In an unexpected update, Super Mario Party adds online support for existing modes.
The most recent entry in the Mario Party franchise, Super Mario Party has sold very well for Nintendo. While local multiplayer has been a staple of the series for years, fans of the Switch game have had to wait a long time for online multiplayer. Super Mario Party released in 2018, this update adding new online multiplayer support comes close to 3 years after the original game’s launch.
The new update adds online support for 3 game modes: Board Game Mode, Partner Party, and Free Play (minigames). Board Game Mode lets up to 4 players compete against each other by rolling dice blocks and moving across a party board. Partner Party shakes up the traditional Mario Party experience by removing spaces for movement and adding a partner for a 2v2 game mode. While minigames were playable online before the update, gamers had access to only 10 of them. Players can now play 70 different minigames online. While most of these are now available for online play, it’s important to note that some are still missing. According to the patch notes, 10 minigames are not available during online play. In addition to the 70 playable minigames, players have access to all 20 characters and every map from the game.
There are 2 ways to play the game online: Friend Match and Private Game. Friend Match allows players to play Super Mario Party together as long as they are friends on Nintendo. Private Game lets players create new games with anyone using passwords. According to Nintendo, the new online modes require a paid subscription to Nintendo Switch Online.
It will be interesting to see how well these modes work in online play. Nintendo has not had the best track record for implementing online multiplayer in their past titles. The lack of a native voice chat feature hinders the prospects of this update as well. (Players have to download the Nintendo Switch Online app on their smartphones to communicate.)
Based on information from the patch notes, the game only allows players to play online with friends. There appears to be no support for queuing into games with random players. The lack of this feature could make it difficult for some people to play online if they don’t know anyone else with a copy of the game.
The online update for Super Mario Party is live now for the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite.