First off, a very Happy New Year to you and yours. Hope you all had a merry Christmas, too (M and E sure did). Each new year brings a flood of gaming firsts for my two goombas, and getting to take them through each one is a blessing. Naturally, I wanted to kick off 2021 with something special – Super Mega Mini Party.
Last weekend, I stumbled upon Super Mega Mini Party while browsing Apple Arcade with M. It’s a great game with arcade mechanics that remind me of my joystick-toting childhood. We couldn’t get enough of it, and while little E is still too young to participate in many of the games, he and Mommy R cheered us on throughout. I wanted to share the experience with you in the hope you get to try it out with your own family.
What is Super Mega Mini Party (SMMP)?
Super Mega Mini Party has been in Apple Arcade for a little over one years. Essentially, it’s an assortment of various mini-games that you can play solo or with up to 3 other players. For me, SMMP is a throwback to the arcade halls of the 80s; for my kids, it’s a whole new world.
Most of the games are pretty intuitive. To my surprise, M understood how the games worked really quickly, and even managed to beat me in a few rounds. She did struggle with the controls, though, which I’ll get into later.
SMMP also comes with an extensive collection of customizable characters (‘alter egos’) with unique personalities. They don’t bring anything new to the core gameplay, but letting M and E loose in the super-stacked Character Selection filled me with joy (and not a little nostalgia).
Super Mega Mini Party: Gameplay Review
Now you’ve got the basics down, let’s look at the game in a little more detail.
1. Gameplay and Game Modes
Right now there are 16 mini-games in SMMP. You can walk around a vast open world to search for players. You can either create a lobby (they’re called ‘dance floors’ in SMMP) or join someone else’s and start playing right away.
You can choose between two game modes: Duels (1v1) and Party Mode (a group of maximum 4 players).
The inherently multiplayer set-up of SMMP sets it apart from the majority of mobile games in Apple Arcade. It’s also one of the many reasons the game has managed to survive this long with a decent player base.
2. Fun and Enjoyability
Before each game, you get a little prompt explaining how to play. From there, you can start playing without much of a hiccup. Most of the games are relatively straightforward – such as Penguin Plop, where you’re a penguin jumping over incoming predators/obstacles.
On the tougher end of things, Wizard’s Quest has to navigate an isometric grid and collect doughnuts while avoiding enemies.
Mega Golf is another highlight: an entire match of mini-golf where the winner is decided not by the least number of strokes but by reaching the hole in the least time.
However, the static image-based how-to prompts often fail to explain the deeper mechanics of each mini-game – like the chaotic Science Experiment, which you win by crashing other players into an elixir pit. Animated tutorials generally do a better job of explaining things, and would have come in particularly handy here.
The mini-games are fun but many get boring fairly quickly, and a lot of this can be put down to janky controls and input lag. Inadequate controls or compatibility even make some games unplayable, such as Mega Golf which is a real nightmare to get to work with a game controller. In the case of Miner Threat or Super Dangerous Science Job, the input lag makes it impossible to control your avatar’s movements accurately. M complained a lot during this one.
4. UI/UX and Game Design
In Duels, both players can choose their respective mini-games for two out of three rounds; in the third, the games are selected at random. However, Party Mode only gives you a choice of game in the first round, randomizing the following two games. I personally prefer more control over game selection so that I can maximize the fun for myself. In any case, the total number of mini-games isn’t nearly enough – the current collection will only last you a single weekend of solid play.
The game artwork and transitions aren’t always consistent, either. For example, the art style of Cooties differs significantly from Penguin Plop and Miner Threat, preventing full immersion in the world of SMMP.
Finally, let’s talk about avatars. What good is SMMP’s in-depth character customization if you can’t see your guy during the actual gameplay? Most mini-games replace your character with mini-game models such as wizards, miners, penguins etc. The whole character progression thing seems a waste.
Super Mega Mini Party is overall one of the better mobile games on Apple Arcade. With a few tweaks and adjustments, it could potentially become one of the best games in Apple’s collection. It’s a great way to spend some quality time with your kids without having to devote additional time to learning high-level tech or grinding for XP. Both of my kids loved the game so it’s a go for me.
What are your thoughts on Super Mega Mini Party? Share them in the comments below. Until next time!