I‘m sure you‘ve heard about the super fun Mario Party games for Nintendo Switch and wondered if you can join the party without paying. Well I‘ve got good news and bad news for you…
Let me start by saying that unfortunately, the full Mario Party games on Switch like Super Mario Party and Mario Party Superstars are not free. These big Nintendo titles cost money upfront if you want access to all their boards, minigames, and features.
But don‘t leave the party just yet! According to my research, there are still a few limited ways you may be able to play Mario Party for free, or at least at a big discount. Let me walk you through what I‘ve found.
Okay, So Why Isn‘t Mario Party Free on Switch?
As a major first-party franchise published by Nintendo themselves, the Mario Party series has always been sold as premium games rather than free-to-play titles. Nintendo invests a lot into developing new boards, minigames, graphics, and features for each release.
So for the developers to recoup costs and profit from their work, charging full price for Mario Party games makes the most sense.
In fact, according to statistics from the popular gaming website VGChartz, Super Mario Party has sold over 16.4 million copies worldwide as of January 2023. At $59.99 a pop, that‘s generated nearly $1 billion in revenue!
|Super Mario Party Global Sales
|Over 16.4 million copies
|Price per Copy
|Total Estimated Revenue
|Over $983 million
So you can see why Nintendo wouldn‘t give away such a valuable franchise for nothing. Mario Party is a consistent cash cow for them!
Good News: Limited Free Trials Previously Available!
Now for some good news. When Mario Party Superstars first launched back in October 2021, Nintendo actually let players download and experience the full game for free for 7 days!
Unfortunately that limited-time promotion ended long ago. But it does give me hope that for special occasions like new game releases or big events, Nintendo may offer similar free trials again in the future.
Heck, maybe when the rumored Mario Party 12 comes to Switch someday, we‘ll get another awesome free demo period. A guy can dream, right?
My Nintendo Rewards – Slowly Earn Discounts Over Time
If you‘re a patient and loyal Nintendo fan, signing up for their My Nintendo rewards program is a nice way to slowly earn Gold Points from purchases and gameplay.
Over time, you can redeem these points for game discounts, including Mario Party titles. Now it takes a good while to earn enough for a full game, but hey every dollar saved helps!
For example, Super Mario Party currently costs only 100 Gold Points to take $1 off in the eShop. Here are the math basics:
- You earn 5 Gold Points for every $1 spent on Nintendo games
- So 100 Gold Points would require spending $20 on eligible Nintendo stuff
- After earning 100 points, Super Mario Party drops to $58.99
Again, not completely free but it‘s a nice loyalty discount, and those Gold Points add up faster if you play a lot of Switch games.
Borrow a Physical Copy from a Friend
This is an old school tactic, but hey it works! If you have a generous friend who owns a physical copy of Super Mario Party or Mario Party Superstars, ask nicely to borrow it for a bit.
Popping in their game cartridge gives you free access to all the Mario Party goodness as long as you‘re able to play. You‘ll get to try out all the boards, minigames, and features without paying a dime yourself.
The only catch is that your free access expires when you have to return the borrowed game. But it‘s a great way to take a free test run before deciding if you want to buy your own copy.
Free Classic Mario Party Games…Eventually?
This isn‘t possible yet, but hear me out. Nintendo Switch Online subscribers currently get free access to a library of classic NES and SNES games, with new ones added regularly.
Well, Mario Party first launched in 1998 on the Nintendo 64. So theoretically, in a few more years, the original Mario Party or Mario Party 2 could get added to the Switch Online retro library!
The graphics and minigame variety might feel a bit dated today, but being able to play those classic Mario Party boards online for free would be an absolute blast.
So while we can‘t party for free right now, keep an eye out down the road for potential classic Mario Party games added to Switch Online.
Okay, What‘s the Catch? Multiplayer Requires a Paid Subscription
I‘ve got one more bummer to break to you. Even if you score a full free copy of Mario Party Superstars somehow, playing online multiplayer with friends still requires a paid Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Doh!
This service starts at just $3.99 a month, or $19.99 a year, which is pretty affordable. But it‘s still an extra cost you need to factor in for the full online Mario Party experience.
Look at it this way: you may able to attend the party for free, but you‘ve gotta chip in for the WiFi!
Plenty of Other Free Switch Games to Play!
While mainline Mario Party games aren‘t free, your Switch gives you lots of other awesome free gaming options too:
Fortnite Battle Royale – The world-famous Fortnite is 100% free on Switch with frequent content updates. Play online against millions of players!
Pokémon Quest – Adorable block Pokémon? Free-to-play adventure? Yes please! Optional in-app purchases available.
Tetris 99 – Battle against 99 other players in this insanely addictive free Tetris game. Can you emerge victorious?
Warframe – An excellent free-to-play shooter where you control ancient warriors called Warframes. Tons of customization.
Super Kirby Clash – Team up for free in this lighthearted Kirby brawler against giant bosses.
And there are many more free gaming gems to discover on the Switch eShop! While you may have to pony up for Mario Party, there are plenty of other ways to game for free on your Switch.
Will We Ever Get a Permanently Free Mario Party Game?
Like your mom telling you to clean your room, my magic eight ball says "outlook doubtful" when it comes to Mario Party going permanently free-to-play. Nintendo has too much riding on it as a big money maker.
But, I could see a slim chance of Nintendo releasing some sort of free-to-start Mario Party with limited boards and minigames, then paid DLC to unlock more content.
This would let them still cash in while offering a free trial version of sorts. However, Mario Party is such a pillar franchise for them that they may not want to mess with the proven sales formula.
The only other path I see to totally free Mario Party is if/when Nintendo starts allowing game streaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming on Switch. Services like that include Mario titles for a monthly subscription fee. But that‘s likely a long way off if ever.
For now, free-to-play Mario Party remains an elusive pipe dream, my friend. But never say never! Nintendo has surprised us before.
Let‘s Play Together Soon!
Thanks for sticking through this in-depth explainer! To recap:
Main Mario Party games require full purchase on Nintendo Switch
Limited-time free trials were offered before, and may come back for future releases
Slow earnings through My Nintendo rewards can offset cost over time
Borrowing physical copies from others allows short term free access
Classic N64 Mario Party games may eventually come to Switch Online
Even with a free game copy, multiplayer requires a paid online subscription
There are lots of other great free game options on Switch too!
Permanently free Mario Party remains unlikely, but surprises can happen
While current Mario Party titles aren‘t outright free, hopefully this info equips you with some options to join the party on the cheap side. And hey, if you ever pick up Mario Party Superstars, let‘s play online together! I‘ll bring the virtual snacks 🙂
Stay savvy, enjoy those Gold Point discounts, and let‘s game on soon!