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Mario Party: Star Rush is a game for the Nintendo 3DS. It is the second Mario Party game released for the system after Mario Party: Island Tour, and the fifteenth game overall (twenty-second if arcade games are counted). The game, as with most entries of the Mario Party series, is a multiplayer-oriented party game, where up to four players compete in an interactive, digital board for the most stars. What sets this game apart from its precedents in the Mario Party series is its main mode, Toad Scramble, where, instead of players using designated Mario characters from the start, take control of a color-coded member of the Toad species and collect Mario characters around the board. Also unlike other Mario Party games, all players move at one turn, streamlining the gameplay. The board designs are non-linear as well, also unlike previous boards in the Mario Party series, where players travel in a straight line around the boards. This concept is retained in Mario Party: The Top 100, in the Minigame Match mode. The game is compatible with amiibo, which have various different uses depending on the mode that is played on. The game requires 3018 blocks for a digital download from the Nintendo eShop.

Mario Party: Star Rush also has a version of the game called Mario Party: Star Rush - Party Guest. This app can be downloaded off the Nintendo eShop for free. While it can be played alone with very restricted minigames, the primary focus of the app is to play full multiplayer with other players with only one game cartridge. If players buy an official copy of Mario Party: Star Rush, players can transfer saved data from Mario Party: Star Rush - Party Guest to their copy of the game.

Gameplay

Mario Party: Star Rush's board gameplay is the main focus of the game. Players traverse around a board, using a Dice Block numbered from 1-6. Due to the nature of the boards, most spaces landed on the boards in Mario Party: Star Rush do not trigger a special effect, while there are very few spaces that do: for example, specifically landing on a ? Block space grants the player a random item for use. Minigames can be collected from playing Toad Scramble and Coinathlon, with both modes having different ways play a minigame; in Toad Scramble, for example, players need to pass a Coin Balloon to trigger a minigame.

Toad Scramble is the only mode where players cannot choose a designated Mario character, instead, starting out with a colored member of the Toad species, corresponding to a player; said Mario characters can be used only when collected in the board, set as the leader, or with a use of an amiibo. In all other modes, however, players can choose and play as a specific Mario character, including Toad himself as an option if players wish to play as a Toad in other modes.

Cast

Mario Party: Star Rush has a total of 19 controllable characters in the entire game. Four playable characters, the colored Toads, are controlled only in the Toad Scramble mode while three characters are exclusive to the Mario Shuffle mode. The following is the confirmed cast:

Toad Scramble

Up to four players can enjoy Toad Scramble, the central mode of Mario Party: Star Rush. Each player in the beginning starts out with a member of the Toad species, where their colors correspond to each player: red being Player 1, blue being Player 2, green being Player 3, and yellow being Player 4. Players are then notified of the appearance of a boss character in the map, as well as potential ally characters that the Toads can recruit. The goal of the game is to amass the most Stars, where players can retrieve Stars by placing first in boss minigames. Players can face off against bosses by landing on the space in front of them. Every time a boss minigame is completed, a new boss appears on the board on a different spot. Up to five bosses can appear on a board. When a player plays against a boss, other players need to tap A to travel to the boss space to participate as well. When players recruit ally characters, the ally characters help out by increasing dice roll amounts with their own special Dice Blocks and helping the players earn points simultaneously in Boss Battle minigames. Ally characters have certain field abilities unique to them as well; for example, Mario can stomp on Goombas in grass while Princess Peach can make flowers bloom. Whenever a player recruits an ally character, they can switch characters before the start of any turn in order to directly use them. Up to four ally characters can be recruited for each team, having five characters in total at play. Players can duel each others' ally characters by participating in an Ally Duel, either by landing on the same space as another player or by using a Duel Glove. When an Ally Duel is triggered, one of the several events happen. One event is a Dice Block roll: the two players roll a die; whoever rolls higher wins. Another event has players choose cards with numbers facing upside-down; whoever picks a higher numbered card wins. The last event is stopping a displayed, then hidden timer for 5 seconds: whoever stops closer to 5 seconds wins. When players win the Ally Duel, they can select and steal an ally from the losing player. If the losing player does not have an ally character, the winning player earns Coins instead.

Dotted throughout the board are coins that can be collected by running through them. Players can land on special spaces as well, such as a ? Block, which gives players an item that can help players and hinder their opponents. Players can land on a Lakitu space, where at a fee of one coin, players can travel to another player's space, where an Ally Duel occurs if this happens. Cannons can blast players to marked locations elsewhere on the board. Some boards come with unique features, such as World 2-2 featuring Peepas impersonating as allies and punishing players that pick them up or rising lava in World 4-1 that burns players who are too low in elevation to other areas of the board as well as taking away some coins.

When a player passes through a Coin Balloon, the player earns coins, as well as starting a minigame. Similar to the Battle minigame of the previous Mario Party installments, the player who landed on the space can choose a minigame out of four randomly selected, rather than traditionally letting a roulette decide which minigame to play. Duel Balloons function in a similar manner, except the player who wins first place in the minigame can select and steal other rivals if other players have rivals; if the minigame ends in a tie, a card duel similar to the one in an Ally Duel is played to determine who can steal rivals.

In final boards of each World, Bowser always appears as the final boss. When a Boss Battle is about to be started with him, he punishes the player furthest from him in a variety of ways, decided by a roulette similar to events from Bowser Spaces from previous entries. If a player does not have the items Bowser demands, Bowser either does nothing or rewards them instead depending on the penalty.

At the end of the game, the game rewards bonus coins (if the game is not played on any World 0 boards) for the following criteria being met. Three of each are chosen at random:

  • Wanderer Bonus: Awarded to players who started the least Boss Battles.
  • Loner Bonus: Awarded to players who have spent the least amount of time with any allies.
  • Slowpoke Bonus: Awarded to players who moved the least in the board.
  • Sightseer Bonus: Awarded to players who have moved the most in the board.
  • Item Bonus: Awarded to players who have collected the most items, including items collected by characters' abilities.
  • Balloon Bonus: Awarded to players who have popped the most balloons, including Coin Balloons and Duel Balloons.
  • Duel Bonus: Awarded to players who have won the most Ally Duels.
  • Champion Bonus: Awarded to players who have won the most minigames.

After these have been rewarded, players are awarded with a Lucky Ally bonus for coins, which can be any ally partner, including amiibo characters. Coins are then converted to Stars, with every 10 coins equalling one Star. Whichever player has the most Stars at the end of the game is the winner. Depending on how much Stars earned, players can earn a Star Rush or, with many Stars earned, a Super Star Rush, where the game then marks maps that have these accolades won in.

Coinathlon

In a mode that up to four players can play, players must collect as many coins as they can in a set of three 60-second designated coin minigames, labeled under "Coin Chaos" to progress a set number of laps around a map. As players collect coins in minigames, they proceed through the map as the minigames happen. Players can earn a variety of items via collecting coins; when characters collect enough coins, a transparent box containing an item shows up. Players can retrieve the item by touching the box, and when players press X, they can momentarily use that item to either stun their opponents or help them gain an advantage in collecting coins. The items available are Coin Trio, Blooper, Lava Bubble, Lightning Bolt, Kamek, Double Medal, and Coin Bag, and the frequency of these items change depending on the placement of the players. Initially, the three minigames start out as Level 1 minigames, but after one cycle of all three minigames, a Level 2 variation of the three minigames are played, where there are more hazards and coins to collect, and it goes up to Level 3, the most challenging variation of the minigames. Whichever player crosses the finish line first wins the game. Records are kept for the time spent on a course; when players complete a course faster, the high score will be overwritten by a new one.

In longer games, Bowser can show up to force players to play Bowser's Gauntlet minigames; players first receive a warning when a Bowser's Gauntlet minigame will occur, which occurs before the next minigame. Players need to survive the minigames; when players get eliminated, they get sent back a number of spaces, depending on how early they got eliminated. If players survive the minigame, they receive no penalty.

Coinathlon comes in two modes. One mode is Free Play Mode, where players can choose the number of players, laps, and minigames available. The other mode, Rival Race, players can take on a series of challenges to try to earn 10 consecutive wins. The further the player gets on, the harder the challenges get.

In multiplayer versions of this mode, players cannot play against computer opponents.

Mario Shuffle

Mario Shuffle is a two-player oriented game mode that focuses on amiibo functionality. Players race across a linear, one-way board to a goal with amiibo. The red team tries to make it to the very right of the board, while the blue team tries to make to the left side of the board. Players roll two dice, and allow the outcome of the dice to affect two figurines. When a player crosses an opposing piece, the player jumps over the piece, making that piece unable to move for one turn. If a player lands on an opposing piece, the player knocks the piece back to the start of the board. Players can land on spaces that either make the piece continue further or moving back, depending on the directions on the space. If players do not have amiibo, a cardboard cut-out of a player character is used instead. A total amount of six characters can be used, each split into two teams of three. The first team who makes it across the board to their goal wins the game.

Unlike other modes, CPU opponents are decided randomly and cannot be manually changed.

Balloon Bash

Up to four players must collect coins and stars on a mini board with 10, 20, or 30 turns and minigames after a player touches a coin balloon. The gameplay is very similar to Toad Scramble, except players navigate through smaller boards and are able to use designated Mario characters rather than a player Toad, and the main goal of the game is to collect the most Stars from Star Balloons that can appear in parts of the board. Players can earn Stars if they spend 10 coins on arrival with a Star Balloon. Star Balloons can come in twos or threes, and players can purchase multiple of them at once if they have the funds. When a Coin Duel is initiated, just as an Ally Duel for Toad Scramble, whichever player wins the Coin Duel earns coins.

Similar to Toad Scramble, in the last parts of the game, the game rewards the players in last place with an item, such as a Duel Glove or extra coins. At the end, results are tallied up, with Bonus Stars given depending on the players' performances. Most of these bonuses are the same from Toad Scramble, barring some features exclusive to Toad Scramble. Also similar to Toad Scramble, players can earn Star Rushes and Super Star Rushes if they have enough Stars.

Rhythm Recital

Up to four players can cooperate and play classic Mario tunes using the touchscreen or by tapping A with correct timing. Players can initially choose an instrument from the orchestra instrumental set, which each has a different set of notes while the percussion set is unlocked when the players achieve an A rank on 5 different songs. After every song, the player is graded due to their performance: attaining a lot of "Perfects" grades players higher while missing some notes degrades the score. Players can select CPU players to fill in player slots, however, they have no effect on the performance and are therefore props. There are ten songs in total:

Challenge Tower

A single player game where a player climbs a tower with LED spaces on it. Players need to pay attention to the color of the spaces as they ascend, while also avoiding Amps on their way up the tower. Blue spaces are safe to proceed in any direction, yellow means that there is an Amp in one direction, red means there are two Amps in two directions, and purple spaces mean that the space is surrounded by Amps. Black spaces are spaces not climbed on at the moment. X spaces means that space cannot be climbed on. Players can mark spaces with a checkmark using A, B, X, and Y to help mark locations with Amps in them. Finally, Amps cannot be adjacent to each other. At first, players have the options to climb the following towers: Beginner, which has 30 floors, Intermediate which has 50 floors, and Expert, which has 70 floors. If all are played, players can unlock the 500-floor Master Tower. In the Master Tower, players can save their game for every 100th floor reached. When players clear the Master Tower, they unlock the Tower Cup.

Boo's Block Party

A puzzle game that involves spinning sides of a number block numbered 1-4 to earn points. Points are earned when 3 or more sets of numbers match. When players break enough blocks, they can choose to either send the blocks to the opponent's screen or shuffle the blocks around randomly. The game ends when the blocks reach the top of the screen and stay past the top for three seconds. In single-player mode, a player can go for a high score for as long as they can without letting their blocks go past the top of the screen.

Character Museum

The character museum allows players to view characters collected in the game. The playable characters can be chosen as the hub character. amiibo options are also found here: when players use amiibo, they unlock stamps. The quality of the stamp is dependent on how long players touch the touch screen. Players can choose to reapply stamps if the outcome is not desired. When players unlock stamps, they earn an extra set of points to increase their Party Level. If players have unlocked the Staff Credits, it can be viewed in here. Players can also play minigames from here, by viewing the minigame appearances tab for respective enemies.

amiibo

It supports both series of Super Mario amiibo.

Minigames

Players can play Free-For-All, Boss Battle, Bowser's Gauntlet, and Coin Chaos minigames they have unlocked in this mode. Additionally, Coin Chaos minigames function differently than they do in Coinathlon: these minigames are a single player minigame where players attempt to earn a high score by playing through all three levels of the minigame, and the only items that appear are those that are directly beneficial to the player.

Boss Battles

  • Mega Goomba
  • King Bobomb
  • King Boo
  • Kamek
  • Bowser

Party Guest Edition

The party guest edition is a limited version of the full game. it can be considered as a "demo" of Mario Party: Star Rush. only certain minigames can be played.

Reception

Critical reception

Mario Party: Star Rush has currently received generally mixed to positive reviews, receiving a 68 from Metacritic based on 40 reviews[1] and a 64.97% from GameRankings based on 20 reviews.[2] The game has generally been praised for the new direction in the overall Mario Party series as well as its multiplayer functionality with friends, though its weaker points is that the game is not meant for single players and the low amount of minigames has been cited. Thomas Whitehead of Nintendo Life gave Mario Party: Star Rush a 7/10, praising the new direction of the series and the Party Guest feature while saying that it is not particularly spectacular and players shouldn't rush out to buy it.[3] In his conclusion, he stated that "Mario Party: Star Rush achieves its goals. It's entertaining, charming and offers some easy-going minigame fun." Daan Koopman of Nintendo World Report gave the game a 7.5 out of 10, also praising the new direction of the main mode, saying that "Toad Scramble does a good job of changing up other Mario Party elements as well, which helps makes games competitive but still tests of skill." However, he criticized the low variety of minigames, the Rhythm Recital mode, and that some modes need more content.[4]

On the lower end, Nick Gillham of God is a Geek gave Mario Party: Star Rush a 5 out of 10. He notes that while the game is initially fun, especially with other people, it wears out and the game does not have much staying power. He also criticized how the maps have too much empty space in them and that the extra modes are superfluous and not as good as Toad Scramble.[5]

Sales

During the opening week of October 17 - October 23, 2016, Mario Party: Star Rush sold 26,473 units in Japan.[6] During the second week, it sold 40,650 copies in Japan.[7]

Nintendo eShop description

Think fast and have a blast with a variety of ways to party with Mario™, Toad™, and more, on-the-go or on the couch! It's always your turn as you and up to three friends roll the dice, roam the board, and recruit fan-favorite allies. The bigger your party, the faster you'll earn stars and coins in frantic minigames. It's instant fun for everyone!

Break free of turn order and choose your path to victory in Toad Scramble, a mode with five wild worlds filled with bite-sized, open maps to play on. Blast across them in cannons, creep around haunted houses, or get a lift from Lakitu. You may get a chance to take down Bowser's mech! Team up with Yoshi™, Daisy™, Waluigi™, and other allies along the way.

Pit your skills against friends by racing along in a gauntlet of rapid-fire minigames in Coinathlon. Cannon down Goombas, take out Shy Guys pinball-style, and even surf on a leafboard...but watch out for Wigglers! You may even find yourself wandering a labyrinth of Boos. Partying is tough business!

References to other games

  • Super Mario Bros. - The overworld theme is one of Rhythm Recital's tracks.
  • Super Mario World - The overworld theme is one of Rhythm Recital's tracks.
  • Dr. Mario: Chill is one of Rhythm Recital's tracks.
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island - The minigame Dodge Fuzzy, Get Dizzy is a reference to the level, Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy.
  • Super Mario 64- The slide theme is one of Rhythm Recital's tracks.
  • WarioWare series - Wario's Character Museum bio mentions Wario being the president of the WarioWare, Inc.
  • New Super Mario Bros.- The overworld theme is one of Rhythm Recital's tracks.
  • Super Mario Galaxy - Gusty Garden Galaxy's background music is one of Rhythm Recital's tracks.
  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii - The castle theme is one of Rhythm Recital's tracks.
  • Super Mario 3D Land - Players enter the game modes in a similar fashion players enter levels in this game. The main theme of this game is also playable in Rhythm Recital. Various sound effects have been reused from this game as well.
  • New Super Mario Bros. U - The underwater theme is one of Rhythm Recital's tracks.
  • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon - Poltergust 5000 sound effects are used in the minigame Jewel Janitors.
  • Super Mario 3D World - Samurai Smackdown is themed after Hands-On Hall. Super Bell Hill is one of Rhythm Recital's tracks. Light Boxes make a return in King Boo's Light Smite.
  • Mario Party 10 - Artwork and character animations have been reused from this game.
  • Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash - Bowser Jr.'s artwork has been reused from this game minus the tennis racket.

References in later games

  • Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle - A poster depicting the boxart of this game can be seen in Genius Girl's laboratory in the opening cutscene.
  • Mario Party: The Top 100 - Minigame Match draws heavy inspiration from Balloon Bash, having the same movement style, small boards, and objective to collect Star Balloons. The hand-drawn art style, used for the HUD, is reused for this game.
  • Mario Tennis Aces - Luigi, Daisy, Wario, Waluigi, and King Boo's artworks are reused for their character select screen icons (in the case of King Boo, his artwork, minus the crown, is used for Boo's icon).
  • Super Mario Party - The ally recruiting mechanic from this game returns as part of Party Mode, and the main menu hub world is similar to the one from this game. Diddy Kong's winning and losing animations are reused from his 1st and 4th place animations in this game.

References

  1. Metacritic score for Mario Party: Star Rush. Metacritic. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  2. GameRankings score for Mario Party: Star Rush. GameRankings. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  3. Whitehead, Thomas. Review of Mario Party: Star Rush. (October 5, 2016). Nintendo Life. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  4. Koopman, Daan. Review of Mario Party: Star Rush. (October 5, 2016). Nintendo World Report. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  5. Gillham, Nick. Review of Mario Party: Star Rush. (October 5, 2016). God is a Geek. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  6. Romano, Sam (October 26, 2016). Media Create Sales: 10/17/16 – 10/23/16. Gematsu. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  7. Romano, Sam (November 2, 2016). Media Create Sales: 10/24/16 – 10/30/16 Gematsu. Retrieved November 29, 2016.

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