When I was given the task of writing a Mario Party Star Rush review for Nintendo 3DS I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. Overall, I’ve been unhappy with the last two entries into the Mario Party series. Mario Party: Island Tour felt void of any fun – with shallow mini-games, while Mario Party 10 for the Wii U ended up being disappointing with very little surprise and that boring amiibo party mode. The latest entry – Mario Party Star Rush hopes to improve and innovate the series, while bringing in old and new players alike. Mario Party: Star Rush shakes things up in several ways, which we’ll cover in this review.
Unlike Mario Party: Island Tour or Mario Party 10, Star Rush doesn’t put all the players into the same vehicle. Instead all the players roll their dice at the same time, and are free to roam the game board in whatever fashion they desire. Boards are designed to give players freedom in their movements, and are unlike the straightforward / linear boards from past Mario Party games. The freedom you have in moving your character during movement rolls is a welcomed change, and provides a variety of scenarios that can make playing with others fun. Players have more options on using strategy when moving their characters thanks to the game boards design changes.
Mario Party Star Rush has many different modes to play, including Toad Scramble, Balloon Bash, Boo’s Block Party and more. In Toad Scramble four Toads run throughout the board to be the first to defeat the boss and grab Stars. All four players run across many different connect world maps. Toad Scramble seems designed for portable gaming, and stacks complexity as you beat different stages. Toad Scramble is fun, but seems slightly hollow, needing more substance and goals to give it the full mode treatment. The Balloon Bash mode pits players against each other on small levels, forcing players to run for the different stars in order to win the match. The Balloon Bash mode seems specifically designed for play on the 3DS.
Mario Party Star Rush also has a mode called Boo’s Block Party, which is nothing more than a glorified number matching game. I thought Boo’s Block Party was charming, but doesn’t provide substainial replay value. The Rhythm Recital mode is fun, providing an entertaining rhythm based game that makes use of the music roster in Nintendo’s history. I did enjoy many of the mini games in Mario Party Star Rush. Wiggler bumper cars is a blast to play with other players, while the Bowl mini had me laughing and enjoying myself immensely.
The board maps in Mario Party Star Rush are well designed, touching on many of the Super Mario themes we’ve seen over the coarse of the series. There are maps with lava and castles, tropical maps, spooky mansions and maps designed around sweets and treats. The graphics in Mario Party Star Rush look better than expected. From the colorful maps, to the well designed Mario characters – Mario Party: Star Rush doesn’t look bad by any means. I especially liked the little details put into the map environments. Nintendo spent careful attention at decorating each board and mini game.
For multiplayer gameplay Nintendo is offering a special version of Mario Party Star Rush that makes it easier to play with friends and family. Mario Party Star Rush – Party Guest Edition is a new, free download from Nintendo eShop that lets more people join in the fun, even if only one of you has the full game! Enjoy the full, multiplayer experience with limitations. You can even transfer points you’ve earned to the full version of the game, when purchased, along with amiibo data for the in-game character museum. Both local wireless and download play are supported in Mario Party Star Rush on the 3DS.
Over 13 different Mario series amiibo are compatible with Mario Party: Star Rush for the 3DS. The amiibo functionality allows you to score new characters and other in-game perks by tapping in a compatible amiibo figure. Launching alongside Mario Party Star Rush, the Super Mario lineup includes the amiibo debut of Daisy, Waluigi, and a glow-in-the-dark Boo, as well as new poses for Wario, Rosalina, Donkey Kong, and Diddy Kong. The game’s support for amiibo is pretty superficial, and won’t add a great deal of replay / gameplay value.
The music and sound in Mario Party Star Rush is nothing special. There are plenty of jingles and sound tracks to hear, but it’s all stuff we’ve heard before. The one saving grace for the music in Star Rush is the Rhythm Recital mode, which goes makes listening to classic Mario tunes fun with the modes addictive rhythm based gameplay. Mario Party Star Rush features enough music and sound effects to feel like a Mario Party game.
In conclusion Mario Party: Star Rush is a good game. In comparison to Mario Party 10 or Mario Party Island Tour I’d say Star Rush is the best. It avoids making the same mistakes as other Mario Party games, and has more of the Nintendo charm fans love. The amount of replay value, clean look and new innovative modes make this a refreshing entry into the series.
Mario Party: Star Rush – 3DS Review Score
Mario Party Star Rush Pros – Improvement over Mario Party 10 (Wii U) and Mario Party Island Tour (3DS)
Mario Party Star Rush Cons – Not enough incentive for Mario series amiibo, seems like an afterthought.
- Gameplay : 8 / 10
- Graphics : 7.25 / 10
- Music & Sound : 7.5 / 10
- Replay Value : 8.5 / 10
- Final Review Score : 7.8 / 10
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