Mario Party: Star Rush
Mario Party: Star Rush is a party game for the Nintendo 3DS. It is the second Mario Party game released for the system after Mario Party: Island Tour, and the fourteenth game overall. 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. The game is compatible with amiibo. 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.
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.
Ten game modes appear in Mario Party: Star Rush. At the beginning, the Toad Scramble mode is the only mode players can play, however, players unlock other modes as they play the game.
The game features a hub for a main menu, where players can visit areas by either using touch screen controls or moving around. Toad is the default character, but players can change their hub character by visiting the Character Museum. When players reach Level Star, a giant gold Mario statue can be seen over the Character Museum.
“Compete to win the most Stars! Nab Stars by getting 1st place in boss battles and by trading your coins at the end of the game.”
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 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 video games. 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 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:
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.
“Play minigames to earn coins as you race around a track! Each coin moves you forward one space. Use items to help you reach the finish line first!”
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 , 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 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.
“Be first to get your character pieces to the other side of the board! Move strategically, and don't let rivals land on your spaces!”
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.
“Compete to collect the most Stars! Grab coins from Coin Balloons, and battle it out in minigames. Exchange your coins for Stars by grabbing Star Balloons.”
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.
Up to four players can cooperate and play classic Mario tunes using the touchscreen or by tapping 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:
“Climb to the top while avoiding hidden Amps! Yellow, red, and purple spaces mean there are Amps nearby, so climb with caution!”
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 ,, , and 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
“Rotate the blocks, and line up three or more of the same number. Clear a shiny block to clear all other blocks of that same color. Try your best to earn a high score! (Endless)/Try your best and play to win! (Versus)”
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.
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.
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.
Players can use the Nintendo 3DS's Download and Local Play features to play with their friends. The following table illustrates which features are available in each mode, leaving out Challenge Tower, as Challenge Tower is a single-player only game.
However, new to the Mario Party handheld titles is the Mario Party: Star Rush - Party Guest feature. Similar to Download Play, it enables up to four players to play the game with only one game cartridge, but it gives players who do not have a copy of Mario Party: Star Rush to play with modes that only Local Play users have access to. Players need to download the Mario Party: Star Rush - Party Guest app off the Nintendo eShop into an available SD card slot and then hook up with systems that have a copy of Mario Party: Star Rush to enjoy. Additionally, progress such as unlocked characters and minigames are saved, and if players buy a full Mario Party: Star Rush copy, they can transfer the data into the copy.
amiibo can be used in Mario Party: Star Rush for the benefit and bonuses of the player, with each game mode supporting the Super Mario line-up of amiibo figures as well as the Mario characters in the Super Smash Bros. line up of amiibo. amiibo can be used to unlock locked characters as well. However, each mode has different effects for each amiibo when used on, as described in the following table.
On a side note, every amiibo can be used in the hub world. The feature is accessed by pressing . If used, fireworks can explode, stars can come raining downward, balloons can float up or confetti can rain down.
Level up system
As players spend more time playing the game, and accomplish various objectives, they gain party points, and if they get enough party points, they level up. Players start at level 1, and each level up unlocks more gameplay options.
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.
Playable (Toad Scramble)
Other playable characters
These characters, with the exception of Toad, can be collected in Toad Scramble, but are the main playable characters in other modes. The four unlockable characters, Toadette, Rosalina, Donkey Kong, and Diddy Kong are unlocked by playing through the game. However, if players have an amiibo of the character, they can unlock the character by tapping them in.
Unlockable playable characters can be unlocked by reaching respective party levels or scanning respective amiibo.
Mario Shuffle playable characters
In addition to the above playable characters, these characters are exclusively playable in the Mario Shuffle mode when players tap their amiibo in.
Abilities and Dice Blocks
In Toad Scramble mode, each character has a unique ability and Dice Block. Characters who stomp Goombas in grass, make flower buds bloom, or crush glowing rocks can simply pass by these board features to earn coins while characters who smash rocks, eat fruit, or break barrels need to stop adjacent to the board feature (includes diagonals) to earn coins from them.
In addition, players can get a Peepa disguised as another character if they play on World 2-2 and World 2-3. When this occurs, players cannot choose to use the Peepa, and the Peepa goes away after a set period of time.
In Toad Scramble, a set number of bosses occupy a set space on a board. Players can battle them in their specific minigame for a Star when players land on the space in front of them. In Balloon Bash, a Boss Battle starts when two Coin Balloons are popped at the same time. In this instance, the 1st and 4th players and 2nd and 3rd players are put on a team to fight the boss, which is chosen at random, except for Bowser.
These characters primarily act as obstacles or part of the background scenery in various minigames.
Boards can be played in three modes: Toad Scramble, Balloon Bash, Mario Shuffle, and Coinathlon. Out of the four modes, Toad Scramble and Balloon Bash have differing selectable boards, each with their own layouts and gimmicks.
Toad Scramble boards
Mario Party: Star Rush features 15 boards in the main mode, Toad Scramble, the most boards out of any Mario Party game in the series. The names of the boards are based off levels in various Mario platformers. Each of the worlds feature a specific theme: World 0 features a grassland theme, World 1 features a tropical island theme, World 2 features a ghost house theme, World 3 features a birthday cake theme, and World 4 features a Bowser theme. The latter three worlds are unlocked by finishing a game on a map from the previous world.
Balloon Bash boards
Balloon Bash features 3 boards, unlocked by playing them in succession.
In Toad Scramble and Balloon Bash, players can acquire items by landing on ? Blocks, buying them from Shy Guy Shops, or acquiring an item when they are last place when the last boss arrives. Players have the option to use them at the start of any turn. Most items directly benefit the player, though some, such as the Poison Mushroom, hurt rivals. There are only two trap-like items in the game: the Fling Spring and the Coinado.
Coinathlon items work differently. Players can acquire those items from touching an appearing item box when players receive enough coins. Players can then use the item by pressing . More than one item cannot be acquired, and players need to use up their item before they can make another item box appear. Items have different rarities. Players in first are more likely to acquire Coin Trios and Bloopers while players in lower positions can obtain Coin Bags and Double Medals.
Additionally, amiibo characters always start out with a double set of a particular item. For example, Mario always starts out with Coin Bags while Toad always starts out with Bloopers.
Toad Scramble items
* - Also available in Balloon Bash
Mario Party: Star Rush has a total of 53 minigames, a considerably lower amount than its predecessors (in comparison, Mario Party: Island Tour has 81 minigames and Mario Party 10 has 75 minigames). As in all Mario Party games, minigames are unlocked for the Minigames collection simply by playing them. In Toad Scramble and Balloon Bash mode, players select and play 4 out of a total of 26 Free-For-All minigames when they pass a Coin Balloon, whereas in Coinathlon, players play three minigames from a pool of 12 minigames under the label "Coin Chaos". In the Minigames collection, Coin Chaos minigames function as single player minigames, where players try to get a high score from all three variations of the minigame, and the only items that appear are those that are beneficial to the player rather than offensive items.
Boss Battle minigames are triggered when players land in a Boss Battle space in front of the eponymous boss in Toad Scramble. In Balloon Bash, they are triggered when two Coin Balloons are popped. The 1st place and 4th place player are put on a team and the 2nd and 3rd place players are put on another team to fight the boss, which is chosen at random except for any of Bowser's three Boss Battles. However, unlike Toad Scramble and Minigames, the first phase of each fight is fought instead of two phases. This variation of the Boss Battle cannot be selected and played in the Minigames mode, however.
One of the three Bowser's Gauntlet minigames are triggered in Coinathlon at random during a five lap or seven lap race, usually after the player has run half of the laps.
This is the second Mario Party game to not feature 1-vs-3 minigames, the first being Mario Party: Island Tour. This game is also the third Mario Party game to not have a category of 2-vs-2 minigames, although the team Boss Battles featured in Balloon Bash function similarly to 2-vs-2 minigames.
Mario Party: Star Rush is developed by Nd Cube, who has been handling development of the Mario Party series ever since Mario Party 9, though most of the members at Nd Cube are former Hudson Soft employees, the company that handled the Mario Party series until Mario Party DS. Shuichiro Nishiya is the director of this game, who has been directing Mario Party installments since Mario Party 6 barring Mario Party Advance, Mario Party DS, and Mario Party: Island Tour. Many of the directors from Mario Party 10 returned to work with this game.
Mario Party: Star Rush is one of the three Mario Party games to not have been co-developed with CAProduction, the others being Mario Party Advance and Mario Party: Island Tour.
Mario Party: Star Rush has currently received generally mixed to positive reviews, receiving a 68 from Metacritic based on 35 reviews and a 64.03% from GameRankings based on 16 reviews. 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. 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.
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.
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
Names in other languages