Mario Party (1) Review

When a game spawns over ten different sequels in a span of a decade, one has to wonder what the original game did to create such a popular and successful series. The very first Mario Party for the Nintendo 64 was released back in 1999 and introduced the Super Mario universe to the chance based game play and hectic multi-player of a virtual board game. With the basic elements of the Mario Party formula being put into place, Mario Party does a great job in creating the stepping stones of the series.

An uncomplicated story sets the game into motion and gives a reason as to why Mario and the gang are dancing around a cake board and hopping on giant mushrooms in mini-games. There isn’t an overall theme to the game, but each location is a new setting never before seen. There is a lack of actual Super Mario locales, but we do get a few memorable sound effects and even a remix. Menus are easy to navigate, but you may have to dig a little deeper to find some of the other modes Mario Party has to offer. As the first game in the series, leaving behind a rules and tutorial mode was necessary, and Mario Party delivered.


A formula that is used in nearly every subsequent release, Mario Party introduces the basic rules of the Mario Party game play. Take turns stomping around the game board with three other players as you land on different spaces, trigger different events, and play mini-games at the end of each turn. Collect coins through mini-games and during board play to buy Stars at a pre-determined space for 20 coins. The player with the highest amount of stars after the set amount of turns wins.

The game play is simple and fun, but it is clear that the experience is at a basic level. The eight different boards lack variety and can be too similar at times, with some feeling more like mere background swaps and a change in space placement. Each board features roughly the same events. Toad will bring players good fortune while Bowser will take the opposite approach. Other additions to the boards include Whomps blocking pathways and Warp Pipes transporting players to other locations, but it all feels the same from board to board.


The mini-games are where Mario Party truly shines. Tucked away in all the game play of the boards are an outstanding 50 mini-games to keep the multi-player madness going. Each mini-game brings something new to the table, and each one brings the competition to an entire new level. Controlling the mini-games feels natural as you steer your character through puzzles, mash buttons, and, as carefully as you can, swirl the control stick with the palm of your hand. There are four different mini-game types that bring a different set of challenges for the each of the types. Never does a mini-game feel overused as the board game play allows for a variety of mini-games, some of which you won’t play until another match. With a healthy dosage of luck and chance based mini-games, Mario Party delivers in a very enjoyable way.

The Nintendo 64 is home to the very first Mario Party game, and as such, the graphics may be the low point in the entire series. The boards take on a very muddy feel and are not as clear as future installments. In some boards, maneuvering over the many spaces is a breeze and easy to follow, but in others, understanding where the board leads and what it wants you to do can be confusing and frustrating. It will be a bit before you realize what in the world is going on in boards like Luigi’s Engine Room. With all that said, the boards do take a creative approach and include all the vibrant colors that go along with the game. Mini-games take place in interesting locations and provide a nice environment that is enjoyable and pleasant.

Catchy tunes and pleasant beats are found all throughout Mario Party. There is nothing too extravagant, but you can’t expect much when the focus is purely on the game play. Voices for the characters work and make sense, but you may get a bit annoyed after hearing the same voice samples repeated over and over again.

If there is one element that Mario Party excels at, it is the replay value. Mario Party will keep you playing for months on end, simply because the Mario Party formula allows for so many diverse experiences. Never is game of Mario Party the same as the last. Different boards allow for different situations and mini-games are always keeping the board game play feeling new and fresh. Outside the main mode, players can find a variety of other modes, including the Mini-game Stadium and Mini-game Island, where players battle and duel in mini-game tournaments. Mini-games must be unlocked to play separately and the two hidden boards will keep players coming back to unlock them. Multi-player is what makes a lot of games last and that is no secret here.


For the first game in a long running series, Mario Party presents itself as a great classic that future games will have to compete with. While the boards may be lacking, the mini-games take the cake (ha!) and more than make up for the boards. Mario Party comes off as a great multi-player party game and an overall Mario game.









Replay Value



Michael Koczwara

Executive Editor and Founder of Mario Party Legacy. Head Administrator at the Mario Party Legacy Forum.

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This is still one of my favourite mario party games and I still play it. (: