Real Talk By: Ms. Throwback
Understandably at this point, Mario Party fans are few and far between. Arguably the last time Mario Party was really enjoyable was during the 90’s on the N64 and those people are still waiting for the party to start again. We’ve done a good amount of Mario Party reviews here at Play Legit, and there were three things I wanted from this latest version before I even started. Good mini-games, continual stages that can be played for an indeterminate amount of rounds, and a good balance between chance and skill.
My first wish came true with excellent mini-games from the start. Running from Bowser’s streams of fire, competing against other players to jump up the steps while avoiding spiked piranha plants, and avoiding falling platforms are things that have been done in the past with Mario Party, but Mario Party Star Rush perfects them. They are good amounts of fun, especially with other players. I don’t have any complaints as far as the mini-games but past Mario Parties have had good mini-games and that is only part of the puzzle that makes this game such a great franchise.
Typically when you start Mario Party all of the modes are available but this time the modes are unlocked as you play the game. Toad scramble is the first and main mode unlocked at the beginning. Each player teams up with their own color of toads for this mode and the goal is to collect the most amount of stars per round. Other Mario Party titles have gotten rid of this simple game play aspect and it failed, miserably. Special dice blocks and ally characters can become part of your team to help you obtain starts and most of the time it felt like the flow of the board was smooth. Much like past titles duels, coins, and boss battles all determine the outcome of any one round and it felt a lot like they were trying to go back to the old way of doing things which I loved!
Another great aspect of this title as compared to past ones is that everyone makes their moves at the same time on the board so there is no waiting for each person to like previously. It’s a great addition to the mobile title which isn’t possible on the console. Balloon bash is another mode in this version that is similar to Toad scramble but uses Mario based characters instead of a Toad team.
The boards are kind of plain and there isn’t much to look at as far as active visuals on screen. Board design is lacking even though I would say that it feels much the same as the past, it’s not nearly as interesting.
Another mode is coinathon which is a quick mode based not surprisingly on coin collecting. Stopping your opponent from collecting as many coins as you is fun in this fast-paced atmosphere based on 60-second mini-games. The games vary by level and get more challenging as the players go. There is also a goal of crossing the finish line first which determines which player wins. This mode can also be set to a number of turns or a number of wins. Past Mario Parties were over too soon because crossing the finish line meant the end of the game, thankfully this time they gave more power to the players.
Mario Shuffle mode limits the settings to two players which puts focus on Amiibo functionality. The board is split into a red and blue sides. One player goes left, and one right. Whoever makes it to the end of the board first is the winner. This mode just seemed kind of pointless to me. There are other modes that seem more worthwhile to play. I would have liked the effort put into this mode to be put into making the main modes boards more interesting. It’s disappointing that more time isn’t spent on Amiibo play, it really just seems like a second thought.
Rhythm Recital is an interesting mode where the game ditches the board altogether and players become a cooperative band which can unlock a total of ten songs. I actually became quite addicted to this mode but I almost felt like this was another game entirely, it should just be a whole other title. It didn’t fit here, but it was really fun. Boo’s Block Party and Challenge Tower are other modes with the similar feel of being in a different game. Again it’s fun, but why is it a whole mode? It’s kind of odd but it’s not terrible.
The three main modes of this game are able to be download played which means that your friends don’t need to actually own the game. This is a positive point because it’s not likely that most 3DS owners you run into will own this game but it still allows them to interact with you and have fun without needing to physically have the title.
While overall I enjoyed Mario Party Star Rush better than past Wii, Wii U console titles, and 3DS versions, I still think there is a lot to work on. If I have to stare at a more boring board for some in depth mini-gaming and my choice of the number of rounds I will, but why should I have to. It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask to have all of these things in a game that is basically on rails. This game had enough new additions and intrigue for me to safely say that this is the best Mario Party title in the last decade but it still doesn’t quite stand up to the days of old yet. It’s a worthwhile title to pick up for those of us looking for a good gift, or for those of us that miss Mario Party.
Mario Party: Star Rush
4 Out of 5
+Players choice of rounds or turns
+Easy to learn controls
+Well designed mini-games
+Download play, only need one copy of the game
-Boards lack interesting aspects
-Some modes seem like they don’t belong