A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Encourages friendly competition, social play among up to four players.
Positive Role Models
Defeated characters sigh, droop their shoulders. Winning characters celebrate but don't gloat.
Ease of Play
Several computer AI skill levels allow players to tailor challenge to suit ability, though even easiest can sometimes be tough until you've gained some experience with mini-games.
Violence & Scariness
Players can use weapons such as mallets, cannonballs to hit fantasy enemies, do ground pounds (hard jumps) on competitors. Characters either disappear, get knocked off screen once defeated.
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Products & Purchases
Players can gain a slight advantage in some modes by using amiibo figures, sold separately.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mario Party: Star Rush is a party game composed of dozens of mini-games for up to four local players, each with their own 2DS or 3DS (only one game card is required). Some mini-games involve mild cartoon violence, with Mario and his friends hitting fantasy enemies such as Goombas and Koopa Troopas with mallets or cannonballs to knock them off the screen. Most modes are designed to be played with others and make for a competitive but friendly social gaming experience. Characters show slightly exaggerated emotions when they win or lose, but they don't gloat or get too angry. Parents should note, also, that a few parts are only a tiny bit harder than some of the others in the series. When playing the computer, kids may need to practice some mini-games before they start winning.
Is It Any Good?
If you enjoy playing games with friends, and most of your friends own a Nintendo 2DS/3DS, then this game is a pretty safe bet. Despite including a couple of modes intended for quick solo sessions -- ideal for, say, a quick back seat ride to the grocery store -- Mario Party: Star Rush is at its best when played with a group of one, two, or three friends. Once each player has downloaded the "Guest" version of the game from the eShop (for free), they can connect with the player who owns the game card for full access to all the multiplayer modes. While these modes still have some of the series' well-known -- and sometimes frustrating -- end game bonuses that can take the lead away from a skilled player, the sense of competition remains strong throughout. Players will be sweating with intensity one moment as they tap buttons and slide styluses trying to win games, then laughing with their friends the next.
As is usually the case with Mario Party games, though, how much fun you have is tied to whether you like the new modes and mini-games Nintendo's designers have come up with. Die-hard franchise fans will probably appreciate that this entry includes modes that allow players to roll dice and move separately from each other rather than as a group. They'll probably also like that some of the new mini-games -- like a pinball-themed game that involves paddling Koopa Troopa shells to collect coins -- are refreshingly original. But the fact that much of the content is unlocked only through play is a bit of a drag, especially if a new mode you've just played a couple of hours to unlock turns out to not be much fun. That's the case for Rhythm Recital, which has terrific music but is otherwise just kind of blah. Still, the bulk of what we eventually gain access to is well worth playing -- especially if you can round up a few 3DS-owning pals to share the fun.
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