Review: Mairo Party 8

Wii Review

"The boards in the game are the typical over and underdone versions that are the hallmarks of the MP series."

P-A-R-T-why? Because you gotta!

Continuing the long line of successful party theme board games from Nintendo comes Mario Party 8 – this time on the Wii. MP7 threw in a new gimmick in the form of the microphone, adding literally minutes more of enjoyment to the otherwise flat and uninteresting game. This time round, wee have the worldly wonder of the Wii and its wand-waving whimsy. Can Mario host the party of the season? Or will this be one social event to forget?

Personally, I never played the original Mario Party games on the N64. By the time they were released I had sold my machine to finance a week in France (and WHAT a week) so I arrived at the party somewhere around number 5, which I found to be a mixture of successful ideas and downright stupid ones. Mario Party 8 is definitely different to the other titles in the series in that it's unrepentantly rubbish.

From the very moment you arrive at the title screen, things are obviously wrong. You are greeted by some crazy-assed Dusty Bin/Ringmaster rip off that speaks its first line with a recorded voice over, then pretty much for the rest of the game speaks in grunts and laughs for no obvious or given reason.

The interface that greets you is clunky, slow, difficult to manage and suffers some dreadful loading times that really grate on the nerves. The whole thing is set up like a circus village, but you will feel anything but entertained as you scroll through option after option just to do what you want. Thankfully, you only have to press the "off" button once to turn the darn thing off. At first I had visions of screens asking you umpteenth number of times whether or not you really really want to turn the game off, or whether you would like to go to another menu to select from the menu that leads you to the menu taking you to the screen where you can select which menu you want to enter the character selection screen. All hyperbole aside, it's not an easy game to get to grips with, and for a game that is supposed to be multiplayer, time is of the essence and this eats up far too much of it.

The boards in the game are the typical over and underdone versions that are the hallmarks of the MP series: sometimes your character will traipse for several squares without triggering a mini game; other times it seems you cannot move for silly and slow-paced special effects that are mildly boring the first time around, and frankly irritating when you have seen them more than once.

Perhaps it is the board game nature of the piece that really lets the whole show down, as the mini games themselves are not too bad. The Wiimote control is reasonably tight, certainly better than in the latter stages of Raving Rabbids where the darn thing seems to switch off. The real issue with the mini games is that they are just so uninspired when compared to far superior games such as Wario Ware and Wii Play. Tipping, dipping, pointing, shooting and waggling are all relatively diverting, but when you have to examine thoroughly the instructions for each game prior to play, and go through several lengthy practice sessions before realising that the instructions are no help at all, you cannot help but feel as if all the fun has been drained from the game.

The graphics are functional at best, garish at other moments and sub-par for the rest of the time. The boards, while pretty are overcrowded with silly animations, obviously designed to distract you from the fact that nothing is really happening. Character animations are solid, but nothing you would not expect to see on the Gamecube. The same can be said for the sound, which drones on in the background quite happy in the knowledge that it is not really adding anything to the production. It is as if the programmers decided that all games have sound, therefore this game needs it too, without really considering what music can do to improve the atmosphere and feel of a title.

Mario Party has always been about multiplayer, and when you find them, you will realise that there are plenty of unentertaining options to keep you bored silly for the next five minutes. If you manage to persuade friends to join you in a party session, don't expect them to thank you for the opportunity or to ever grace your home again. In fact, dig out Wario Ware or Wii Sports, older games which are entertaining long before this game has even begun.

In closing: go away. Forget this game, as it really does not have any redeeming features that I have found. Many among the press have lambasted Nintendo for creating a yearly-updated franchise such as this, and until now I was loth to agree with them. But now I see a certain wisdom in not diluting your creative talent. I would sooner see a Zelda sequel with more developers on the team than another iteration of this rot, if Mario Party 8 is indicative of things to come for the franchise.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Time to order taxis. The party is over.

  • Gameplay1
  • Playability2
  • Visuals2
  • Audio2
  • Lifespan1
Final Score



Some of the mini games are fun
Some original uses of the Wiimote


Overcomplicated interface
Slow and uninteresting game speed
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