3ds_mariopartystarrush_caseThanks to the genius masterminds at Nintendo, you’ll never hear “it’s not your turn” when playing Mario Party Star Rush.

Mario Party games have been delighting fans with short attention spans since 1998, fusing traditional board game-style play with iconic Nintendo characters and short-form video game challenges. The mini games are main event of any Mario Party iteration, but the turn taking? Not so great. Nintendo’s latest version of the multi-player madness brings a rush of excitement to the franchise by completely eliminating the turn-taking element and focusing in on the high-energy mini games.

Mario Party Star Rush features seven different play modes, including Coinatholon, Mario Shuffle, Toad Scramble, and Balloon Bash. Each version offers players a slightly different game play experience.

Coinatholon is the quickest play mode to move through. This speedy version doesn’t even include the traditional dice blocks. Players compete in a series of three pre-selected mini games in a race to collect the most coins and make it to the end of the game board. Sometimes, you’ll make it through all three laps the game has to offer, and sometimes you won’t, depending on how quick and skilled you or your opponents are.

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Toad Scramble features an open map in which players can roll their dice blocks to move in any direction. Everyone is playing as Toad, but other Mario allies are scattered throughout the board waiting to be picked up and help out along the way. Players race to get to the bosses, and work in teams to bring them down together. Allies bring help to each player, including extra moves along the board and a buddy to add points to your mini game score.

Balloon Bash is the longest of these play modes, with 20 moves around the board and a mini game after almost every roll. Players race to collect bonus coin balloons, and play a mini game every time one pops. Then, players collect the star balloons to turn their coins into coveted gold stars. The player with the most stars at the end of 20 turns is the winner.

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The mini games vary from speed tests to memory challenges, and each is more creative and original than the next. In Piranha Plantemonium, players load their cannons from each side of a square playing field, and shoot cannonballs in a row to eliminate as many Piranha plants as possible. Top it Off, is a memory and speed challenge in which players must memorize the bottom half of an object, and choose from four top half images to be the first to find the perfect match. Haunted Hallways seems like an endless maze through a ghost house (aka my personal nightmare), where players must work to find the final room and take their place on the podium. Bridgesaw Puzzle was the toughest challenge I came across, in which players had to choose from an assortment of upside down and topsy turvy pieces to find the matching piece of the bridge.

For parents who think video games are not meaningful experiences for kids, Mario Party Star Rush will enhance kids’ memory and matching skills, cognitive thinking, dexterity, teamwork, patience, and so much more. The creativity in each mini game will challenge kids how to complete each challenge effectively, sharpening their critical thinking and problem solving abilities.

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Up to four kids can play at once on their own Nintendo 3DS consoles, and best of all, only one player has to own the game to play. Mario Party Star Rush features a guest mode option, which allows players to download the game from the Nintendo eShop, and play in a local multi-player game as long as one person in the room has a paid for version of the game. Players can also fly solo and challenge the CPUs.

With 26 whimsical mini games, 12 knockout boss battles, 12 turbulent coin chaos games, and three epic versions of Bowser’s Gauntlet, Mario Party Star Rush features hours worth of exciting content, with tons of repeat play value. A colorful explosion of faced-paced delights, this iteration of Mario Party is the biggest rush of fun to date.