|Mario Party: To The Max|
|Developer(s)||Lone Planet Productions|
|Platform(s)|| Nintendo Switch|
|Predecessor||Super Mario Party (2018)|
Mario Party: To The Max is a video game in the Mario Party series, developed by Lone Planet as a homage to the childhood nostalgia Heronimbus (t∣b∣c) has for the series, essentially a love letter to the games as a whole. The game takes inspiration from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and aims to bring together several minigames, boards, etc. from past games, as well as all playable characters throughout the series.
To The Max follows the path of the previous game, Super Mario Party, and for the most part retains the standard gameplay of the older games in the series, with the Gamecube games in particular (Mario Party 4-7) being a major influence. However, To The Max also introduces some brand-new features for additional layers of strategy so nothing feels too random. A prime example is Cards, which are gathered as you move across the board and can be used to move a specific amount of spaces, skip a player's turn for the current round, reverse the player order, or even completely redo your previous turn.
As always (well... almost always) Mario Party: To The Max is focused around navigating a large board of interconnected spaces in search of valuable items, including the series' famed Stars, to gain the upper hand over the competition.
Each player's goal is to make it to the end of the match with the highest amount of Stars, which can be purchased at a random space for 20 coins on the first five boards, with later boards introducing gimmicks to change things up a bit. Stars may also be won in certain minigames or events depending on the circumstances. At the end of the match, Bonus Stars will also be awarded to players who have accomplished certain feats during their turns.
- The Event Star is awarded to the player who triggered the most events via Event Spaces.
- The Coin Star is given to the player with the highest amount of coins at any point during the match.
- The Minigame Star is awarded to whoever won the most minigames.
- The Red Star goes to whoever landed on the most Red Spaces.
- The Blue Star goes to whoever landed on the most Blue Spaces.
- The Running Star is given to the player who moved the most spaces altogether.
- The Card Star goes to the player who used the most cards throughout the match.
- The Orb Star is awarded to whoever used the most Orbs.
Coins are the game's primary form of currency, which can be earned or lost in several situations in each match, including (but not limited to) Blue or Red Spaces, minigames, and events triggered by Event Spaces or Orbs. Coins are important for gathering Stars, as mentioned earlier, but they can also be used at Orb Shops to purchase an Orb.
Each game consists of a set number of turns, determined when a match is set up. At the beginning of the match, turn order is decided randomly via Dice Block, with the player with the highest number making the first move. Each player is given ten coins to start off with to allow them to purchase Orbs early on.
During a player's turn, they can roll a Dice Block, pull a Card from their deck, or use any Orbs they might have in their inventory. Orbs can be bought from Orb Shops scattered around the board, and then used on the player or placed on the board in the next turn. Players also have the option to view the board map or use the camera to investigate the area more closely.
Cards can be picked up at Card Spaces spread out around the map. Passing a Card Space will not interrupt the character's movement, unlike similar situations in past games; the character will simply move forward as usual as the card is placed into their deck.
- The common Number Cards can be chosen from your deck to determine a specific amount of spaces to travel if you do not wish to leave it up to luck with a Dice Block.
- Rewind Cards, when used, will reverse the player order. In this case, the player who rolled the lowest number on the Dice Block just before the match began will now be moving first until another Rewind Card is used.
- Skip Cards are exactly what it says on the tin; the next player will not be able to move for the current turn.
- Horostar Cards will grant the player the ability to redo their previous turn altogether, with any items they have used returning to their inventory.
Power Moons, a new collectible to the series, can be gathered across the board as a possible bonus for certain events and minigames. Moons can be used to grant the player invulnerability to all traps set by opposing players for their current turn -- this also includes spaces they land on at the end of a turn, unlike the similar Magic Wand item from Mario Party 7. Alternatively, they can be saved up and exchanged at a Moon Shop for Coins, Cards, Orbs, or even a Star.
Once all players have taken their turns for the round, a minigame session will begin, and the minigame will be randomly chosen from a roulette. Ten coins are awarded to the winner at the end of each minigame. Right before a minigame begins, each player's panels are displayed; the space they stopped on during their turn gives their panel a certain color, which in turn determines what side they take in the round minigame. This will help decide whether the minigame is a Free for All, 1 vs. Rest, or Team minigame.
- A blue or red panel assigns the player to a specific side.
- A green panel will randomly assign them to the red or blue team.
- A purple panel will grant them the ability to choose their color team to decide what type of minigame will best benefit them.
- A grey panel, only shown when a player's turn has been skipped, will boot them from the minigame.
A major addition to this game is the Game Plan, a menu that can be accessed any time a player is not included in a minigame, either in the case of their turn being skipped or a Solo or Duel Minigame being triggered. In the Game Plan menu, the player can take some time to investigate the board for any nearby events or traps and look over any Cards and Orbs they have before deciding their move for the next turn. During this time, they will also be able to trade Coins or Power Moons for more items to use and bet on which player(s) will win the current minigame, gaining some Coins back if their bet turns out to be correct.
One day, MC Ballyhoo hosts a grand reunion party at Peach's Castle, with all of the playable characters from past parties as guests. They are looking over a photo album as they have their snacks and drinks, reminiscing over all the fun they've had over the years. Suddenly, the ground begins to shake, and a giant spacecraft arrives, with Fawful, Midbus, and Baby Bowser leading an army towards the castle. Fawful explains he's hatched a scheme to host the greatest party of all time -- emphasis on time, as he has created several anomalies in which party locations from their past journeys have been placed. He has pulled Baby Bowser from the past to handle his new timewarp kingdom, and has also hypnotized a new group of familiar faces to assist them. Fawful finally proclaims, "May the best party win!" and sends all his opponents into the first of his anomalies -- DK's Jungle Adventure, the very first board of the very first Mario Party...
Upon waking up, the Mario crew meets up with Brighton and Twila, who have noticed the imbalance of night and day Fawful has been causing with his time shenanigans and offer to help them stop his master plan. Fawful calls out to them from a time hole, and sends a trusted ally, Bowsette, to take care of Mario's group. She is joined by the first hypnotized character, Boom Boom, and the grand party begins.
Just like past Mario Party games, there are a wide variety of extra Modes that add more meat to the game. Many of the modes in the game are similar to past installments, but there are a few new ones that have never been seen before.
| Party Mode|
The main mode where players individiually trek around the board and collect Stars and Coins, aiming to have the most at the end of the game. At the end of each round, a minigame is played to give extra coins.
| Story Mode|
Where the Story of the game takes place. Some boards and characters can only be unlocked by playing through the story, although there may be other ways to unlock them by playing a lot of Party Mode. Plays like Party Mode but with at least 2 CPUs.
Players can take on all of the minigames that have been played through Party or Story mode. In addition to choosing the games, players can also take part in special matches when minigames are randomly selected and played.
| Super Duel Mode|
Each player pilots a special Mech made of parts you can purchase from the Flying Toad House. Some parts can also be unlocked by scanning amiibo.
Hosted by Thwomp, Whomp, and Ztar. The player is able to see special goodies, like Story Mode cutscenes, the credits, options, and extra games. Most of the content here has to be unlocked before it can be accessed.
|Flying Toad House|
Toadsworth acts as the host for his Flying Toad House, where you can spend coins and Stars on additional content.
Based on the Toad Scramble mode from Mario Party: Star Rush, Battle Mode has players assemble Allies and compete against each other and a Boss for Stars.
Tower Mode is a new mode that serves as a successor to the Bowser Mode from Mario Party 10, combining elements from tower defense and Mario Party 9-10. One player plays on a screen controller (such as a Switch in handheld mode, a Wii U Gamepad, a 3DS/DSGo system, or a Baron smart device), while the other four players use controllers without screens.
The four players with traditional controllers, a.k.a. the Rebels, form a team and move together in a special car, and their goal is to reach the end of the board and take down the Overlord's tower. The Overlord (the player with the extra screen) must keep the other players from reaching their tower; to do so, they must place down Hex traps that hinder the other players' movements. Each Hex costs a certain amount of Coins that are earned from minigames each round.
Every turn starts with a minigame, which can be either a free-for-all, a team game, or a 1 vs. Rest game. The Rebels are given number cards to use based on how well they performed in each minigame, whereas the Overlord earns more Coins they can use to buy Hexes.
Flying Toad House
Toadsworth's Flying Toad House, returning from Super Mario Realms, serves as the game shop. After saving your progress in any mode, all Coins, Stars, and Moons the human players have collected so far are stored in the Star Bank, and can be spent in the Flying Toad House, allowing players to purchase trophies, sound/music packs, extra minigames, and even additional characters.
Just as in past games, minigames occur often through the game, where players compete against one another or try to reach a goal. By winning these games, the player is given a bonus, which varies depending on the minigame. Some minigames occur at the end of each round after all of the players have moved, while others only happen when landing on specific spaces. New to the game are Finale minigames, which occur after the last turn ends, and rewards the winning player with an extra star, allowing for great comebacks or mightier wins.
The type of minigame played at the end of the round is decided by the color of each players portrait, whether it be blue, red, green, or purple. If everyone has a blue or red portrait, it is a Free For All game. If there are two Blue portraits and two Red portraits, it is a 2v2. Lastly, if it is one blue and three reds to vice versa, it is a 1v3 game. Any players with green portraits have their colors randomly decided between blue and red before the game is selected.
If a player's turn is skipped for the current round, a situation where the three remaining portraits are all red/blue will trigger a 3-Player game, while a 2-to-1 ratio of red and blue initiates a 1v2 game.
In eight-player matches, minigame selection works a bit differently. Usually, the eight players will be split into two groups, with each group of four playing their own minigame for a total of two minigames between rounds. However, if the portrait colors line up right, a larger minigame with all eight players will begin. These minigames are often expanded versions of the more traditional 4P, 1v3, and 2v2 minigames. If all eight portraits are red or blue, an 8-Player minigame will begin. If one portrait is blue and all others are red, or vice versa, it is 1v7. If half are blue and half are red, it is 4v4.
In the case where two players' turns are skipped in an eight-player match, the minigame may wind up being 6-Player, 1v5, or 3v3.
The types of minigames are described below:
|Free-for-All||Games where all players currently involved compete against each other for 10 coins.|
|Team Minigames||Games where two groups of players battle for 10 coins.|
|1 vs. Rest Minigames||Games where one player battles a larger group for 10 coins.|
|Battle Minigames||Everyone puts money into a pot; the winner gets 70% and second place gets 30%. These minigames are triggered by landing on a Battle Space, and give the player who landed on it a purple portrait.|
|Coin Minigames||In some minigames, the goal of each player/team is to rack up as many coins as possible. There is no "winner" in the traditional sense, as everyone will be able to keep the coins they have gathered.|
|Duel Minigames||Two players square off for a bet amount. Triggered by landing on a Duel Space, which gives the player a purple portrait.|
|Fawful Minigames||All players try to survive Fawful and his minions; the player in last place will receive a penalty for the next turn, decided by Fawful before the minigame begins.|
|Tumble Minigames||Players attempt to gather as many Tumble Tokens as they can, with each Token awarding them one, two, or three coins depending on which number the roulette lands on before the minigame starts. Tumble Minigames may involve the player who landed on the space, or everyone participating in the current turn.|
|Finale Minigames||At the end of a match, all players compete for a final Star in a notably more difficult Finale Minigame.|
Orbs (a.k.a. Capsules) return from Mario Party 5-7, and serve a variety of different functions when they are used by a character. In order to get Orbs, they must pass by an Orb Shop and exchange coins for Orbs, or visit an Orb Machine and get a random Orb for free. At the beginning of every turn, characters have a choice of either using an Orb on themselves or placing one on any Blue or Red space.
Every Orb also has a color; blue, red, or green. Blue Orbs help the player who uses them, Red Orbs are used to hinder opponents, and Green Orbs are focused around other Orbs or trigger miscellaneous events. The list of all Orbs is below:
Twenty-seven (27) characters, all from past games, are avaliable by default when the game is first booted. By going through Story Mode, however, the player can unlock fifteen (15) additional characters. Eight more characters can be purchased from Toadsworth's Flying Toad House, for a total of fifty (50) characters in the base roster.
|DK's Jungle Adventure|
The very first board of the very first Mario Party game, DK's Jungle Adventure had players gather up Stars to open a mystical chest in the ancient ruins. This board's task is relatively simple, just find the Star placed randomly on the board and pay 20 coins to get it.
This forest is haunted by lonely spirits and mischievous poltergeists, and its constant shift between night and day turned out suitable for Fawful's plans in the long run. Can you make it out of Horror Land... alive?
Luigi used to own this island, but it has since been overrun by Waluigi and his Piranha Plant employees, who have transformed it into a sneaky dominion of industry. One thing's for sure -- things on Waluigi's Island will get confusing... and dangerous.
|Goomba's Greedy Gala|
A gambling Goomba used some open space to build a fascinating casino so he could have some good times with his friends. But now, Goomba's Greedy Gala has fallen victim to Fawful's time shifting. At night, it's all fun and games, but when the sun rises...?
Created with dreams of the future, this board has a classic sci-fi vibe that comes with its own futuristic features. After all, you can't breathe in space in real life... In any case, Future Dream is one small game for man and one giant party for mankind, or so they say.