OverviewMario Party 8 was the eighth game in the Mario Party franchise, and the eleventh including Mario Party Advance, Mario Party DS, and Mario Party-e. Mario Party 8 was released on May 9, 2007 in North America, August 3, 2007 in Europe, and July 26, 2007 in Japan for the Nintendo Wii. The game was developed by Hudson Soft, and published by Nintendo. As with nearly every other game in the franchise, Mario Party 8 sold very well. Its lifetime sales are reported to be 4.86 million copies worldwide. However, the game did not have great reception among critics, with complaints ranging from poor graphics, tedious gameplay, and lack of online play and a widescreen mode. Mario Party 8 currently holds a 63% average on Game Rankings and a 62% average on Metacritic.
Mario Party 8's original release date in Europe was June 22, 2007, but Nintendo delayed the game until July 13, 2007. However, upon its release, complications arose when one of the characters in the game used the word "spastic," which is very offensive for people with disabilities. Nintendo immediately recalled the game and replaced it with the word "erratic," and then officially released the game on August 3, 2007.
The plot of the game involves a ringmaster named MC Ballyhoo inviting Mario and his friends to the Star Carnival, where the rest of the game takes place.
GameplayThe gameplay of Mario Party 8 is largely similar to previous installments in the franchise, with obvious differences taking advantage of the Wii's unique capabilities. In the single player mode, one player competes against three computer controlled opponents across the several boards offered. The goal of the game is to collect as many stars as possible, through a variety of ways (buying them, winning them, stealing them, etc). In the case of a tie, the person with the most coins will win.
Multiplayer mode is what Mario Party is really known for, however. In multiplayer, up to four players can compete on one of the several boards offered (less than four people means that there have to be computer controlled opponents in addition to the human players). There are other modes as well. Party Tent is where the players can have a variety of different battles with various amounts of players. Star Battle Arena is essentially the single player story. Minigame Tent allows players to merely play the minigames offered, instead of going to a particular board. In the Extras Zone, players can access minigames not shown in the other modes. Fun Bazaar is where the player can purchase new minigames and other extras.
All of the playable characters from Mario Party 7 return in Mario Party 8. They are Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Wario, Daisy, Waluigi, Toad, Boo, Toadette, Birdo, and Dry Bones. Three new characters make appearances, however. Blooper and Hammer Bro are the two characters available from the Mario franchise, but the third is the ability to use one's Mii to play (which is only available in the Extras Zone).
Minigames are the series' staple of the Mario Party franchise. Naturally, many take advantage of the Wii Remote's motion capabilities. This is taken advantage of in a variety of ways, from rowing a boat to a shooting gallery. There are minigames that also use the buttons, but the main usage usually involves some sort of motion.
One new feature introduced in Mario Party 8 is the ability to transform using candy power ups. These can be obtained from a Candy Shop, or the candy spaces on the board (which only appear on some boards). Candy effects range from allowing the player to roll the dice more than once, to allowing characters to "attack" other characters as they are moving on the board.
Game BoardsSix game boards are available in Mario Party 8. Their configuration varies slightly depending on the game mode being played and each board has a different 'gimmick' or mechanism to win.
- DK's Treetop Temple: Standard Mario Party gameplay, get to the stars on the game board before your opponents do.
- Goomba's Booty Boardwalk: Reach the Goomba at the end of the boardwalk with 50 coins before your opponents do in the Star Battle Arena mode to earn a star but in the Party Tent, you can get it for free just by reaching him.
- King Boo's Haunted Hideaway: This board consists of a random map that gets slowly revealed as you explore. The aim is to find King Boo in the maze and buy a star for 10 coins.
- Shy Guy's Perplex Express: The board has you working toward the front of a train to buy stars from the Shy Guy in the locomotive at the start. The board has spaces that scramble the order of the train carriages making is easy for players to lose any advantage they may have.
- Koopa's Tycoon Town Koopa's Tycoon Town: This board has some similarity to Monopoly. The idea is to invest in hotels all around the game board. If you own a hotel (by having the most money invested) you will be awarded stars proportional to how much you have invested.