Mario Party 8 (Wii) Review

By Pikasue 21.08.2007

Yes, it's being dragged out again, so much so that even the cat doesn't want to do the honours. People have always used the MP series to fuel the "Nintendo is for kids only" fire, and the (over) use of casual mini game fun on the Wii is not doing much to disclaim that fact. Can this newest installment break away from this conveyor belt of continuity?

Well, first off the bat, there is no proper story in this one. Having dashed off strange scenarios such as the moon and star arguing who's "cooler" whilst sporting even "cooler" names, you'd think they learnt their long due lesson. Cue the strangest hybrid creature imagine, with a hat that seems to be as sentient and disturbing as the fellow wearing it. All this until he opens his mouth, then the situation becomes dreadfully worse.

I was quite impressed with the visual: although not groundbreaking, it does fit the theme of Mario Party, bustling, cheap and cheerful. It's also amusing to see odd characters from the Mario series shuffle rather poorly during establishing shots of the buildings.
Although the graphics, characters (bar two, which are revealed too easily for anyone's liking) and general aims remain the same, the boards are quite cleverly crafted. For the MP veteran in you (there's no shame in admitting it), there's the classic sort of board, 20 coins a star and so on though DK's twisty jungle path to the annoyingly random corridors of Boo's Mansion (although the music recompenses). All the others follow their own specialised theme, from crossing a tediously long boardwalk for free stars, coins used to aid the travel time to a tycoon version of Sesame Street. Well, if the Count ever turned his hand to robbing hotels, that is. The latter of these and the train scenario are the real meat of the game, offering at least one fresh feature to the octuplet set. Tactics here can vary from the mere win games, star space sprint and repeat. In twee Mario Style, kids (and the older kids) can learn to invest in hotels wisely and steal accordingly in order to reap interest in star form.

Screenshot for Mario Party 8 on Wii

Although there is no fleshed out story, you can only assume that the antagonist is no other than Bowser. Let me tell you: you're right. This conflict is brought to light during the "Star Tournament", a twist on the usual board scenario. One on Ones scenarios are rife with one clear goal in mind (isn't it always?), collecting stars in a mad rush only to pause occasionally for the odd duel. As you can imagine, it's often quite a long drawn battle of attrition, unless you're against a computer where it's painfully short. You'll find yourself predicting the numbers conveniently rolled in the coded mind of your opponent to hit that lucky space or getting the right piece of candy for the occasion, that can swell you into a bowling ball to steal coins to donning a large Bowser suit for the more devastating star snatch function.

After defeating each character for the painfully few boards available, a surprise makes itself apparent...hardly pulse shattering, but that's not what this game is about. You'll find enough shock twists in-game itself, especially since the bonus stars are now selected at random, enough to shake up the chances of experienced and rookie players. If the others play their cards right (or more specifically, roll the dice), you may find that winning all the mini games may not even earn you one star.

Screenshot for Mario Party 8 on Wii

Minigames wise, despite the wii controls, there's no big difference between the games found here and the ones in other series. It's either held like a remote control for the more simple point and click like shooting games in abundance from shooting cards to boos in a haunted house or held horizontally, either using the d pad or tilting the wiimote to move your character. This can equate to quite a frustrating time, especially since one game involves you tilting to change camera angle whilst you use the D pad to run! Other than that, the controls are pretty tight and easy to follow. The motion sensor also creates scope for racing games, including a hint of the upcoming Mario Kart to snowboarding: in other words, nothing completely new but with a little twist in the control.

However, the biggest pet peeve of this game to me is that it seems drained of soul. The top-hatted buffoon that should stay in Wonderland has drowned out the influence of Bowser, especially since Mario Party 4. The chances of seeing him on a normal board are slim pickings enough as it is...very odd that. In story mode however, you do play a hilarious minigame involving him to make up for it, but there's only a single grey cloud in his whirlwind of anarchy in multiplayer mode. No proper chance time either, which to me is actually a good thing (the computers make it cheap enough with the candy).

Screenshot for Mario Party 8 on Wii

So all in all, it uses the wiimote controls well without any major hiccups, but they've overlooked the little things that make Mario Party well...enjoyable. The little additions are great to buy in the events bazaar to prolong the game's lifespan (and if you're that sort, those little figurines that cost almost as much as minigames), and it's worth the 50 cards to see a Thwomp try to balance on a tiny moped. I don't think I'd pay full price for it though.

It's inevitable that there will be another one in this painfully long series, so let's hope Bowser is out of gaming rehab and in the zone where he rightfully belongs!

Screenshot for Mario Party 8 on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Apart from the wii controls and the board changes, there's not much new to report in the next installment of Mazza party. Graphics and controls are solid, but apart from the fact that you can swing about to move your character, there's not much new meat to feast upon. The Hotel and Boo Mansion made me raise the score a point, as did the extra features including Mii use and Test for the Best, making it closer to being worthy of the forty pound mark.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (15 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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