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Mario Party is a series of games started on the Nintendo 64 console by Hudson Soft and currently being developed by Nd Cube studio. From the very beginning, these productions were created for local multiplayer gameplay. Over the past 18 years, each subsequent edition introduced a bit of novelty, at the same time adjusting to the Nintendo consoles currently available for sale. The latest part, entitled Mario Party: Star Rush, is the second title in the series prepared for 3DS.
At first glance, the production looks interesting. There are 7 main game modes in the game. In the main menu, we also have access to the Character Museum, which allows you to read about your favorite characters from the Super Mario universe, and to the menu of mini-games, in which we can run each of them (provided that they have been unlocked so far). However, as with the Mario Party series in recent years, something must have gone wrong again.
The latest installment tries to change the mechanics of the game, known for many years. So this time we do not have access to a standard board game, as was the case with, among others, in Mario Party 10 or Mario Party: Island Tour. At the first launch, you can only play one of the game modes called Toad Scramble. The main goal is to collect as many stars and coins as possible until the last boss is defeated. We move on the open board with multi-colored Toads. The number of steps you can take depends on the die roll. From time to time, various characters from the Super Mario universe appear in the game, who can become our helpers, thanks to which we get extra moves on our turn. Sometimes balloons with coins appear in random places, after collecting them, we get access to a mini-game, in which our score is rewarded with a certain amount of coppers.
The whole thing could be a successful mode if it wasn’t for one problem. Mario Party is a series known for its great mini-games, the list of which included a large number of them in each of the next installments. Unfortunately, in Star Rush we only find 26 of them (+12 separately counted bosses), which means that here they start to repeat almost regularly. This problem concerns one more, quite similar in terms of basic assumptions of the Ballon Bash mode.
After playing a few rounds of Toad Scramble, the game unlocks a new, most interesting mode – Coinathlon. It is a race in which two to four players compete by collecting tens of coins as quickly as possible. The main game board consists of more than 80 fields arranged in an oval track. Coinathlon is one of the few modes in which we do not rely on luck when throwing dice, but on our skills. Each coin collected means taking one step. The only random element are the bonuses we collect during the game. Sometimes we get the opportunity to double the collected coins for a short time, other times we can slow down the enemy’s movements.
Unfortunately, Coinathlon has the same problem as Toad Scramble, namely a very small number of games (12). After a short time, they begin to repeat themselves, which quickly becomes boring. It is a pity, because even by doubling their number here, the game could be more varied and interesting.
The last of the larger, typically competitive modes is Mario Shuffle. Two riders race along a straight, linear board to get to the other side. We move the pawns with two dice depending on the throw. If you land your character on the opponent, throw him onto his starting field.
In addition to these modes, Mario Party: Star Rush also includes Rhythm Recital, Boo’s Block Party and Challange Tower. The first of them is very similar in terms of gameplay to the games from the Hatsune Miku series: Project Mirai, or one of the disciplines available in Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 – artistic gymnastics. All the fun is based on the rhythmic pressing of the button. Unfortunately, in the case of Mario Party: Star Rush, it is all simplified to the limit, and when playing in multiplayer, we do not have any comparison of the results – the only thing we know is the ratings of both players. The only advantage here are the selected melodies from various installments of the Super Mario series, although there are not many of them.
Boo’s Block Party is a nice puzzle game in which our task is to rotate the numbers so that three of the same numbers are next to each other. In multiplayer mode, we have access to the possibility of a duel, where we have to achieve a better result than our opponent. This mode should appeal to fans of games that combine elements in threes and similar logical productions.
At the very end, we unlock the Challange Tower, which is the mode least suited to the Mario Party series, which does not even have the possibility of multiplayer fun. It is a slightly modified, well-known Minesweeper. The goal of the game is to safely reach the top of the tower, which is covered with panels of different colors, representing the number of opponents named Amps on the sides of a given square panel.
As Mario Party is a series of party games, the Download Play option, known from Island Tour, could not be missing here, which allows for multiplayer gameplay using only one copy of the production. This time, however, the studio responsible for the game went a step further, releasing a special application Mario Party: Star Rush Party Guest, which allows you to have fun without the tedious transfer of game files. Fun via Download Play is still available, but it does not cover all game modes.
In terms of audiovisual, the game fares well. The graphics are nice and the animation keeps the frame rate constant for most of the game. Once it happened, when on a higher level in Rolling Rumble, when too many balls and characters appeared on the screen at the same time, the game noticeably slowed down while playing in 2D. As is the case with Nintendo games, the music is pleasing to the ear, filled with both returning Super Mario classics and brand new melodies.
Mario Party: Star Rush is a fun game with a few problems. The large number of game modes will not reward the very small number of mini-games for which the series is famous. Some of the novelties introduced are interesting, but the whole thing loses a lot due to the repeatability prevailing in the production and modes completely incompatible with the Mario Party series, such as Challange Tower.
Portal rating: 6.5
The game for review was provided by the Nintendo Polska distributor – ConQuest Entertainment as