Mario Party Star Rush is the newest Mario Party game released on the 3DS. The game is different from your normal Mario Party this time around, with many new modes. The main party mode for this game is Toad scramble. There is a race to see who collects the most coins in a short amount of time through unique mini games in Coinathalon, and a mix of Toad scramble and traditional Mario Party with Balloon Bash, among others. The other modes are more simple and less important to the overall game, like a new puzzle game and vertical minesweeper.
Toad Scramble, the new twist on party mode, is the main mode of the game where 4 toads (who could’ve guessed) race to gather the most stars from the bosses. Race, however being used lightly, as there are many ways to play this mode. You could always just head straight for the bosses, but typically this is not how you gain the most stars. What I usually do is hog the shy guy shop and get the double card every time. The double card gets you double the items from a boss game, so if you have 2 cards in the final boss game and win 1st, you get 8 stars instead of 2. But if you go after the boss directly you get a bonus 5 coins (half a star at the end of the game) along with getting the first few shots off the boss. All of this is to show that the game has a lot of strategy which makes the mode a lot of fun. The unique stages and the tutorial levels, which tell you exactly how to play the game while still feeling like normal stages, are also fun. There are also 12 stages (15 with the tutorial stages) which ensures replayability.
The other main mode, Coinathalon, is a race to get the most coins while playing unique minigames, all the while throwing items at your opponents to deter them. It is very simple, but very fun at the same time.
Balloon Bash is a mode that combines normal Mario Party and Toad Scramble to make a unique new mode. This mode is all about walking around a small board collecting coins and items, but most importantly walking into balloons to get stars or cause minigames to occur. You still have to buy stars, and if you get 2 minigame balloons in one round you get a boss game instead. There are other modes but they are less important, like vertical minesweeper, a rhythm game, a puzzle game, and a character gallery.
The game presentation-wise, looks great for the 3DS, with high poly models and lots on screen at a time with no frame drops. The music is fine, but not great.
Overall, the game is great and is definitely worth the $40. It is a very fun, late 3DS title, with many unique attributes.