What is Mario Party Star Rush?
Mario Party: Star Rush is a board game/mini-game compilation, boasting seven different modes and 50+ mini-games to play through. Players compete across various different games, playing as their favourite Mushroom Kingdom characters. Up to four friends and family join in with the fun too, without having to buy multiple copies of the game, through either 3DS Download Play, or the free downloadable Mario Party: Star Rush - Party Guest.
How do you play Mario Party Star Rush?
Mario Party: Star Rush has a wide variety of modes on offer to get stuck into. Toad Scramble is the main mode and sees everyone playing as different coloured Toad characters, plotting their course across an open gridded board, heading for the 'boss' square that appears randomly on the level. Landing on the boss square triggers a battle mini-game, where players load bombs into cannons, bop balls on their head in time with the music or fling shells to defeat the boss, with whoever manages to amass the most points at the end being awarded a star. Whoever has the most stars at the end of the game, wins.
In a similar vein, Balloon Bash lets you play as Mario, Luigi and co as you make your way around more linear, looping paths, hunting down the Star Balloons that appear - pop one, and for the low, low price of ten coins you'll get a star - as before, the one with the most stars at the end wins. Both Toad Scramble and Balloon Bash are interspersed with mini-games - short, quick-fire games that see you bumping into other players as they ride giant caterpillars, bowling over moles and leaping your way up a mountain as fast as you can.
Other modes include Coinathlon, which has you playing back-to-back mini-games, where each coin you collect moves your character one space around a board, first over the finish line wins, while Rhythm Recital has you tapping the screen in time with the prompts to play along to your choice of famous Mario tune. Mario Shuffle puts three counters each at opposite ends of a board and has you racing to reach your opponents' side first - only you can send your opponent's counter back to the start should you manage to land on top of them, while Boo's Block Party is a match-3-esque game in which players change the number/colour of blocks to make a row of three or more horizontally or vertically to make them disappear, clogging up their opponents' screen with Boos until someone is declared the winner. Finally, Challenge Tower is a vertical version of Minesweeper, where you need to climb up a tower, figuring out where the hidden bombs lie based on the colour of the surrounding squares.
How easy is Mario Party Star Rush to pick up and play?
In terms of accessibility, Mario Party: Star Rush is a bit trickier to pick up and play than the other games. While previous instalment have provided clear instructions before each mini-game (both animated and textual), Mario Party: Star Rush does away with any sort of animated instructions altogether, and instead gives you only a single line of text, which often works more as a hint than instruction. As an example, one of the games, Fruit Parade, tells you to simply count the fruit that the Shy Guy characters carry across the screen - the proceeds to ask you how many oranges were on show, not making it clear from the start you needed to do more than add up the total. What this means is that more experienced players will pick up what to do in the mini-games a lot quicker than newcomers.
Generally speaking though, most of the mini-games and modes are pretty self explanatory, there's plenty here for players of all abilities to enjoy. Once you've played through each mini-game once, you'll have got the hang of it.
Needless to say, a reading ability is a requirement for Mario Party: Star Rush, as along with the single line instruction you'll get for each mini-game, you'll also need to be a proficient reader for a mini-game called Pop Quiz. Here, you're asked questions about the four characters on-screen ("which Koopa was facing forwards), but you're asked entirely through text, with the game referencing the different Mario characters and baddies by name only - so you'll need to know your Koopa from your Shy Guy.
Sample Sentences include:
- "Connect the pieces to build a bridge."
- "Where was the Shy Guy?"
- "Climb the tower while avoiding those pesky Amps!"
In traditional Nintendo style, Mario Party: Star Rush is as inoffensive as they come - there's no bad language, bloody violence or sex scenes whatsoever; just good, clean fun.