Every game in the main series has a standard Party Mode in which up to four players play through a board, trying to collect as many stars as possible. In every turn, each player rolls a die and progresses on the board, which usually has branching paths. Coins are primarily earned by performing well in a minigame played at the end of each turn. On most boards, players earn stars by reaching a star space and purchasing a star for a certain amount of coins. The star space appears randomly on one of several pre-determined locations and moves every time a star is purchased, usually occupying a blue space.
Every Mario Party contains at least 50 to almost 110 minigames with a few different types. Four-player games are a free-for-all in which players compete individually. In 2-on-2 and 1-on-3 minigames, players compete as two groups, cooperating to win, even though they are still competing individually in the main game. Some minigames in Mario Party are 4-player co-op, even though it doesn't say it. In most situations, winners earn ten coins each.
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It's a fine introduction to the Mario Party series. In fact, I am surprised at how many things it got right considering this was the first entry. I am not surprised at all the things it got wrong. One word to describe this game is: Punishing. And not just mentally, but physically too.