Perhaps indicative of its stature in the grand scheme of things, Mario Party: Star Rush was initially revealed by a throwaway line in a press release at the end of E3 2016’s first day. A series more readily associated with home consoles, Star Rush is the second entry in the IP to arrive on 3DS. That may suggest it’s a quick cash-in sequel, but it actually feels rather like a test for the more free-wheeling and competitive aspects of the series that have been somewhat lost in recent times, even if the usual last chance bonuses ensure that no-one’s ever truly out of the game.
This is a key feature – and deceptively simple in its implementation – and it minimises a common issue with portable Mario Party games: namely that it’s less intuitive to play with others, which is the most fun way to experience these games. While it doesn’t replace the shared madness of TV play, nudging and smack-talking friends that are on their own 3DS is still a lot of fun. Performance is flawless using the Guest downloads too, with no lag in our tests, even to the point that the music between units was perfectly synchronised. Oddly there’s still a Download Play option, which will have the usual load times and limitations, but the Guest download ensures that families or groups of friends with four 2DS / 3DS units handy will only need one copy of the game to get stuck into the multiplayer modes.