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First impressions of Astral Party is a mix of the Mario Party series and anime girls. The interactive board game has some promises but there’s bugs that need to be ironed out before going gung-ho on this party.

Partial Party

Astral Party - Screenshot

The party game is free-to-play with in-game purchases, where you pay for “lottery” picks of playable characters and in-game decorations like avatars and dice styles. Purchasing is not needed to play and win. Besides, you can earn the playable characters just by playing and earning items just by signing in each day.

Originally, the game was to launch a single-player mode where players can play against artificial intelligence (AI) bots and not be tied down to play against other users online. Unfortunately the game launched without it. This makes it the only way to play the game is to log online and join a room to play with other players. The match requires all four players to join and no AI bots available to fill the remaining slots. There’s plenty of users playing so finding a room should not take too long to join. You won’t have to worry about communicating between players except emojis based on the game’s character.

Earn to Win

Astral Party - Screenshot

In Astral Party, the goal is to earn three levels. First one to get to level three wins. To gain a level, it requires the user to have a certain amount of star coins to earn a level. For example, twenty coins for the first level, fourty for the second, sixty for the third. That’s not all, you need to land or at last pass a checkpoint square to earn a level.

However, not only do you need to be aware of other players but the game will spring enemies to go after your coins and deplete your health points. For example, a coin-stealing racoon will enter the board and follow the players around to steal coins. Players can go after these characters by passing them on their turn. Doing so initiates an option to fight or ignore. Fighting in the game is done by card battles. You’ll have a set of cards to use at your disposal to help power-up your character’s fighting power. The game will roll a dice to determine the number between you and the enemy. If your roll is a six and the enemy is a two, you gain the advantage of more damage if you were to roll a one instead. Enemies can also defend or evade on their end to avoid a knockout (KO). Now you earned additional coins by the KO. This applies to fighting against other players.

It’s like Mario Party but not. You roll a die (sometimes two) on a board where you can land on traps, events, a lottery to win coins and more. Unlike Mario Party, there’s only card battles that determine you and other players’ fate. Also, instead of a plumber with a red cap, you can play as a cute anime girl with bunny ears. Sounds like a fair trade.

Do You Have the Time?

The time it takes to complete a board depends on various scenarios. Where players navigate, the type of cards drawn per round and more. Some boards have easier ways to gain coins and land on checkpoints versus other boards where you’ll run into other players frequently. A board game match can take thirty minutes to over an hour. There are options to speed up the game’s flow when creating a match. This also includes the time to place a card before rolling the die. Plan your time accordingly or the game chooses the moves for you.

Only Way to Play

If you’re looking to use a game controller to play, you’ll be sad to know it’s not ideal. Playing with the PlayStation 5’s DualSense on this PC-only Steam game is limited. You can use the DualSense’s pad to move the game’s mouse and select but that’s it. The game was built for keyboard and mouse. Playing on the Steam Deck is better with its touch-screen but hopefully more options become available for those who like to play on a controller. Astral Party feels like a game that has potential to launch consoles like the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation consoles.

Hold Onto the RSVP

Astral Party certainly has some great ideas of an interactive board game but with no single player mode yet and some mechanics needing more polishing, it’s better to wait a little bit longer before joining the party.

Astral Party available on Steam for Windows operating systems only.

Astral Party - Gameplay Footage

About Seth Hay - Editor-in-chief / Webmaster

When Seth is not designing or developing, he spends time with his family and his occasional dose of anime, sports and video games.

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