Turns Out Mario Is Actually A Pretty Good Host
Nov 14, 2011 (Updated Mar 25, 2012)
Review by Caroline Taylor
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Loads of fun with friends, lots of extras, great gameplay
Cons:No online play, some minigames are pretty dull, single player isn't very fun
The Bottom Line: It's kind of like a party without good food- it's still fun, but it leaves you wanting something more
The Mario Party series was always one of those series that I was familiar with, but hadn’t ever tried simply because I was interested in other Mario games. However, when a pushy sales clerk offered me a reservation for this game, I went ahead and took it. I popped this game in and played with a few of my friends and it turns out this game is actually a lot of fun.
Recommend this product?
So for those who don’t know, here’s the premise of the game: Anywhere from 1-4 players can participate. Each player rolls a dice and moves the corresponding number of spaces. Once everyone has rolled for that turn, all the players compete in one minigame and the winner(s) win coins. These coins, which can also be gathered around the game board, are used to purchase things, whether that be a bribe to get around an obstacle, buying candy to gain an advantage, or buying the most important thing, a star. The main goal of Mario Party is to gather the most stars to determine who wins the game. And after the game is over, you are credited with carnival cards, which allow you to purchase prizes in the Fun Bazaar. This might all sound pretty complicated, but the system is actually a lot simpler when put into play.
When you first visit the menu, you have a few different options which include the Party Tent, Star Battle Arena, Minigame Tent, Extras Zone, and the Fun Bazaar. The Party Tent is the main mode of the game, and the one I will be spending the most time discussing. The Star Battle Arena is a single player mode which pits you against 1 computer rival, and you play roughly 5-6 rounds, competing for the most amount of stars. The Minigame Tent is a fairly basic mode that allows you to play all the minigames featured in the other game modes without having to boot up an actual game. It comes in handy as it allows you to practice on the tougher games. The Extras Zone also has minigames, but unlike the Minigame tent, these games are not featured in other game modes, and are just extra games thrown in. Some of these games include Table Tennis, Bowling, etc. but truthfully, I haven’t tried these very much. And then there’s the Fun Bazaar, which is where you can purchase “souvenirs” such as figurines, minigames, and more with your hard earned cards.
At the Party Tent, you have the option of 3 game variants: Battle Royale, which is essentially every man for himself, Tag Battle, where 4 players split into teams of two, or Duel Battle, where 2 players duke it out for the top spot. All the game modes are fun, but I personally prefer Battle Royale. Once you’ve established the variant you want to play, each player picks a character such as Bowser, Yoshi, etc. Then, you set the number of turns in the game and the fun begins.
When you open up a game, you have a choice between 6 different “game boards” on which you can play the game. The goal is the same in all of them- to gather the most stars, however, each board differs in the way that you go about gathering the stars. For example, King Boo’s Haunted Hideaway requires players to search through multiple rooms and search out the King Boo, who will reward them with a star for 10 coins, whereas other places such as Koopa’s Tycoon Town require you to purchase hotels and build up your real-estate empire to round up precious stars. All of these courses are designed well with many branching paths, trapdoors, etc. and require a mix of both luck and strategy in order to carry out the main goal. These courses are certainly hectic, but they are a lot of fun.
And then there’s the minigames- which can essentially make or break the game. The minigames in this game are a bit of a mixed bag- there are some really fun ones that require you to compete by doing things such as tightrope walking, shooting people with snowballs, etc. but along with this, there are a few games that pretty boring and unoriginal, like games that require you to turn a crank to hoist a flag or fix a clock. I’m not really sure who thought that those activities would make a good minigame :/. Another thing that I would’ve liked to see was more control variety. Many of the minigames utilize very little motion controls and some feature none at all. This is truly a shame because Nintendo had a lot to work with in regards to the Wii Remote, and I feel like they didn’t really take advantage of it. Maybe in the next installment they’ll work more motion controls in.
One thing I also noticed was that this game doesn’t have online play. I found this really unusual because to me, it seems like a no-brainer to include it with a Mario Party game. Who wouldn’t want to face off against all their friends online? If that were included, this game would’ve been that much better.
I should probably also make a mention of graphics and sound. For Wii standards, this game looks pretty nice. The character models have a decent amount of detail and all of the game boards are vibrant and detailed. As for the sound, it's basic but it works alright. There's music for all the game boards along with the minigames, and all of the characters have their own unique "battle cry" when they do well in the game.
Overall, Mario Party 8 is a fairly good game. It’s not that this game does things wrong, it’s just that after playing it for some time, I’m still not satisfied. I’m left feeling like there’s so much Nintendo could’ve done to make this game great, but they didn’t take advantage of it. Regardless of this, Mario Party 8 is still stands as one of the better party games on the Wii.
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