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Mario Party Games Ranked from Worst to Best

In this Mario Party games ranked article, I attempted to rank all the Mario Party games from my least favorite to most favorite. Like many folks my age, I’m a tried-and-true Nintendo kid. I grew up platforming and adventuring through their various franchises. Mario Kart was the first video game I ever played, the Zelda series taught me about video games as a storytelling medium, and Pokémon was everything my imaginative and adventurous mind could have asked for. My experiences with these games shaped me into the gamer I am today.

But there’s one game that was more influential than any other: Mario Party. My younger brothers and I would lock ourselves away for hours with these games, working our way through the series with each new console generation. Some of my best childhood memories revolve around the Mario Party games, and they’re one of my go-tos even well into my twenties.

For this week’s article, I’d like to take a look at this delightful series and reflect on all the fun I’ve had with it. Join me as we count down the best Mario Party games ranked from worst to best.

Mario Party Games Ranked

Starting at #11, let’s work our way from worst to best to the #1 title in the series’ 22-year history.

11. Mario Party 10

Mario Party 10 Box
  • Platform(s): WiiU
  • Developer: NDCube
  • Release Date: March 20, 2015

Starting our list is the infamous Mario Party 10, which is widely considered one of the series’ worst titles. As the first and only installment released on the WiiU, it was doomed to fail due to its general lack of ingenuity and its continued use of the hated car mechanic introduced in Mario Party 9.

To the game’s credit, it does make use of the WiiU GamePad in its two new modes, Bowser Party and Amiibo Party. In Bowser Party, four players control Mario and his friends using Wiimotes, while the fifth player uses the GamePad to play as Bowser. The four players must work together to reach the end of the board without losing their hearts (which replace Mini Stars in this mode) while the Bowser player attempts to defeat them all before they reach the finish line. Amiibo Party allows up to four players to play as their Amiibos on specially-designed game boards that are reminiscent of earlier Mario Party level designs.

Mario Party 10’s mixed reviews were primarily centered around its unoriginality, though it did receive criticism for its reliance on luck over skill. Players were rewarded and penalized more by random chance than any sort of strategy, making for a frustrating and generally lackluster experience that earns it a spot at the bottom of our ranking.

10. Mario Party 9

Mario Party 9
  • Platform(s): Wii
  • Developer: NDCube
  • Release Date: March 11, 2012

Next up is Mario Party 9, which doesn’t fare much better than its successor. This installment was the first to be developed by NDCube instead of Hudson Soft, and marks the introduction of the car mechanic. The competitive board game setup is replaced by a mechanic in which all players move through the board together, taking turns navigating and collecting Mini Stars (and avoiding Ztars) to win.

One particularly frustrating point about the game is that minigames aren’t as prominently featured as in earlier titles. Although they have a slightly stronger influence on the overall gameplay, they occur much less frequently — players must land on specific spaces to trigger minigames, rather than having a game close out each round of turns.

Considering that the minigames are generally the most exciting part of the Mario Party games, the change is a significant detriment. If the game is no longer a regular source of fun and challenging minigames, nor is it a fun and competitive digital board game, what appeal is left?

9. Mario Party 8

Mario Party 8
  • Platform(s): Wii
  • Developer: Hudson Soft
  • Release Date: May 29, 2007

Mario Party 8 brings our list back to more traditional gameplay mechanics, though it has a few notable flaws. It’s a shame that three of the most recent Mario Party titles make up the bottom of our list, but we can’t overlook that the developers often tried to do a bit too much with the new console controls.

As the first Mario Party release for the Wii, Mario Party 8 goes a bit overboard on its motion controls. Players are required to point at the screen for just about every interaction with the game. Although this is to be expected to some extent, it does make for repetitive gameplay. Moreover, too many minigames utilize the same “point and click” or “shake the Wiimote” mechanic, depriving the game of some much-needed variety.

What Mario Party 8 lacks in diverse minigames, however, it makes up for in gameplay modes. There are a few fun ways to experience the standard board gameplay, including the option to split into teams or duel it out on any of the game’s uniquely-designed levels. The Star Battle Arena serves as a story mode of sorts, allowing players to face off against computers in a quest to win the final Superstar Showdown.

8. Mario Party 5

Mario Party 5
  • Platform(s): GameCube
  • Developer: Hudson Soft
  • Release Date: November 10, 2003

Mario Party 5 was the second installment released for the GameCube, and brought with it a number of changes that would go on to be standard for the next few games. Most notable among these changes is Donkey Kong’s removal from the character roster. Instead, he’s featured during special events that players trigger when landing on a DK space. The game also replaces item stores with free item capsules that players receive upon making a full rotation around the board. They can use these capsules on themselves or lay traps on nearby spaces to trip up their competitors.

Duel minigames are reintroduced along with a new Super Duel Mode, where players can duke it out one-on-one. Using points earned from playing minigames, players build custom vehicles that they use to battle one another.

7. Mario Party 7

Mario Party 7
  • Platform(s): GameCube
  • Developer: Hudson Soft
  • Release Date: November 7, 2005

Next up is Mario Party 7, another GameCube release. Although it remains relatively similar to Mario Party 6 in most ways, there are a few significant differences that set it apart. The first is its unique take on the single-player mode — rather than having a story to follow, players make their way through the game’s six boards by completing specific objectives before their opponent. Their score is added to a section that ranks players based on how many turns it took to achieve their objectives.

The second noteworthy point is the game’s eight-player mode, which allows players to team up and share a GameCube controller. Using their respective halves of the controller, teams progress through the board and complete minigames together.

6. Mario Party

Mario Party 1
  • Platform(s): Nintendo 64
  • Developer: Hudson Soft
  • Release Date: February 8, 1999

Mario Party was the game that started it all. It’s pretty simplistic in comparison with the newer, flashier titles in the series. But it established a lasting formula that proved easy to build from as the series continued.

The game features two modes — the standard, multiplayer Party Mode, and the single-player Minigame Island. This single-player-only mode came as a disappointment, as the minigames lose some of their appeal when you’re not able to compete with friends. 

Future installments would go on to make the minigame modes accessible to multiplayer, and the game was well-received enough to still be a hit despite this sticking point.

5. Mario Party 4

Mario Party 4
  • Platform(s): GameCube
  • Developer: Hudson Soft
  • Release Date: October 21, 2002

Once we get into the top five, the rankings become a bit harder — I’ve been a fan of this series long enough that each of the games holds a special place in my heart. The titles that top out our list all bring something fun and unique to the table, and all are well worth your time.

With that said, our top five list begins with Mario Party 4. This was the first installment released on the GameCube, and revolutionized the series in many ways. It’s the first game to render the game boards in 3D, adding an entirely new dimension that gives both the game and the characters a polished, cohesive look. 

The boards themselves are themed around secondary characters in the Mario franchise and include special gimmicks built around these themes. Although board-specific mechanics aren’t necessarily new in this installment, Mario Party 4 lets players take a more active role.

Overall, the series’s Switch to GameCube was well-received, and players praised the seamless integration of the new controls. While later installments would expand on Mario Party 4’s new mechanics, it still stands well on its own.

4. Super Mario Party

Super Mario Party Box
  • Platform(s): Switch
  • Developer: NDCube
  • Release Date: October 5, 2018

After the disastrous formula-breaking mechanics of Mario Party 9 and 10Super Mario Party comes as a breath of fresh air. The game returns beautifully to form, offering up 80 brand-new minigames that make excellent use of the Switch’s motion controls while still having a more traditional feel.

Super Mario Party offers a ton of fun modes and a few unique spins to the classic Party Mode. Players can now use special, character-specific dice to shake up their turns, and collect allies that add their own extra boost. Party Mode can be played competitively or as partners, with unique boards dedicated to Partner Party. All in all, Mario Party’s eighth-generation debut is pretty much everything a fan of the series could ask for.

There are a few potential areas of improvement, of course. For one, the game doesn’t utilize the Switch’s function as a hybrid console very effectively. It can’t be played in handheld mode, and players gathered around the screen in couch co-op mode are only allowed the use of a single Joy-Con. It’s not the end of the world, as the game is meant to be played with friends on a single screen, but it does come as a slight disappointment. The fact that it doesn’t offer online multiplayer for Party Mode is another such issue — although it’s fun to play the minigames, there’s nothing quite like the classic competition provided by the game boards. I’ve got my fingers crossed for an update as Nintendo continues to (slowly) build out their online support.

3. Mario Party 2

Mario Party 2
  • Platform(s): Nintendo 64
  • Developer: Hudson Soft
  • Release Date: January 24, 2000

Although Mario Party 2 doesn’t differ much from Mario Party, it’s easily one of my favorite installments. Even without significant changes to the formula, Mario Party 2 adds a new veneer and some fun mechanics that stand out even in the current era.

For starters, Party Mode offers several new game boards with unique themes and gimmicks. The characters are given costumes that match the board’s theme, and winners get a little cutscene in which they’re the hero of the story.

Minigame mode is similarly expanded to include multiplayer, allowing players to purchase and play through all 65 minigames. Mario Party 2 also introduces new minigame categories, allowing players to fight battles, win duels, and collect items throughout the match.

2. Mario Party 6

Mario Party 6
  • Platform(s): GameCube
  • Developer: Hudson Soft
  • Release Date: December 6, 2004

Mario Party 6 stands out against the other GameCube titles with a couple of stunning new mechanics. The most notable of these is the dynamic day/night cycle present in the game boards and minigames, a mechanic that had previously only appeared in Mario Party 2’s Horror Land. When the game swaps between day and night (which happens every three turns), the board changes in small ways — spaces move around, new paths open or close, and new secondary characters appear. This keeps gameplay varied and ensures that even the longest sessions stay interesting.

The game also uses the GameCube microphone, introducing a series of unique minigames that require you to blow into the mic or shout specific commands. The controls aren’t perfect, but the unique implementation certainly works to the game’s credit.

1. Mario Party 3

Mario Party 3
  • Platform(s): Nintendo 64
  • Developer: Hudson Soft
  • Release Date: May 7, 2001

This brings us to our number one pick (and my favorite game in the series)!

Mario Party 3 was the one I played more than any of the rest. Even though Party Mode lacked some of the appeal of its predecessor, the introduction of the single-player Story Mode (and the sheer number of quality minigames) captured the attention above all else.

In addition to the newly-introduced Story Mode, Mario Party 3 offers a Duel Mode in which players can duke it out one-on-one. Two players partner up with a minor Mario character and attack one another on specialized boards, playing Duel minigames to earn coins and improve their chances of winning.

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Thanks for checking out our all Mario Party games ranked! If you have a different ranking, or would just like to discuss your favorite game on the list, please feel free to leave us a comment.

Happy gaming!

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