As one of Nintendo's longest running franchises, and boasting 22 years of experience, here are the best Mario Party minigames you need to play.

13:31, 30 Dec 2020

It's a me, Mario. They say there ain't no party like a Mario Party, which is especially fun if you want to gather your friends and family around a console and watch them tear each other apart in a competitive bloodbath akin to Monopoly.

Over the past 22 years and some 17 titles, Mario Party has earned the rightful title of being the longest-running party game series and raked in over $40 million. With such a legacy behind it, there are hundreds of minigames to paw through.

Yes, the franchise's reception has dipped a bit over the years - we're looking at you Mario Party 10 - but that doesn't mean we haven't enjoyed minigames like Super Mario Party's "Slaparazzi". With the last game coming out in 2018 and the future uncertain, it's time to look back at Mario Party with our official rundown of the best Mario Party games you need to play this Christmas. You just might need to dust off some old consoles to do so. 

 

Tumble Temple: Mario Party 9

Best Mario Party Minigames

Imagining you're Indiana Jones, "Tumble Temple" was simplistic in its approach but turned out to be more than just a Temple of Doom. You have 60 seconds to avoid being wiped out by rolling, spiked, balls. If that wasn't enough, some pesky popping pegs also promised to get in your way and disturb the whole thing. With pegs changing the direction of those spiny balls of death, it no longer became a game of simply avoiding the path they were heading down. 

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While the timer ticked on, more and more balls rolled down the hill, leading to all the chaos and carnage you'd expect from something called "Tumble Temple". As with all Mario Party games, it became largely a minigame of chance as you hoped your last-minute dive stopped you from being impaled.

 

Burnstile: Mario Party 6

Best Mario Party Minigames

Another fiery showstopper was "Burnstile". Long before Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout was sending you into oblivion with "Jump Club", Mario Party 6 was tossing players into the fiery abyss below. "Burnstile" could be over in a matter of seconds thanks to how quick the rotating arm would pick up speed. There have been plenty of jump-style games in Mario Party history, but when it comes to pure fire-based fury, few have done it better than "Burnstile". 

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The added tweak here was the fact "Burnstile" was a 2v2 game, meaning you had to contend with not getting in the way of your partner as they also tried to defy death and leap over the whirring arm of spikes. It was a case of just one of you surviving longer than the opposing team, but trust us, that's easier said than done when you're trying to think and had your teammate screaming in your ear.

 

Hotel Goomba: Mario Party 5

Best Mario Party Minigames

Check in for a stay at Hotel Goomba, which is thankfully nothing to do with the dire Mario Hotel game that came out in 1994. Mario Party 5's "Hotel Goomba" was a perilous climb up the floors of this hotel where those annoying grunts did anything to get in your way. Here, players had to pick the best path to push Goombas out of the way and effectively solve a very Legend of Zelda-esque block puzzle. 

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It was a toss-up between going as fast as you could to beat your rivals, or taking your time to plan out the correct route. There was nothing worse than smugly pushing a Goomba into place, only to find out you'd blocked your own path and would have to reset the entire floor. What we love so much about "Hotel Goomba" is the fact each floor had an increasingly difficult puzzle - making it more like several games in one. If you made it to the hotel's penthouse, you really felt like you'd earned a lie-down.

 

Look Away: Mario Party 2

Best Mario Party Minigames

It's back to Mario Party 2 for a serious dose of nostalgia thanks to "Look Away". In this 1v3, it was a case of getting inside the master's mind. It was a bit like Rock, Paper, Scissors where you had to anticipate their next move, but this time, copy it. It was "music" to our ears as a tuneful melody played out, stopped, then gave you two seconds to decide which way to face. What made the round a real stand-out was the creepiness of floating heads and the haunting soundtrack.

Problems came from the fact you could decide your direction until the very last second when the klaxon sounded. If you were the sneaky main player, it was entirely possible to randomly flick through directions to throw everyone off and turn it into a luck-based round. Then again, it was horrifying to have this power stripped away from you and watch as someone else pulled the same trick next time.

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Defuse or Lose: Mario Party 5

Best Mario Party Minigames

Let's say "bomb voyage" with "Defuse or Lose", which involved you keeping your cool like you were part of a real-life bomb disposal unit. Working in a team, you had to stop the lit fuse from hitting King Bob-omb and him blowing the whole board to kingdom come. You did this by using the classic Super Mario 64 butt-stomp to extinguish the fuse.

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It was never going to be that easy to stop King Bob-omb's obsession with blowing his top. There were three lines the flame could go down and you were never quite sure when it was going to switch tracks. Added to this, a simple butt-stomp didn't stop the sparks for long, leading to the whole frantic race carrying on. What we loved most about "Diffuse or Lose" was the fact it could sometimes end in a draw - which would send all four players hurtling toward the screen in an explosive swansong.

 

Slaparazzi: Super Mario Party

Best Mario Party Minigames

We promised you it would be on the list. Despite Super Mario Party being the latest addition to the acclaimed franchise, that didn't stop it having some real belters. Among the best was "Slaparazzi", which did a bang-up job of promoting violence. A lone Koopa Troopa tries to get the best shot, which leaves you and fellow players scrambling to get yourself in their snap.

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The sole aim of "Slaparazzi" is to be the most visible player in the frame. To get there, you could punch, slap, and kick your rivals out of the way. There are always some slap/snapshot-worthy moments, which often had you wanting to actually slap your-real life opponents. We like to make up some fan fiction where all the players are angry celebrities that really hate each other and are vying for their time in the spotlight. Either way, this one really put the free-for-all in Super Mario Party.

 

Running of the Bulb: Mario Party

Best Mario Party Minigames

We're going all the way back to the OG Mario Party for a classic that still goes bump in the night over two decades later. A witty take on The Running of the Bull, "Running of the Bulb" was a fan-favourite Boo minigame. Practicing your best Ghostbusters impression, one poor unfortunate soul had to escort a lightbulb down a Boo-filled hallway. If this wasn't enough to deal with, there were Thwomps and a Big Boo to fend off as your three loyal bodyguards were there to help you on your way.

The goal of "Running of the Bulb" was to get the bulb to the end of the hallway and avoid being possessed. If a smaller boo got too close to a player, it would possess them and try to steal the bulb off the main player, hand it to Big Boo, and forfeit the round. You could punch Boos out of the way, while possessed players could be brought back to the land of the living by a swift slap. Don't pretend you weren't tempted.

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Booksquirm: Mario Party 4

Best Mario Party Minigames

There's no fairytale ending here as "Booksquirm" could see you squashed between the pages of a book. It started off slow as you had a leisurely amble to the right hole to secure your safety for another round. However, it wasn't long before the game started flicking through the pages like they were reading the latest Game of Thrones. What ensued was a mad dash to get to the upcoming hole, where no one was going to stand in your way.

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We all remember playing nice and allowing everyone to get under the crescent moon shape, only to shove an opponent to their flattening fate and leave everyone arguing for the rest of the evening about why we should play fair.

 

Shock, Drop or Roll: Mario Party 2

Best Mario Party Minigames

An electrifying addition to Mario Party has always been "Shock, Drop or Roll". Another one that puts one player in the driving seat, "Shock, Drop or Roll" placed the other three on a rolling log that was controlled by a lever. The lead player gets to roll the drum and hopefully drop the others into an electrified bed of death. How sadistic. It was like something you'd see in a Saw movie, and thanks to the pure evil streak in it, it's probably why this minigame has stood the test of time. 

Flipping between a slow roll and a frantic spin, no one knew what was coming next - not even the one holding the lever. Yes, there was "Rotisserie Rampage" as an updated version in Mario Party DS, but if you honestly preferred that round over "Shock, Drop or Roll", can you really call yourself a Mario Party fan?

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Strawberry Shortfuse: Mario Party 6

Best Mario Party Minigames

Finally, we get to the crème de la crème of the Mario Party crop with "Strawberry Shortfuse". There's something about baking and Mario Party that goes hand-in-hand, and whether you've got a sweet tooth for Mario Party 2's "Cake Factory" or Mario Party 8's "Sugar Rush", none quite had us wanting to sign up for The Great British Bake Off like "Strawberry Shortfuse". 

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Put on your best apron and head into the kitchen for some cake chaos. "Strawberry Shortfuse" asked you to test your memory in a devilish round of recall. There are 10 adorable monkeys at the start of the game, but as five carried delicious deserts, the other five carried a bomb. With lids on their trays, the monkies dashed around the kitchen and you had to keep track of one that had a pudding. As well as monkies bumbling over each other in a blur of fur, obstacles like a conveniently timed giant cake being wheeled out saw this descend into Mario Party madness. But, what else would you expect? 

You've hopefully taken a trip down memory lane with the best of best when it comes to Mario Party minigames, but it's easy to forget just how many minigames we've played over the years. Even if we might never return to the highs of Mario Party 4, that doesn't mean every entry has its own redeeming minigames. One thing's for sure though, the party don't start 'til Mario walks in.

 

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