Super Mario Party Online is finally getting an online mode. Announced today, completely out of nowhere, Nintendo revealed that you’ll now be able to play board games online with friends. You’ll have the option to play the classic four-player board game mode, or the 2v2 partner mode.
Personally, I had assumed that Super Mario Party was abandoned pretty much the moment that it was released. It was a respectable return to form, but it really needed more boards to play on and, of course, an online game mode that wasn’t terrible.
As months and years passed by with no DLC or major updates added to the game, it was fair to assume that Nintendo had moved on, and what we got at release was the final version of the game more or less. I’m probably not the only one shocked today to hear about the addition of online play.
While I can appreciate that Nintendo is responding to feedback that they likely received over years and that it’s always better late than never, I struggle to understand why it took this long. Super Mario Party released back in late 2018; not in 1998 or 2008. How did no one on the team during development anticipate that people would want to play the core game modes online?
The best time to have added online mode was at release. Failing that, the second-best time would have been ASAP the moment they realized that they messed up by not having it at release in the first place.
Perhaps if there was a greater sense of urgency Super Mario Party could have had an online mode in place before or around the time when Covid-19 sent the world in global lockdowns. Along with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Super Mario Party could have been a lockdown gem for Nintendo. Now, instead, as the world begins to open up back up again Super Mario Party is only now getting with the program.
I’m sure there will still be people here for this update, but obviously, the window of enthusiasm for Super Mario Party is closed. While it’s still a game that you dust off when you have some friends over, people have moved on to other games long ago at this point. Online mode is something that would have shone far more brightly at launch while people fussed over their new game, or during the darkest days of the pandemic.
I really don’t want to totally hate on this, because at the end of the day it’s obviously a net positive. There are still lots of people around still in lockdown, and I’m sure plenty more that are eager to whip Super Mario Party out of storage and to get some friends online to play with them. I’m genuinely stoked for those people and I am happy they are happy.
A big sale to kick this update off or a tease at new content would have been a nice touch to reinvigorate some interest in Super Mario Party.
But, as it stands, I can’t help but feeling that while it’s harmless and fine, it’s still too little too late, and all I can do is just hope that Nintendo will remember to include the feature at launch in the next Mario Party.
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