The 8 Best Mario Party Games to Buy in 2018

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Few games can ruin lifelong friendships like Mario Party. The formula is simple: players pick their favorite Mario characters, jump on various themed boards and then duke it out in a collection of fun mini-games. Winning mini-games gets you coins to purchase stars and the player with the most stars at the turn limit wins. It sounds easy, but the competition gets heated.

With 16 titles (and another on the way) in the series, there's an abundance of options and everyone has their personal favorite. Some of the titles suffered from repetition, while others strayed too far from the classic feel with new gameplay mechanics. But with classic characters, mini-games and game boards, Mario Party will always be a good choice for any group of friends. Pick one of the games on the list below for whatever type of Mario Party you want to throw.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Mario Party 2

Mario Party 2

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Mario Party 2 perfected the Mario Party formula, by doing everything the original game did, but better. The sequel added gameplay elements like collectible items, more mini-game types and even characters dressed according to the theme of each board, like Donkey Kong with a cowboy hat.

Mario Party 2 comes with 65 different mini-games divided into four-player, two vs. two and battle modes that are determined by the space that you’d land on. The mini-games are exciting too: skateboarding away from a ghost, three players throwing bombs into another player’s boat, a two-player bobsled challenge where you ride a penguin and dodging cannon balls on a small island. If you want to be cutthroat, you can use items like the Bowser Suit and rob your friends of their coins or use the Boo Bell to steal their stars.

Originally for N64, the game is also available for download on Wii U.

Best Overall, Runner Up: Mario Party 4

Out of all the four Mario Party games released on the Gamecube, Mario Party 4 takes the cake. The Gamecube classic brings 50 new mini-games that many critics feel are the most fun and accessible in the series.

Mario Party 4 takes the formula of the N64 titles but updates the graphics with 3D game boards. The game stands out among the series by offering some of the most enjoyable music and well designed mini-game experiences like Booksquirm (where you and others would pass through holes in the flipping pages of a giant book), Beach Volley Folley (a mini volleyball game) and Dungeon Duos (a two-on-two game where you navigate through a dungeon full of obstacles). Even though it was released 16 years ago, Mario Party 4 still holds up today at any party.

Best Overall, Third Place: Mario Party 3

Mario Party 3

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Mario Party 3, the last Mario Party game on the N64 takes third place on the list. The game introduces new modes, characters like Waluigi and Princess Daisy and includes the ability for players to hold multiple items at once.

Mario Party 3 allows players to carry three items in their travels around the board, including mushrooms that increase the number of dice you roll for a turn, skeleton keys that open different pathways and a dueling glove to challenge other players to a one on one mini-game with coins at stake. The game also includes battle royal and duel modes, adding to the competitive nature of the series. When you can't find a friend to party with, there's a single-player story mode where players fight off AI-controlled characters through every game board and earn stamps in shortened versions of the original mode.

Best for Nintendo DS: Mario Party DS

The Nintendo DS and Mario Party were a match made in heaven with a lineup of mini-games that take advantage of the handheld's touchscreen and microphone. The portable Mario Party can be played with up to three other Nintendo DS owners using a single cartridge.

Mario Party DS incorporates a number of mini-games that use all of the system’s features, like tracing an outline with your stylus and blowing on the mic so a tumbling brick monster falls on your opponent’s side. The game uses the DS’s double screen by using the top screen to show the map of the board, turns taken, and scores. Mario Party DS is great for long road trips or when you’re out with friends and want to jump into its intense Party Mode or just play some mini-games.

Best for Nintendo Wii: Mario Party 9

Later Mario Party iterations faced criticism for the franchise's redundancy and slow pace, so Mario Party 9 took a brave turn in tackling both issues with its new carpool mechanic. While some players disliked the change as it took away some of the game's competitive edge, others loved the game’s motion controls and 80 mini-games.

Mario Party 9 is more teamwork focused title than others in the series. Players travel in the same car together and every players' action directly affects you. The last Mario Party game for Wii perfects the system’s motion controls with fun mini-games like riding a dolphin and jumping through hoops, tossing your toppings on each slice of a spinning pizza, or racing and steering a blazing fast speeding bullet. If you want a different type of Mario Party, get Mario Party 9.

Best for Wii U: Mario Party 10

Mario Party 10

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Mario Party 10 brings back the infamous carpool gimmick from Mario Party 9 where players work together to fight off Bowser. The game utilizes the Wii U's gamepad screen and features a new mode called Bowser Party where five players can play together and one controls Bowser.

In Bowser Party, one player plays as Bowser using the Wii U’s gamepad while four other players control Mario and his friends using Wii Remotes. While Team Mario races to reach a Super Star at the end of the board, Bowser chases after them and uses randomized mini-games to deplete the health of the other players. Mario Party 10 carries the oversimplified and linear gameplay of Mario Party 9 but shines with its unique mini-games and exciting Bowser Party gameplay mode.

Best Nintendo 3DS: Mario Party: The Top 100

Mario Party: The Top 100 for the Nintendo 3DS is all about the games. The handheld Mario Party takes 100 of the best Mario Party mini-games over the past 19 years and updates them with better graphics, controls and putting them in a series of modes that you can play by yourself or with three other friends.

Mario Party: The Top 100 allows you to play with three other friends using only one game cartridge. The game lacks the usual variety of boards and themes, but the single linear game board it comes with features an open layout and streamlines the dice rolling process. If you can get over that, then you’ll find a renewed love for classic mini-games like Bumper Balls, Shell Shock, and Slot Car Derby and a whole bunch of other console favorites.

Best for Nintendo Switch: Super Mario Party

Super Mario Party on Nintendo Switch brings together the console and handheld legacies of one of Nintendo's most beloved franchises. The exciting upcoming release retains the classic competitive formula and introduces fresh mini-games with different ways to play.

Super Mario Party shows off incredible updated graphics and animations. The first Party for Switch introduces a ton of new mini-games and features designed around the console's controllers and screen. Players will be able to use two Switch game screens for a kind of tabletop experience and play games that utilize the Joy-Con's motion controls like searing each side of a steak cube and lifting a skillet. The newest iteration lets you choose how long you want to play so you can speed up the progress. You can even play a mini-game mode online with other players so you’ll never have to party alone.