Mario Party 8 Review

Since 1999, the Mario Party series has continued to showcase one of the industry’s most enticing forms of multiplayer gameplay. While the franchise has not been a work of art, the series has evolved into one of the gaming world’s most consistent annual traditions. Even though consistency is an excellent attribute for any franchise to boast, the Mario Party series has never had a breakthrough title to launch it above its current status. After playing through Mario Party 8, it’s safe to say it still doesn’t have one — and it won’t for a very very long time.

It might have seemed like the Wii and the Mario Party franchise are a match made in heaven, so it’s disheartening to find out that Mario Party 8 is this year’s biggest disappointment thus far. Every aspect of the game is either obsolete or unplayable, as I found the most challenging part of the game is trying to find an enjoyable moment that lasts for more than four seconds. Between the franchise’s board-game style rapidly turning stale, the game’s terrible execution with the Wiimote, and how terrible the game looks technically, this is one party you shouldn’t RSVP for.

From an outside view, everything about Mario Party 8 looked promising. You’ve got a bunch of new maps, some new playable characters, and of course the addition of some Wiimote-stylized minigames. However, it’s not until you first dive into any form of gameplay that you begin to encounter just how little effort was thrown into this incredibly tedious game. The first thing you’re going to notice is the lack of a 16:9 widescreen option, meaning all the minigames and such are wrapped around by two confetti decorated bars. This alone looks terribly lame on any HDTV, but it’s what lies in between these two perpendicular bars that will truly disgust anyone who has played a video game in the past five years. Mario Party 8 is the Wii’s least graphically appealing game yet, and even when stacked up to last-gen Gamecube games, it can’t hold its own.

The same can be said in regards to the game’s audio. I’m going to say it once, and I doubt I won’t be forced to say it again: Nintendo needs to get as far away as they can from these MIDI generated soundtracks. For too long we’ve taken the technical shortcomings in Nintendo’s music as a nice "throwback," but I really think it’s time they stopped using sounds from 10 years ago. Nothing is really worth mentioning for the rest of the game’s audio, as only a Nintendo fanatic like myself could possibly find some enjoyment from hearing the game’s mascots yelping and such.

Sadly, the disappointments keep rolling on. Mario Party 8 has some of the worst execution of the Wiimote since the console’s conception; I found more enjoyment whacking myself over the head with the nunchuck than playing some of the title’s most featured mini-games. The little amount of work put into them puts the entire title into perspective, as hardly any of the mini-games gave me a twinge of enjoyment. The bowling sim, for an example, just puts the title on display. All that was necessary to do was copy Wii Sports’ formula! Yet despite the fact that Wiisports was created by the same producer, developed by similar developers, and was only a basic sample of what the Wii can do, we are forced to replicate the motions of tossing a bowling ball by flicking our wrist rather than the full arm lunging motion. If that doesn’t sum up the game’s complete lack of effort, I don’t know what can.

Some of the other mini-games are also so braindead that a monkey could probably grasp the controls just as well as I could (moving your arm up and down, for example), and are pretty unresponsive to boot. Although there are handful of enjoyable and much more fluent minigames, they only make up a small percentage of the entire library (surprisingly, the baseball simulation may conquer Wiisports’ version). If you were counting on the game’s featured minis to save this otherwise lackluster title — as I did — you’re going to be disappointed, because they’re pretty uninspiring in this addition to the franchise.

As far as the main board game style the franchise has become known for is concerned, there is no doubt that this formula is becoming overly stale. I can’t even be bothered waiting in between minigames anymore, which practically translates into 80 % of the game being a chore. The only thing that can keep you semi entertained throughout these moments is seeing your friends’ reaction to their rolls while you wait anxiously for your turn, yet even that can get boring without a few drinks at hand. (Can’t play Mario Party without a warm glass of Ovaltine, can ya?).

As far as the game’s single player goes, I’d honestly recommend not even bothering with it if you do decide to make a purchase. In my mind, the franchise’ single player hasn’t been really worth playing since Mario Party 3, and won’t be until the game’s basic formula is rethought. At least in multiplayer the game offers some enjoyment with your buddies swinging the Wiimote around, but when playing the game by myself I really couldn’t sit through one session without having to take a break. The game would be much more enjoyable if a decent storyline were put in place, though, but instead you are given a plot that I could see my 5-year-old neighbor writing up.

Mario Party 8 is probably the series’ biggest step backwards in its lifetime, and after eight years of consistency from the franchise, this addition falls way too short to recommend a purchase. This kind of a lack of effort in a game hasn’t been seen in something Nintendo has produced for a long, long time. If you’re dying for some minigame action, go pick up Wario Ware. If you want to see all of your favorite Nintendo mascots jumping around and playing with each other, wait for Brawl. If you can’t wait any longer for Super Mario Galaxy and need a game to hold you off, trust me when I say Mario Party 8 isn’t that game. Just be patient for the big guns to come out, or get one of the other far superior Wii titles.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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