Mario Party 8

Overall

It was only a matter of time before Nintendo brought their first Mario Party title to the Nintendo Wii, as the Mario Party franchise has been one of the most developed series for Nintendo over the past few years. Nintendo in general has not been known for their tendencies to release sequels, but Mario Party has been through its eight installment in as many years. Here on the eighth version we are ready to see how the franchise takes hold of the motion capturing technology. So does Mario Party 8 manage to wow Wii owners? Read our full review to find out!

Gameplay

For those who have never played a Mario Party title before, it may take you a little while to get the hang of the game. In general it is just a big board full of mini games. However there are a lot of little quirks that shift the game from being a standard sit down and play board game. The main idea behind the franchise has always been for friends to gather around the TV and enjoy a good old fashion board game, with plenty of mini-games thrown in for good measure. The series in general has been all over the place, but the hope was to really take this franchise to the next level. Now here in 2007 we have Mario Party 8 a game that hopes the Nintendo Wii can take them over the top to become the best use of the Wii technology yet.

So in general the Mario Party franchise has never been an easy game to review, because it is just jam packed with so many different mini-games that you just have to pick a few out and use those as a sample of what the entire game has to offer. Playing this game by yourself is about just as fun as sitting down to play a game of Monopoly by yourself, it’s dreadful. This is not necessarily a developmental error but instead just the nature of the genre. It would have been nice for some sincere online play but I guess we can just hope for that in subsequent versions.

Where Hudson Soft went all out was in the board designs, which takes the concept of a board game to completely new levels. The boards themselves are highly creative and offer up some of the most unique experiences I have seen in quite sometime. This is really one of the strongest features of the game, and even others who played the game with me and who have very limited gaming exposure were very impressed with the entertaining boards that you get to play on. In general this is really a job well done for the developers.

However getting into the mini games is where this game really struggles, and in all honesty I am not sure why. In general the mini games are composed of either just straight good old fashion mini games or very simplistic motion controlled games. For the most part we have games that range from team experiences, single player experiences, or four player free-for-alls. The amount of variety in terms of who is playing and what sort of fashion is fantastic. Playing with a few people on a Saturday night is exactly what this game was made for, and in my opinion it works on that level.

To me the mini games are kind of on par with what they have been in the past few versions, just in this case there are some newer uses of the motion technology that does add some flavor to the game. The boards themselves are really what drive this game. However as you will just find yourself with a group of people wanting to see what other creative adventures the developers have in store for us. The biggest issue I had was the fact the mini games themselves weren’t varied enough and much of the motion control is so simplistic that it doesn’t offer as much fun as, say, Wii Sports. In general most of the games works well enough, however there are some that could have used some fine tuning. Having said that, this is still a solid well-rounded game that if you have a lot of get together or just enjoy the family game night, this is a solid choice for you.

Graphics

The creativity that went into Mario Party 8 is as good as they come, however Mario Party 8 doesn’t take advantage of the upgraded power of the Nintendo Wii. In general this game looks much like the previous Mario Party title. There is still that same lovable color and style that comes with any title carrying the Mario tag, but this game falls short of the new Nintendo Wii standards. Hudson Soft has done some good looking games in the past, and it is a shame there wasn’t more work done to the first Wii installment of the franchise.

Fun Factor

You have two types of party games - those that are fun and those that aren’t. Mario Party 8, even with its shortcomings, is still a fun party experience. It is not a game that I would pick up and play every day, but once a week or a few times a month is exactly what this game is made for. Just like your beautiful Monopoly game sitting in your den, this is a title that is made for those rainy weekends or just late night of pizza and soda. All in all, the motion controlled games are the most enjoyable, but nevertheless you can’t really complain as the overall package is quite enjoyable.

Overall

I enjoy the good times with friends and family, and what better way to do that then with a session on the Nintendo Wii. Mario Party 8 is a great title to bring out if you want to have a good sit down, laughing experience with a game. Mario Party 8 is not perfect and leaves plenty of room for improvement in the future, but for those who didn’t invest in a Gamecube and now have joined the large install base of the Nintendo Wii, Mario Party 8 is a good opportunity to check out what you have been missing.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.