Mario Party: Ranking Every Game From Worst To Best

Mario Party: Ranking Every Game From Worst To Best

When it comes to playing with the family or some friends, few games can deliver as much fun as Mario Party. The famous hero wearing a red hat, along with his pals and enemies, have starred in over ten Mario Party installments. This shows that players are still enjoying the games. All the way back from 1998 to modern day, Mario Party has ruled the virtual board game market. Other famous characters have tried,  but none have enjoyed the grand success of the Mario Party series.

Though every installment brings some layer of fun, there is genuine criticism to be levied against the series. Some are much harder to play with friends, some can be more luck-dependent than others, and many fail to innovate enough and feel incredibly stale. Nonetheless, the best games in the series feel clearer than ever, so it’s about time to see every Mario Party game ranked.

Updated April 28, 2021 by Gene Cole: Many gamers will still tell you that Mario Party is easily the greatest Mario spin-off series, but many new fans who started enjoying the series with Super Mario Party may not know what makes the best Mario Party games so great. With so many years past each release, we have a better idea of how each game stacks against each other, and there are some clear winners and losers when ranking every Mario Party game.

17 Mario Party-e

  • Release Year: 2003
  • Platform: Game Boy Advance

A long time ago, Nintendo released the e-Reader, which was a fun little accessory for the Game Boy Advance that few people actually owned. The device could be used in some games to open up new features, an example being extra levels in the Game Boy Advance remake of Super Mario Bros. 3. In 2003, Nintendo released Mario Party-e, which took advantage of the e-Reader as a party game option.

This was essentially a card game with minigames that could be played through the Game Boy Advance, and for what it is, it’s actually quite fun. That being said, it’s almost impossible to find the hardware and cards for this limited old game, and it’s much more of a tech experiment than something you’ll be replaying endlessly with friends. It’s a fascinating entry, but is definitely the worst Mario Party game for those looking for a proper fun time.

16 Mario Party Advance

  • Release Year: 2005
  • Platform: Game Boy Advance

Mario Party Advance is the first fully handheld title in the Mario Party series. It brought many of the iconic things, such as the dice roll and frantic minigames, to a small console. Though it is admirable that Nintendo put a lot of work into making a portable Party experience, the game falters in one critical area: it isn’t much of a party.

Mario Party Advance isn’t a bad game. Most of the minigames are fun, but it’s tailored to a single-player experience since finding three friends with Game Boys and cartridges is a massive challenge. If you’re craving the best Mario Party game to play in the modern day, this is not likely to be the one you’ll want to revisit.

15 Mario Party DS

  • Release Year: 2007
  • Platform: Nintendo DS

In 2007, Nintendo finally gave players a true portable Mario Party experience. Mario Party DS picks up the slack of its Game Boy Advance counterpart by introducing wireless play with just one game card, but that doesn’t make up for its minigame list being fairly short and a little too dedicated to the touch screen.

Mario Party DS isn’t too different from the games that preceded it, it does a perfect job of bringing the experience on the go with an impressive number of minigames and diverse boards. Much like Mario Party Advance, though, needing multiple consoles hurts this game and makes it hard to enjoy with friends.

14 Mario Party: Star Rush

  • Release Year: 2016
  • Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Mario Party: Star Rush is perhaps the most unique game in the series. Gone is the usual board-based play in favor of a new main mode: Toad Scramble. For the first time, the turn-based gameplay has been scrapped for simultaneous movement and mayhem until a final boss is fought by all players. It’s great Nintendo thought up something brand new for the series, but it doesn’t stop Star Rush from being on the bare bones side.

The biggest drawback is the minigame count. There are only 53 mini-games. To put that in perspective, Mario Party DS had 73 minigames, and the original Mario Party had 50. Considering how much later this game was released, and how much innovation they were trying to go for, this is undoubtedly one of the most pointless and underwhelming Mario Party games in existence.

13 Mario Party: Island Tour

  • Release Year: 2013
  • Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Island Tour was the first Mario Party game on the 3DS, and also the first handheld game in the series since Mario Party DS six years prior. Like Mario Party DS, Island Tour only requires one game card to play with others locally. That’s good, because with the franchise’s signature luck-based play being rampant here, playing alone could get especially tedious.

That said, this is definitely the portable Mario Party doing the most innovations, as the boards are especially diverse and involve a lot of unusual mechanics. It’s easily the best handheld Mario Party game thanks to its unique twists on the classic Mario Party formula, and it would absolutely be the most welcome for a home console remake.

12 Mario Party: The Top 100

  • Release Year: 2017
  • Platform: Nintendo 3DS

At a glance, Mario Party: The Top 100 seems like an easy win. It’s a Mario Party title featuring all of the greatest minigames from every prior entry. While some favorites obviously didn’t make the cut, it following up Star Rush’s lackluster catalog made it look enormous by comparison.

That said, it still has the same problem as the other portable Mario Party games, even if it’s saved by having the best gameplay and visuals of any game on this list so far. It’s hard to know where to put this when ranking Mario Party games, since it’s definitely better than the content-starved handheld games, but it’s hard to say it’s more enjoyable than the home console titles.

11 Mario Party 9

  • Release Year: 2012
  • Platform: Nintendo Wii

Mario Party 9 is perhaps the most controversial game in the series. It was the first to implement a brand new play style for the main Party Mode. Instead of the usual players hit dice and run around the board, this time everyone rides together in a car. Each board has its own unique vehicle to ride around in. It’s an interesting approach, but it can take away from the competitive board game feel the series is known for.

It still manages to be superior to every handheld Mario Party game, though, as it has a spectacular variety of minigames that combine the simple button setup of the Wii Remote and the entertaining motion controls. Both of these have always felt at-home on the Wii console, and while it’s definitely one of the worst entries of the series, you’re definitely going to have a fun time with friends playing it.

10 Mario Party 10

  • Release Year: 2015
  • Platform: Nintendo Wii U

There’s not a lot to say about Mario Party 10, as it mostly feels like an expansion of Mario Party 9. It brings back the car to hold all the players together, the map remains linear, and the entire game is played on Wii Remotes. It’s altogether just another version of Mario Party 9 with some different maps and minigames.

That said, it has one major upgrade that makes it infinitely more fun, and that is the Bowser Party mode. This lets one player use the Wii U Gamepad to control Bowser in four-on-one minigames, all of which feel much more elaborate and fun than most other Mario Party games. It still suffers from many flaws of Mario Party 9, but having this unique gimmick makes the linear levels and shared car feel much more worthwhile.

9 Mario Party

  • Release Year: 1998
  • Platform: Nintendo 64

This is the game that started it all. The original Mario Party laid the foundation for all its sequels from the dice rolling to blue spaces awarding three coins, and cemented the original formula for board games and minigames for every game onward. Though sequels built upon and improved the overall concept, Mario Party holds up as one of the best Mario Party games, and can never be low when ranking Mario Party games.

The outcomes of some minigames are a bit on the harsh side, as it can be too easy to lose coins, but the original Mario Party is still a classic worth returning to. If you wish to replay it on the original console, though, do remember that there are several minigames that involve rolling the joystick, which can be extremely painful with the console’s unusual controller.

8 Mario Party 4

  • Release Year: 2002
  • Platform: Nintendo GameCube

Mario Party 4, the first to appear on the Nintendo GameCube, takes everything that made the Nintendo 64 games fun and multiples it. Party Mode is at its finest, always giving friends and family the ultimate of laughs. The minigames, fun boards, and overall presentation earns Mario Party 4 the title of being the greatest party games out there.

That being said, what puts it this far back is that there’s little unique to this particular game. The boards are all extremely standard in terms of themes and mechanics, and there isn’t much unique that’ll happen in each game since they’re deceptively small worlds. It’s the first great game, it’s hardly the best Mario Party game to come.

7 Mario Party 7

  • Release Year: 2005
  • Platform: Nintendo GameCube

Mario Party 7 was the last Mario Party on the GameCube. There isn’t much to say about this installment mainly because it does little to differentiate itself from previous games, but it’s one of the biggest unexpected winners thanks to a marvelously high number of minigames.

This was also the first Mario Party game to try new board mechanics, with one involving several shifting bridges in a canal while another is a linear climb up a mountain with branching paths. It’s a significantly more creative Mario Party than the originals, but its expansive list of unique mechanics can make it less appealing to major Mario Party fans of the classic games.

6 Mario Party 5

  • Release Year: 2003
  • Platform: Nintendo GameCube

Mario Party 5 was the second installment on the GameCube, and it really doesn’t change the formula. It’s best described as “more of the same”, and while it makes it a more dynamic experience than Mario Party 4, you definitely will feel a little underwhelmed if you were hoping for a huge upgrade.

Nonetheless, this consistency is a strength, and it’s probably the newest Mario Party game that classic fans are sure to feel at home in. The one new mode worth mentioning is Super Duel Mode, a strange motor derby mode where you could build weaponized cars, which was surprisingly fun but not the most deep side-game.

5 Mario Party 2

  • Release Year: 1999
  • Platform: Nintendo 64

A sequel is supposed to go bigger, and that’s what Mario Party 2 does. It features fewer boards, but it makes up for that in having a cool addition by letting the characters dress up according to the boards’ corresponding themes. This is a feature that has never returned, and considering the charm of the game’s unique fantasy settings, it’s sorely missed in every new Mario Party game.

In terms of gameplay, Mario Party 2 adds to the original by featuring duel minigames and battle minigames for the first time, meaning there were far more ways to clash compared to its predecessor. This, alongside more items that can affect the board and your character more significantly, make it a much more memorable experience, and makes the original Mario Party feel somewhat dry.

4 Mario Party 6

  • Release Year: 2004
  • Platform: Nintendo GameCube

Mario Party 6 is perhaps best known for its day and night system. Taking a page from Mario Party 2’s Horror Land board, Mario Party 6’s boards changes when the game switches to nighttime and vice versa every three turns, shifting pathways and opening up certain empty spaces to reveal new mechanics.

This is just the right amount of innovation for a simple Mario Party game, having the core gameplay of each board be identical while having semi-consistent events in each space. It’s undoubtedly the best GameCube Mario Party game, even if the other consoles are home to the top three.

3 Super Mario Party

  • Release Year: 2018
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch

After ten years since the last traditional Mario Party, fans were starting to get jaded by all of the gimmicks. The car didn’t work, the handheld titles were lackluster, and the continued lack of online play was criminal on modern platforms. Thankfully, the reputation of this series was absolutely saved by Super Mario Party.

As it turned out, this would be the best Mario Party game in years, and is undoubtedly one of the best options if you want a Mario Party game today. It captures all the fun of classic games while having the polish of the later GameCube titles, and while it’s a little light on boards, it’s definitely the type of Mario Party game that could use some further sequels down the line.

2 Mario Party 8

  • Release Year: 2007
  • Platform: Nintendo Wii

Mario Party 8 released just six months after the Nintendo Wii launched. As one would expect, the game uses the Wii remote extensively. After all, with the Wii being the pioneer in motion control, it makes sense Nintendo would want to show it off as much as possible, but with Mario Party’s short minigames, it was definitely one of the best ways to use this console’s primary gimmick.

There are still a few minigames that just require buttons and the D-Pad to walk, but the motion games are varied enough to be a ton of fun, and make each minigame feel different from each other. This game also has a nice number of boards with unique playstyles to keep it from feeling stale, such as a city where players invest coins into Hotels to earn and steal stars.

1 Mario Party 3

  • Release Year: 2000
  • Platform: Nintendo 64

Mario Party 3 was the last installment on the Nintendo 64, and it ended on one of the highest notes that a game series could ask for. This game solved many of the flaws of the original games by making a wider variety of brand new minigames, a wider selection of maps, and revamped visuals that still appear far less dated than today.

This game also is the best to play with one other player, as it features a Duel Mode with its own unique party boards and a wide variety of two-player minigames. It’s definitely underrated by most fans, but it’s got so many improved traits that simply make it the best Mario Party game in the entire series.

Next: 10 Of The Best Party Games (Other Than Mario Party)

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Daniel has been writing video game news, features, and reviews at TheGamer for some time now. He also contributes to ScreenRant. In the past, he’s written for ComicBookMovie, Unleash the Fanboy, and 411 Mania. He resides in Old Bridge, New Jersey, and graduated from Thomas Edison State University with a B.A. in Communications. His favorite video game company is Nintendo, and once you get him talking about Mario or Smash Bros., he won’t stop. He has also enjoyed many PlayStation exclusives, such as The Last of Us and Horizon: Zero Dawn. The only other entertainment he enjoys more than gaming is watching a Godzilla movie.

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