 versus 3 games tend to be a very mixed bag due to their frequent unfair focus upon one side. However, this one is one of the few that really work and is an absolute blast. The three players have to be looking in a different direction from the one player following a little musical interval – if they survive five rounds they win, if the one can catch all of them the one person is the victor. It’s fun and frantic as you try to second guess your friends and the shrunken heads from people who get caught are always hilarious.

  • NUMBER 15 - Hotel Goomba (5)

A good puzzle is always a lot of fun and that’s what we get in Hotel Goomba. In a hotel, Goombas stand in the way between you and your room, leading you to have to punch them out of the way through three floors to get to relax. Sometimes remarkably easy to get through, other times a puzzle to work out, this minigame will keep you firmly on your toes throughout and is a worthy minigame for these classic Mario foes.

  • NUMBER 14 - Hot Rope Jump (1/2)

Mario Party 1’s rendition of this minigame was enjoyable and tense enough – jump over a rope of Podoboos that change their speed of movement throughout. If you all make it to 20 jumps, you all win. If somebody hits the rope, the game’s over and that player gives everyone else coins. Whilst that was still fun the second game takes it up a notch, making it a last-man-standing game which ratchets up the tension once you’re down to two very good players, making it a marked improvement on an already fun game. However, the original format comes back on the Minigame Coaster, where you have to make 50 jumps over the rope. All I can say is good luck.

  • NUMBER 13 - Fun Run (7)

This one is a game where you certainly need to know the game before playing it. Wandering into this obstacle course for the first time can be an absolute comedy of errors – you won’t notice the Spiny shell that’ll hit you, you’ll be unaware that some of the tiles in the ground will give way and make you fall and you won’t predict the mechanical punchy wall thing (that’s seriously what it’s called) that’ll send you flying and lead you to needing Lakitu to pick you up. It can be hilarious to see the reactions of others going through this for the first time – and it’s still fun to beat your friends to get to the end.

  • NUMBER 12 - Eatsa Pizza (3)

Mario Party 3 is perhaps the worst game in the series for minigames, so this one just stands out in how fun it is. A 2 vs 2 minigame, you and your partner have to consume half of a giant pizza together – whoever eats the most in 30 seconds is the winner. There’s something inherently funny about watching your characters waddle around the giant pizza on their front chowing down on their tasty pizza (and it doesn’t have pineapple on it, so it really is tasty). And of course there’s your partner, who you’ll be yelling at for missing that teeny little crumb of the pizza… Even if you’re frustrated with your teammate you’ll still be having lots of fun eating your pizza.

  • NUMBER 11 - Bobsled Run (2)

Another 2 versus 2, your characters take control of a bobsled which you have to steer down an icy path, taking care not to fall right off the sides, picking up speed boosts and ultimately attempting to screw over your competitors. This game can be very easy to mess up, especially if you manage to fall off the edge because you mishandled the controls but it’s still absolutely satisfying to watch you slide right down to the bottom of the slope and watch your opponents get flung from their sled for losing. For once in a video game ice is nice.

  • NUMBER 10 - Swervin' Skies

Star Fox might just have been an inspiration for what is my favourite 1 versus 3 minigame throughout all the games. Three players are in fighter planes with two balloons attached to their plane whilst the one player is behind in another plane trying to shoot down all the balloons to win. This game is fast paced and exciting but crucially it’s very well balanced, which is one of the major issues of the 1 versus 3 games in general. Here it’s hard to guarantee who’ll win and it’s really a game that depends on skill rather than unfair handouts for the one side.

  • NUMBER 9 - Mushroom Mix-Up/Hexagon Heat (1/2)

This is a simple concept made incredibly fun. A certain coloured flag will be held up and you have to madly dash to the sector on a hexagon with that colour on it before the other platforms sink downwards, leading you into water in the first game and lava into the second game. As things get quicker as time moves by you’ll be making a mad dash onto the coloured section before you plunge to your doom, making you feel truly skilled for being able to distinguish colours.

  • NUMBER 8 - Lift Leapers (6)

Mario’s roots lie firmly in the platforming genre, no surprise there. As such this mini game from 6 feels like a wonderful blast from the main series whilst containing a tight competitive spirit. Here you’ve got to be the first to get to the end of an obstacle course involving jumping, requiring precision to land on those platforms and jump over those spikes. If you can run and jump across those tiny cloud platforms on the last section of the game then you are truly a fantastic platform game player.

  • NUMBER 7 - Booksquirm (4)

What’s more enjoyable than reading? Being part of the book of course. That’s the impetus behind this game which is a literal page-turner. As the pages fall down players have to position themselves between cut out shapes to make it to the next round and not get crushed by the pages. Things can get very tense as it progresses since the pages only fall quicker and the number of cut outs are reduced over time, leaving you with just one hole to fight for with the other player. This one is one you’ll want to pick up again.

  • NUMBER 6 - Bumper Balls (1/2)

The reason that this game does not move into the top 5 is because of the same annoying feature that plagued The Beat Goes On and multiple other games from Mario Party 3 – if multiple people are alive at the end the game is a draw. Aside from that annoying factor this game is still lots of fun as you run around on big balls trying to knock other players off a ledge. Whether or not you play cool and calm or viciously you can always be guaranteed a lot of fun with this one.

  • NUMBER 5 - Shy Guy Says (1/2)

Simon Says, one of the most popular playground games, a test of whether or not you can follow simple instructions. The version of that found in Mario Party is glorious; Shy Guy holds up flags and you have to press the ‘A’ or ‘B’ button in time in order to lift up your own flag to copy him. Here’s the kicker; sometimes he’ll fake you out, holding up multiple flags before settling at one. This tactic will almost guarantee a member or two of the game falling into the trap. And what happens to the losers is funny in both games, whether it be being sent out to sea in 1 or falling to your doom after Shy Guy pops your balloons in 2.

  • NUMBER 4 - Face Lift (1/2)

Remember the title screen of Super Mario 64 where you could play around with Mario’s face? It proved to be so entertaining that it got expanded outright into this minigame from the first game. In the first instalment you get to deform Bowser’s ugly mug, taking the menace somewhat out of the King of Koopas. In the second you can play around with the faces of the other characters – whether you’re pulling out Yoshi’s cheeks to ridiculous degrees or distorting Wario’s mustache you’ll be having so much fun throughout.

  • NUMBER 3 - Pushy Penguins (5)

Penguins – so cute, so cuddly, so… dangerous? Apparently so in this mini-game where you have to remain upon an iceberg for 30 seconds all while a swarm of penguins maraud the iceberg, running down to try and push you off. It’s such a thrill trying to stay on whilst being pushed by the penguins all before the enormous penguins come down to shove off any hapless contestant remaining. The main guarantee – you’ll never look at penguins quite the same way again.

  • NUMBER 2 - The Final Countdown (7)

Whilst Europe were probably pissed off that they couldn’t get royalties from the title, you’ll be far from annoyed as you’ll be trying to keep on your toes in this fast moving minigame. As you stand upon a number of platforms you’ll see numbers counting down. Don’t let the platform you’re standing on get to zero or you’re falling to your doom. Fast paced and furious, things can get wonderfully crazy if multiple panels end up at zero at the same time, leading to amazing desperation to get to a panel with numbers on it.

  • NUMBER 1 - Dungeon Duos (4)

The very best Mario Party game is interestingly one of the longest – ironic considering the wrath I incurred for the ridiculously overlong The Beat Goes On. But this one is so layered, so fun and has so much going on that you won’t notice its long length at all. The goal is to work with a partner to get to the end of an obstacle course, pushing buttons to open doors, assist your partner over platforms, find the correct pipes and finally inflate a giant hot air balloon. This game is so fast paced and frenzied that you can overlook how long it is and once again your interactions with your partner can be a real help or a real hindrance – either way it makes for a greatly entertaining ride. Overall, this is perhaps the most intricate and detailed of all Mario Party minigames and for that it rises to the top of my list.

Do you agree with this list? Are there any minigames that you always wish comes up in Mario Party that I left off the list? Comment down below and join back with me next Thursday where we’ll be counting down the top 20 best Mario Kart tracks…

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