Mario Party Star Rush was one of only a few new Nintendo announcements out of E3, with Ever Oasis by Grezzo (due in 2017) being the other major reveal. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was arguably a reveal too, but that was perhaps more of an unveiling, as it's a game we'd known about for around two years before it was finally shown in detail.
In any case, the initial reveal of Star Rush was barely such a thing, dropped at the end of a press release before being shown, a day later, by the Treehouse team. Nintendo knows full well that its enthusiast audience, ie those watching E3, aren't necessarily the main target for this franchise, at least not any more. Mario Party has become emblematic of family friendly titles that don't set the charts alight, but evidently sell well enough - or are considered strategically important - that they get regular outings.
In a switch from past precedent, no doubt due to their contrasting commercial fortunes, it's the 3DS that's had more titles than Wii U, bucking the trend of home console dominance for the series. Mario Party 10 took a while to arrive, and Star Rush is the second in the series on 3DS after Mario Party: Island Tour. It seems like clever filler, though, arriving later this year to no doubt be pitched as a festive stocking filler, the kind of game kids and big kids alike sit around and play in groups during the Holidays. Of course that's a reason the series typically thrives on home consoles - it's most fun in multiplayer.
During a recent visit to Nintendo UK we had a brief opportunity to play Star Rush, notably the same build and map as seen in the Treehouse showcase below.
Toad Scramble immediately irritates those fed up of the steady proliferation of the character, but as an idea does highlight the key focus of this title. It was emphasized to us prior to playing that as one of the main modes it demonstrates how this entry addresses some key complaints. A vocal group of long term series fans have been bemoaning recent trends to lump players together into vehicles, stripping away their freedom and potential for mischief. There's also been a sense that recent entries have left players sitting around with little action for too long, which is the equivalent of the party where the host asks kids to wait for 10 minutes while they do the wrapping for pass-the-parcel.
In any case, we jumped into a local multiplayer match (four players) in the mode, each with a different colour Toad. The key factor is that everyone rolls the dice and moves at the same time, entirely independent of each other. As always there's a downside to stop it being too easy, so you have to move the exact number of spaces you roll, even if it's too many and you miss a square that you're targeting. Right from the off it's a race to get to Question Block spaces, coins, bonuses and boss battles, with the key being that you're not twiddling your thumbs waiting for your turn. The touchscreen has a handy map, too, if you want to be strategic about the direction you take.
Also thrown in, as shown by the Treehouse team, are ally characters that have improved abilities over Toad, so they're another target; we asked whether the amiibo range (which will include a glow in the dark Boo and Waluigi among others when the game launches) would also unlock these, and the enquiry was dodged with the "we're not talking about amiibo features yet". It seems logical, though, and it wouldn't surprise us if they also have their own mode rather like Mario Party 10; time will tell.
The focal points, certainly, are boss encounters. If you reach them first you essentially get a head start in the battle, with the others frantically tapping A to move their characters to that spot on the board to join in. Like in the E3 demonstration we stole apples from a sleeping Goomba and its children, proof that Toad truly is a cynical monster with no regards for the well-being of other creatures. Moral conundrums aside, it was a fun minigame and, like the broader game, surprisingly easy on the eyes. This is certainly one of those games where you can easily appreciate the comparison between 3DS and GameCube levels of graphical power - the designs are simple but pop nicely, especially with 3D enabled.
After this writer placed last in the apple stealing game - due to ethical concerns around theft distracting from performance - the board then popped up a second boss fight. These spawn at random points in the map, and as a result it's down to chance whether you'll be close or far away, depending on where you've moved previously. Considering the minigames in this mode seem to be largely skill-based, this and the randomised nature of pick-ups and buffs no doubt help to balance the playing field.
We got a look at a non-boss minigame shortly after, 'Acornucopia'. This one was a dash upwards while trying to avoid collisions with critters rolling down the screen, all in aid of preserving the acorns being carried on your head. As is typical of a series intent on destroying friendships you can get in each other's way and cause mishaps, and we ended up in last place again due to a desire to play fair. OK, the truth is we just played badly. What's important, beyond the fact this writer was a bit rubbish in the minigames, is that they popped up frequently, nicely complementing the rapid dice rolls and board trekking.
At that point the party ended, with our hands on time cut short because we were supposed to be playing Breath of the Wild - Link, what a party pooper.
In any case, our brief impressions of Star Rush were positive. This is a title that gives players their freedom back and also throws in large maps, a twist on the more linear boards of past generations. It also looks nice, is undeniably charming and has minigames with a careful blend of harmless fun and rampant cynicism. Which is how Mario Party should be, it must be said.
In fact, our only negative at this point is that this is a portable game, so for multiplayer shenanigans you'll need to gather a group of four people with their own systems. That's why the series is perhaps at its best on home consoles, but that aside we're looking forward to see what other tricks Star Rush has up its sleeve before its release later this year.
Glad to see mostly positive views on this game so far. It's closer to the traditional style of Mario Party! As long as there's no car, I'll most likely get it... just not sure about day one or not, though.
Oh boy, this sounds good! I really hope ends up being a fun entry in the Mario Party series. Even if it doesn't live up to games like Mario Party 3 and 2, I'll probably still buy it to mix things up a little.
Also, being portable is a big plus in my opinion. Everyone I would want to play with owns a 3DS, and it's super easy to play on long trips. I've got good memories plating Mario Party DS in the car... And then someone getting angry and shutting off their DS, ending the entire party.
Grammar for the people:
Singular - "fungus"
Plural - "fungi"
"...whether Toad is a fungus..."
"...whether Toads are fungi..."
@mjharper Yeah I know, but I didn't care in this case. Sometimes the headline is more important
@mjharper It's a pun. Fungi = "fun guy"
You must be fun at mario parties 😛
@ThomasBW84 Oops, totally missed the pun. Okay, I'll take my rules on proper English elsewhere.
@fiben1002 puns have to be grammatically correct, or they're much lamer than they already are. If you make up words or ways to use them, it's not a pun.
@mjharper No problem, I almost didn't use it because it's 'wrong', but sometimes wordplay and puns are more important than good English
All Toads in Latin = Amanita muscaria
Back to topic, i hope there is a Mii, instead a lot Fungi... i mean Toads. So far, we just only saw a Board game with concept like that. Maybe, there are some Board games that we have never knew before. Hopefully like Wii Party, every single 'Board Games' are different.
As long as there are multiple game modes, this game will be fine.
This game looks fun & cute ^_^ I had many laughs playing Island Tour, hopefully if I can encourage a friend to get the game for more giggles :3
I don't know. Personally, I'd much rather have back the old rules. The reason there was so much waiting time until you could make your own turn was imo that they just included more and more side-events such as items, dialogue and other features to justify making another entry again. Just make a Mario Party 2 and done.
Wow. This actually sounds like a good Mario Party game. Now all we need is the future NX release Mario Party 11 to get rid of the car and go back to classic boards like in the first 8 games and we will be golden. Or try something new that isn't the car
So they finally made Mario Party good again, but made it horribly impractical to actually play by requiring 4 3DS and copies of the game. Damn it Nintendo.
@NintyFan Doh! I was just gonna try out Island Tour (only for the minigames), but hearing from you, I guess it ain't happening.
But yes, this game does seem to be good so far and I'm...actually interested in it. I don't care about the playing as a Toad, but I hope there is another mode for players to play as non-Toad characters.
Too bad I have 0 real-world friends with a 3DS.
@mjharper @ThomasBW84 @fiben1002 Well as long as we're being Mario Party-poopers, "fungi" is also pronounced with a soft "g," so unless Toad's first name is Gus we're just not going to get the pun to work grammatically, period.
@mjharper There is one way this grammar works... What if the Toads are all controlled by a hive mind, and the main Toad with Red Spots we've known for the longest time is their leader? He is the fungi. The fun guy. And he wants to have fun with everyone, so you can be a fungI mean, FUN GUY... too....
I really hope the NX is a hybrid, I'm sick of Nintendo releasing so many (insignificant) 3DS games. That's one of the reasons why the Wii U underperformed in the first place. If they would've focussed their energy and resources on producing more Wii U games instead, it surely would've gotten a higher user base and would've been more successful.
Instead Nintendo waste their ressources on mobile/handheld games...
Wait a minute... Why is the Red Spot Toad wearing a red and gold shirt!? He's supposed to be wearing a blue and gold shirt, identifying him as the one closest to the highest seat of power in the kingdom! Did something happen to him? Did he change his political philosophy? Or... is he the REAL king now!?
It all makes sense... The king and queen have been absent for so long, and the Princess has been shirking her responsibilities as a monarch, leaving the Chancellor to do the brunt of the work. But now... The Chancellor has been usurped, and the Red Spot Toad has become the new dict...ruler of the kingdom! And now, all the important, powerful people are in a rush for the Stars to become a Demigod, further increasing their power! The color-coded Toads, donning their color-coded shirts, are rising up to seize this opportunity to commit mutiny against their overlord!
War is coming to the Mushroom Kingdom once again, and it's named after the deadly game that destroys friendships... Mario Party!!!
@shani The main reason why Nintendo is still around is because of their portable consoles. Not to mention, Japan is moving away from home consoles, and the Wii U has less than 1/5 the user base of the 3DS. You do the math on which console is more desirable for them to make games for.
@PlywoodStick Toad's the right hand of the Spaghetti-Os Usurper. Chef Boyardee has come to claim what is rightfully his.
@mjharper You forgot to mention that it is a soft g in this case, making it pronounced funji.
Really looking forward to this! Great review..thank you. I love all the Mario Party series though
Does this have online? If not it's a no buy.
@HeroponRiki Always gotta have a big catch, yeah.
Ugh. I just really hate Toad. I find them so, SO irritating. This whole Toad focus ruins it for me.
@TeeJay But he's a fungi!
@MagicEmperor ahahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAGH. >:[
"Nintendo knows full well that its enthusiast audience, ie those watching E3, aren't necessarily the main target for this franchise, at least not any more."
Well I sure wish someone would have told them that before last year's digital event
Sounds better than 9 and 10, but I still want to see another game in the style of 5-7...
If they do Download Play, it would actually be cheaper now to do a four-player 3DS game than a Wii U one — four 2DSes and a copy of the game comes out to $360 ($440 if you also buy an amiibo adapter for each player), while a Wii U, three remotes (assuming player one can be on the gamepad), and a game would be $480 ($520 if you need four remotes; $560 if you need Pro Controllers).
Actually even without Download Play it'd still be cheaper than a Wii U game that needs four remotes.
This game actually look very fun, I might actually give the Mario Party franchise another try! The last one I played was Mario Party seven.
Hopefully it's a good one. I miss the good Mario Party days
Yeah, sounds make sense. Maybe Japanese now is too tiring to bring bulky console to anywhere. Plus, Wii U both Japan or Western version have very poor color variation, unlike 3DS has very colorful theme. Who can't resist for changeable cover plate New 3DS ?
Some people like handheld games, the other like consoles. I do like Console better than handheld, but 3DS now has better Library games than Wii U (I have 20 3DS games right now, compared with Wii U i only have 3 so far). I know they focused on 3DS so much but hey... at least there are some good 3DS games to try. Graphic is not everything for me, even 2D graphic like Kurikin NDS is still satisfied me for some reason. High fidelity graphic is not guaranteed to make it excellent games. Btw, do you have any Nintendo handhelds ?
Aw man... But don't worry. There are still Nintendo gamer out there. Maybe they are not around your place, but they are far away, waiting for new friends. You can go online, play with them if you can't find REAL friend to play together. But if you find at least one in your place, make a good relationship and introduce the other player to getting know about 3DS. Well, not easy at first but at least their brain has been set about 3DS existence whether they like or not.
I believe we need only 1 cartridge to play, not 4 3DS to play. How horrific if we must buy 4 3DS just only to play 1 game. I believe the other players controlled by CPU.
@StephenYap3 island tour is actually very well done, every board has its own rules and it requires only one copy for the full multiplayer.
Sounds kind of like Smash Tour, what with the everyone moving at the same time and going around a free-movement board and picking up fighters to help them out in battles and all. Except hopefully better.
I like toads hat
@PlywoodStick I don't think that's true. AFAIK Nintendo have enough reserves from past generations to go on for a long time, with or without the 3DS sales. They would still be around without the handheld business.
Now think about why the Wii U has 1/5 userbase of the 3DS?
a) The 3DS is much more cheaper
b) the 3DS was released a lot sooner
c) the 3DS gets way more games
Nobody would buy the 3DS if it cost 300€, it would have less customers if it came out 2012/2013 and the 3DS would have less customers if there were less desirable games.
On the other hand, the Wii U would definitely have a lot more customers if it got the same great software support from Nintendo and third parties that the 3DS got until now.
@Anti-Matter Yeah but why do they focus so much on an inferior console like the (N)3DS? The Wii U has so much more to offer than the 3DS!
Yeah, I had a N3DS for half a year and then I sold it again because it's not interesting enough. I played a couple of dungeons in Link Between Worlds, tried out Star Fox 64 3D and Mario Kart 7, bought two music programmes and a friend played through Mario World, a game that I played as a child on my Gameboy. It was all nice and well, but it's not good enough to keep me coming back on a regular basis.
The displays are way too small (compared to a TV, projector or monitor), the whole device has terrible ergonomics (my thumbs immediately start to ache after 1-2 minutes of playing), the levels and worlds of the games are 'limited' in comparison to a home console (think Super Mario 3D World vs. Mario Galaxy 2), 2D is just not the same as 3D. I could live with the inferior graphics (in 3D games), but all of the other shortcomings made the whole console uninteresting for me.
The Gameboy was my very first console in 1989 and I loved it, but after all the home console and PC games that I played since then, I can't go back to this inferior format. And I really don't understand why it's so successful (similar to mobile games). Playing on handheld/mobile devices is just not that much fun if you ask me.
I would probably play through Link Between Worlds if I could play it on Wii U, with a big screen and the Wii U Pro Controller (or Wii U Gamepad), which I can play with for hours without any pain.
Tap here to load 42 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...