Mario Kart vs. Mario Party

Mario Kart vs. Mario Party

A multiplayer Mario matchup

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Versus on

Nintendo excels at making fun multiplayer games so let's take a look at a couple of their best series and see which one claims victory.

Mario Kart: Super Circuit screenshot
Mario Kart: Super Circuit may be retro at this point but it's still a blast

Racing vs. Mini-games

Of course, Mario Kart and Mario Party are very different game series so it's difficult to compare their gameplay. As far as I'm concerned, Mario Kart offers the best kart racing gameplay in all of gaming with tight controls, iconic satisfying power-ups, and plenty of gorgeous tracks inspired by classic Nintendo games. Just thinking about it makes me want to race through the tricky Tick Tock Clock, bounce across Mushroom Gorge, and carefully navigate through Rainbow Road. So many fun-filled memories...

On the other hand, Mario Party is definitely a much more diverse franchise with hundreds of mini-games, tons of enjoyable modes and boards, and rewarding items that may let you reach the next star if you use them wisely. The series has its ups and downs but even the worst Mario Party game is still full of good times. My favourites in the franchise are 4, 5, 6, and 7 for GameCube, the tremendously underrated Star Rush, and the Super-sized reboot for Switch. In the end, I guess it boils down to quality or quantity as Mario Kart surely has more satisfying core gameplay yet Mario Party is miles ahead when it comes to variety. I think I'll go with Mario Kart as the winner of this category by a slight margin. With that out of the way, let's discuss how these games hold up while playing solo.

Party of one

Face it; playing either Mario Kart or Mario Party solo simply isn't fun compared to competing locally or online. It's enjoyable to master the tracks and unlock all the cups in each Mario Kart game but that doesn't usually take very long to accomplish and once you do, there are often few replay incentives. Mario Party just feels weird playing by yourself but many of the recent games in the series offer some very cool solo modes, especially the portable iterations. Considering I find Mario Kart to become repetitive while playing by myself and some Mario Party games go the extra mile to keep you entertained by yourself, it's safe to say that Mario Party wins here.

Photo of all my Mario Kart and Mario Party games
I sure have a lot of Mario Kart and Mario Party games!

Local multiplayer

Mario Kart and Mario Party are both excellent choices for local multiplayer gaming. Mario Kart provides exciting and accessible racing gameplay that's great fun for a couch full of friends while Mario Party is best played in longer sessions and it remains enjoyable for an extended period of time. Recent Mario Party games have an awesome variety of modes that are either highly competitive or offer rewarding cooperative gameplay which can be just as fun. I have fonder memories of playing Mario Party with pals so it wins this category although Mario Kart is still immensely enjoyable albeit less varied and not as long lasting.

Online multiplayer

With these newfangled consoles, playing online is now an option for both Mario Kart and Mario Party. That being said, playing Mario Party online at this point in time can be quite disappointing with its lack of modes and generally tiresome nature so it's obvious that, even without much discussion, Mario Kart wins this category by a lap or two. Playing Mario Kart online is by far the most enjoyable way to play the series and it's usually implemented so well that it makes playing race after race rarely feel repetitive.

Super Mario Party screenshot
Super Mario Party lets Yoshi have fun with the ladies for a change

Now that we took a look at the gameplay and each way to play these delightful franchises, it's time to pick the winner...

Winner Mario Party

As someone who prefers local multiplayer over online, I absolutely love the Mario Party series. It's full of charm, oodles of variety, and innovative overarching modes that tie the fun together perfectly. However, Mario Kart is definitely a phenomenal series so this was a tough decision and I'm sure many gamers and Nintendo fans prefer it. That being said, I still think Mario Party is one of the most consistently underrated series in all of gaming. If Nintendo simultaneously announced new Mario Kart and Mario Party games, I would be one happy fellow but I'd look forward to Mario Party slightly more.

That's just my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Vote now!

Gameplay video playlist for Mario Kart vs. Mario Party 13:50
Super Mario Bros. 3 Trivia

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