VG Review: Mario Party 8
"MARIO PARTY 8"
Nintendo, for the Wii
rated E for Everyone (mild cartoon violence), $49.99.
Yes, believe it or not, there have been eight "Mario Party" games in almost as many years, though this is the first one made for Nintendo Wii.
Those hoping that a switch to the new console would result in a shakeup in game play will be disappointed. This latest iteration is more or less identical to past "Mario Party" games, with only minor variations to differentiate it from past titles.
As before, "Mario Party 8" is a video board game of sorts, with up to four players roaming across a multicolored landscape, smashing dice instead of rolling them.
The object in each game is to collect as many stars as possible, and there are a variety of ways to do so. Each board has different rules and strategies. One, for example, nets you stars by investing the money you collect in hotels. Another takes place on a train where a movie star demands 50 coins in exchange for a star.
At the end of each turn, the players all take part in a minigame of some sort, which can net players more coins. The minigames range from stellar to lackluster, with players doing such odd tasks as measuring out sand, shaking cans of soda, waving down passing ships or roping barrels.
Despite the delightful lunacy of these concepts, there's a good deal of randomness to the game that can get frustrating. You could easily, and despite your best efforts, find yourself in fourth place at the end as, say, stars are awarded for whoever landed on the most green squares.
For the most part the game makes good use of the Wii's motion sensor abilities. There were a few instances in which the Wiimote seemed unresponsive or jittery, but that might be due to my inability to keep a steady hand.
"Mario Party 8" offers a number of modes beyond the basic four-player free-for-all. You can team up in a "tag battle," go it alone in a story-based "star battle" or just try the various minigames without any of the board-game nonsense.
There's even a healthy selection of alternative minigames using the Mii -- the little virtual person you can create on the Wii console.
"Mario Party 8" doesn't offer any "next-generation gaming," it's just a fun party game. If you tend to play alone or are bereft of friends, it might not offer much for you. If you've got a large group of friends, however, it's a good investment.
Copyright The Patriot-News, 2007