Mario Party: The Top 100
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Mario Party: The Top 100 is a game in the Mario Party series for the Nintendo 3DS, released initially on November 10, 2017 in North America. It is the twenty-first game in the Mario Party series overall, as well as the third game in the series to be released for Nintendo 3DS. The game is a compilation of various minigames from prior home console Mario Party games, all of which have been redone with updated graphics, sound, and controls, some which have slightly altered rules from the original games. The game is compatible with local wireless play and Download Play, which allows up to four players. The game supports amiibo, which can be used in the Minigame Island mode or to unlock Minigame Packs. Being initially released approximately two months after its announcement, Mario Party: The Top 100 has one of the shortest announcement to release timelines of retail games in the entire Mario franchise.
Unlike other installments from the Mario Party series, which have a focus on boards and their gameplay, Mario Party: The Top 100 has a focus on the various minigames from home console entries, which serves akin to an extended minigame mode from previous installments. Mario Party: The Top 100 does not introduce any new minigames on its own, unlike the other Mario Party games, with its entire library having only minigames that appeared in previous installments. The minigames have players doing various activities in a short time limit, such as racing against opponents in a skating rink or platforming against rivals. Players use Nintendo 3DS capabilities to perform actions, such as tapping objects with the touch screen, blowing into the mic, or using the gyroscope to balance or steer objects, though most minigames use the traditional buttons and control stick format. The goal is to perform the best out of opponents within each minigame rule and controls, which are briefly explained prior to playing the minigame. Some minigames allow players to team up against opponents, either in symmetrical 2-on-2 minigames or asymmetrical 1-on-3 minigames, and some minigames have only two players competing against each other, called Duel minigames. Not limited to these general minigames are DK minigames, Bowser minigames, and boss minigames from previous installments. Four players are always participating: if there are not enough players, computer-controlled players fill up the slots. These computer players can be adjusted with difficulty levels from Normal, Hard, Very Hard, and the unlockable Master difficulty.
Other auxiliary game modes are included in this installment. They provide other ways to play minigames, such as playing through a randomized set of minigames in Minigame Island, or playing a fixed amount and type of minigames to set records in a Decathlon mode.
Mario Party: The Top 100 has a total of seven game modes.
All 100 minigames can be selected and played on in this mode, similar to "Free Play" modes from previous games. Minigames can be sorted by game, type, or favorite status. Initially, players have access to only 55 minigames, all of them Free-for-All minigames. The rest of the minigames are unlocked through playing Minigame Island. Players can tag minigames as favorites to ease the process of selecting a minigame they wish to play in, thus creating their own pack. Players can create up to three favorite packs.
Minigame Island is a single player mode, hosted by Toad, that first appears in Mario Party. After players select their player character, they can select a computer-controlled teammate for 2-on-2 minigames: if chosen as a teammate, these characters do not appear as rivals. Players compete against computer-controlled rivals as they travel through four worlds. Minigames are in a set location, with the aesthetics of the area surrounding the space giving a clue to what minigame the player can play in; due to some worlds having a grid-like branching paths, players can also play minigames in a certain order they wish or skip certain minigames altogether. In order to beat this mode, players need to best their rivals through minigames and retain their lives given at the beginning of the game from not placing fourth. Players do not have to win the minigame to progress through Minigame Island: simply playing the minigame opens up paths to other minigames. Once a Warp Pipe is reached, Toad asks the player to either continue or quit the game, and if players continue, they can access the next World by jumping into Warp Pipes. Gradually, CPU difficulty gets harder the more players advance through the mode.
When players receive first place in a minigame, they receive three Mini Stars and 10 coins. If they win against Bowser, Donkey Kong, or against another playable character in their respective minigames, they receive four Mini Stars; prior to entering World 4, players face off against Toad himself in Slot Car Derby with other CPU players. Players receive less Mini Stars when they place second and third, and performing the worst in the minigame loses a life. Earning Mini Stars from placing well in minigames unlocks Special type minigames such as Beach Volley Folley and Jewel Drop. Players can earn lives when they receive 100 coins. Players can find numbered coin blocks in the map (marked by an ! space) and can receive an amount of coins depending on what number they hit. Minigames unlocked through this mode will be available in 100 Minigames. If players earn all Mini Stars by placing first in all minigames, they unlock the Master difficulty for computer players.
This game mode serves as the game's only board-type mode, and plays similarly to Balloon Bash from the previous installment, Mario Party: Star Rush. Players travel around a small board, rolling a dice that dictates their movement. Prior to starting the game players can set the amount of turns the game has; games that have less turns end more quickly than games that contain more. All players also choose a minigame pack from which minigames during the game will be selected. Similarly to Balloon Bash, players need to pop Star Balloons dotted across the board, as collecting the most stars is essential to winning the game. Star Balloons come at a price, and if players cannot afford the star, they cannot receive the star. Once popped, Star Balloons respawn in another area of the board, giving other players opportunities to purchase them. Players can earn more coins by doing well in minigames, as well as by collecting them around the board and popping various Coin Balloons. A 30-coin bonus can be earned if players pass by all three stamp spaces on the board. Items return and assist players against their opponents. At the end of the game, three Bonus Stars are rewarded to players that met certain criteria, such as popping the fewest Star Balloons.
When a Coin Balloon is popped, a minigame will be played at the end of the turn. The minigame is chosen by a roulette, with each player selecting one of the minigames from their chosen minigame pack. If a minigame has been played, it cannot be selected again until all the other minigames in that player's minigame pack have been played. As well, the player's portion of the roulette is larger if they were the one to pop a balloon, increasing the chances of their minigame being selected. Finally, the player whose minigame was chosen earns double the coins from the minigame.
Championship Battles is hosted by Toadette, and it has players setting off against rivals and other players using random minigames from a minigame pack, a concept first introduced in Mario Party 4. Whichever player receives the best of three or five rounds wins the mode.
First introduced in Mario Party 5, Decathlon has players playing a fixed number of set minigames in a set of either five or ten minigames against rivals and other players. The player earns more points depending on how well they completed the minigame rather than if they won, and the score in the minigame converts to points to the overall score. Players can also set a high score record in this mode.
In this mode, the player can view brief descriptions of the previous Mario Party games featured in this game, as well as of their host characters. The descriptions of items usable in Minigame Match are also available, as well as the game's music tracks.
Mario Party: The Top 100 allows players to use Nintendo 3DS Local or Download Play to play with other players. Players have access to all modes with both options, though in Minigame Match mode, Local Players can all have their favorite minigame packs chosen from a roulette while in Download Play mode, only the host can choose the pack they would wish to play with.
Mario Party: The Top 100 is compatible with Mario series amiibo in some modes. In Minigame Island mode, if players lose their last life, Toad asks the player if they want to scan an amiibo of the corresponding character to regain an extra life. Additionally, in Minigame Island, if players stand on a space with an amiibo icon, they can tap an amiibo to earn 10 coins. If a Goomba or Koopa Troopa stands on the amiibo space instead, players may tap a Goomba or Koopa Troopa amiibo respectively to earn a bonus 50 coins. Each compatible amiibo may be used only once per day.
If a Goomba or Koopa Troopa amiibo is scanned in the Minigame Pack selection screen in Minigame Match or Championship battles, players unlock the entire pack from the Goomba Minigame Pack or the Koopa Minigame Pack respectively.
Eight characters are playable. All of said characters are available from the start of the game, thus making Mario Party: The Top 100 the first non-arcade Mario Party game since Mario Party DS to not have any unlockable characters. Additionally, this game does not introduce any new playable characters to the Mario Party series, though players can use characters who are previously unavailable in prior Mario Party games, such as being able to use Rosalina in Mario Party minigames prior to her debut in Mario Party 10. Out of the Nintendo 3DS Mario Party installments, this game features the least playable characters, with eight playable characters, while Mario Party: Island Tour features ten playable characters and Mario Party: Star Rush features twelve playable characters.
Toad and Toadette are non-playable characters who serve as the game's hosts, while Bowser and Donkey Kong serve as NPCs for various minigames. The game's official website lists these characters as "Friendly Faces" and "Fierce Contenders" respectively.
There are a total of 100 minigames in this game. Minigames are sorted through many different categories, one being their play-type. Free-for-All minigames involving a battle royale between all four players. 2-on-2 minigames have two teams of two working with each other to best the other team, while 1-on-3 minigames have asymmetrical gameplay of the lone character and the team of three characters attempting to win the minigame, which both sides have different rules to each other. Special minigames are typically lengthier and have more complex rules that abide differently than the aforementioned categories.
Minigames have seven different genres: Action, Skill, Racing, Sports, Brainy, Lucky, and Puzzler. Action minigames typically involve more intense environments, with the players actively competing against one another to either obtain the most points or to survive a minigame, examples being Ice Rink Risk and Tube It or Lose It. Skill minigames have players either having the most precise movements or input a control command the most to win the minigame, examples being Face Lift and Crank to Rank. Racing minigames are self-explanatory: players race against other opponents to complete the minigame the quickest, with examples being Slot Car Derby and Sphere Factor. Sports minigames are based off actual sports with simplified, minigame rules applied to them, examples being Three Throw and Chip Shot Challenge. Brainy minigames have players either thinking or memorizing commands to win the minigame, with examples being Strawberry Shortfuse and Honeycomb Havoc. Lucky minigames require players being lucky with what they selected to win the minigame, examples being Deck Hands and Pier Pressure. And finally, Puzzler minigames have players partake in various puzzles, either playing alone or with an opponent, and these minigames include Jewel Drop and Block Star.
Minigames are also sorted into packs containing five minigames, named after the general theme of the minigame such as minigames taking place in snow/ice locations or minigames having Koopa Troopas in them. These packs can be selected for use in Minigame Match and Championship Battles, though players can create a minigame pack featuring their favorite minigames as well: up to three favorite minigame packs chosen by the player can be created. Aside from the player's custom packs, there are a total of 19 packs in the game. Two of those, the Goomba and Koopa Troopa packs, can be instantly unlocked when the respective character's amiibo is scanned.
Below is a list of all items that can be viewed in the Collection mode of the game. Character bios are unlocked once players unlock all minigmaes from that respective series. Some music is unlocked for listening to when players hear it for the first time.
Mario Party: The Top 100 has been developed by Nd Cube, the former Hudson Soft developers who have handled all Mario Party games since Mario Party 9. Rather than being directed by Shuichiro Nishiya, who returns to the game as a Senior Director, the game was directed by Tsutomu Komiyama, who worked as a planner in Mario Party 10. The overall team of directors is similar to that of Mario Party: Star Rush's staff, who also have worked on Mario Party 10.
Mario Party: The Top 100 has received mixed reviews, currently averaging 59 on review aggregate site Metacritic, based on 11 reviews and 55.88% based on 8 reviews on GameRankings. General praise has been given to the ability to play the game in brief time periods and the concept of the game being a simple compilation of nostalgic minigames from previous Mario Party installments, while the overall selection of minigames has been a point of contention. As with most Mario Party titles, critics have also praised the fun to be found if players have friends to play the game with. Common criticisms have related to the game's price and single-player content as well as it not being released on Nintendo Switch. Additionally, critics have written how the installment falls flat due to its very low amount of content in comparison with other Mario Party titles, and thus the game is not very replayable due to its shortcomings.
Writing for Hardcore Gamer, Kirstin Swalley scored the game 3.5 out of 5. Swalley opined that the game "is lacking in the more complex and competitive nature that fans of the series have come to look forward to", writing that the amount of content is very low in the title especially compared to previous Mario Party games, but praised it for its ability to "make for an enjoyable title for younger players who can easily grab some friends and compete in short spans of time". Swalley has also noted how the game lacks online play, though he praised the game's support for local play, making the experience the most enjoyable with friends. Greysun Morales, writing for Twinfinite, scored the game 2.5 out of 5, a score labeled as "poor". He praised the game's selection of minigames, the concept of creating a game solely focused on the minigames, and the fun to be had when played with friends, but criticized its "empty single-player mode with no replayability", also saying that the game "falls flat as an actual full-priced Mario Party title". Jordan Biordi of Comics Gaming Magazine also found the game to be mediocre, scoring it 5 out of 10. He has written "how incredibly dull" the title is, saying that the modes are not substantial and that Minigame Island, the method to unlock minigames, gets tiring very quickly, also noting how badly the AI difficulty fluctuates. Biordi has praised the graphics and sound as the only redeemable aspects, however, stating that "the graphics have been cleaned up and tailored well to the 3DS and the sound quality of the effects and music have also followed suit".
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