Super Mario Party is filled with minigames, to the surprise of absolutely no-one. The fun part is how some of those games take advantage of the extra rumble and gyro controls in the Switch's JoyCon controllers — and one game, shown at Gamescom this year, does so with steak.
Super Mario Party was playable for the first time, after being unveiled at E3, although the full board game wasn't available at Gamescom. Instead, there was a marathon-type mode, where one to four players take part in a Mario Kart-esque cup over a series of minigames.
Players get a certain amount of points for their performance in each minigame: while the winners obviously get the most points, it's not a fixed result.
But enough of that. Let's talk about steak, or more specifically, flipping it with the JoyCons.
I didn't have the luxury of other people for my session, so the video above is just the AI derping about with a pan. But you can see the idea pretty clearly: you hold the Joycon straight in your hand, and very gently push it around the pan, giving it a little flick of the wrist so you can sear the cubed steak just right.
It's the fun use of the JoyCons people thought they were going to get from 1-2 Switch. It's subtle, it's not flashy, and hell, you'll only play this minigame for under a minute at most. And maybe not even that: according to Nintendo's rep, the fastest time amongst all of the closed-door sessions (that they'd heard of) was 12 seconds.
I don't want to know how hot the pan was to sear steak that fast, but anyway.
The Switch has gone gangbusters since launch, but the potential of the HD Rumble has flown substantially under the radar. Sometimes you see games that make use of it in interesting ways — Golf Story comes to mind, using the vibrations to pump music out of the JoyCons — but for the most part, everyone's fixated on the portable aspect.
And sure, that's fine. But there's obviously plenty of potential there. Super Mario Party is the perfect game to dig into that a little more. For one, people are actually excited for it — sorry 1-2 Switch, but a gimmick a game does not make. Secondly, finding as many weird uses for the JoyCon as possible is exactly what the Mario Party series is about. It's a perfect combo.
There is the small part where you still have to deal with the nightmarish RNG that is a regular Mario Party game. And most of the 100+ minigames in Super Mario Party will be standard fare, or a bit too monotonous.
But you take the good with the bad. Mario Party has always been like that. It's still yet to be seen how the board game impacts the whole experience, but if nothing else, I'd absolutely cook a cube of steak again.
Super Mario Party releases in the UK on 5th October 2018.