And now that we’re at #7 it’s time to go back to the latter half of the series because next on my list is Mario Party 8. Mario Party 8 was the last game to stick to the traditional style of Mario Party and honestly, it is a game I am actually quite fond of for what it is. It also happened to be the first Mario Party game to integrate the functionality of the Wiimote, and while I do think Mario Party 9 perfected it, I don’t think Mario Party 8 missed the mark that much either. As a side note, I do think Mario Party 8 has the most unique look to a Mario Party game. It looks like the developers put a lot of work into the graphical presentation of the game to make it look somewhat evolved from the Gamecube installments, which all looked pretty similar. Everything in this game, with exception to the characters, looks quite impressive and almost a bit realistic…as realistic as you can get in a Mario game anyway. And for that, I have to give the game props. However, that criteria is not going to be a factor in my analysis for this game, but it was something I felt like pointing out because it’s not something that really gets called attention to much.
As for the boards, I do quite enjoy a majority of the boards that were introduced in this game. In fact, with exception to King Boo’s Haunted Hideaway and maybe Bowser’s Warped Orbit, all of the boards are pretty solid and pretty unique in terms of how you approach your objective. One of the boards is just a giant linear path forward and almost a race to see who can get to the end while using items and board events to make your run faster or more advantageous. Koopa’s Tycoon Town is also pretty interesting because it’s more about investing in and improving property that will ultimately give you stars for being the highest investor. All in all, Mario Party was already kind of changing the formula at this point, and a majority of these ideas were already used in Mario Party 6 and 7, but Mario Party 8 did a pretty good job of at least making boards that used these mechanics quite well. And for that, I have to give credit where credit is due. Also, the item system, or rather, candy system, was actually kind of fun to play around with. It wasn’t as extensive as it was in the previous two Mario Party games, but it at least had something unique and charming for what I was. Plus, looking at all the different forms of all the characters was kind of cool aspect of the game as well.
Moving on to the minigames, while I think this game did all right with the boards, I kinda feel like the minigames lost a little bit in the evolution from Gamecube to Wii. While I do think the Wii motion controls are responsive and they work very well, there’s just something that bugs me about them when it comes to this game. There are some games where the Wii Motion just doesn’t work as optimally as it could, and by that I don’t necessarily mean in terms of making the game too difficult, but there are also cases where the Wii motion just makes the games too easy. For some games, all you have to do is just wildly shake the Wiimote around and you pretty much win. It just feels like they spent too much time trying to integrate the Wii Motion when they really didn’t have to. Hence, another reason I bring up Mario Party 9’s minigames as being better than this ones. Nintendo just seems to have that habit though, feeling like every game needs to integrate every feature of a console in order to be acceptable, when really, people just want to have a good game to play; a game they can get into without feeling limited or restricted to playing in a certain way. Back to the minigames though; another reason why I don’t rank the game too highly is just the fact that, there aren’t a lot of minigames that come to mind when I think of great minigames from this title. There are if I look at a list or look at pictures of the game again, but an absolutely great minigame doesn’t need a reference because you remember it.
Finally, as far as extra content is concerned, I don’t think this game achieves anything great, nor do I think it fails either. If for some reason you don’t have Wii Sports, there’s a Bowling game you can play. Moped Mayhem can be good for a few laughs as WAY TOO MANY Mario characters get on mopeds and race around different tracks, and the game also features a lot of the same extra content (with upgrades to this game’s engine and with this game’s minigames) that was featured in the Gamecube era titles as well.
So overall, if you have a Wii or Wii U and don’t have a Gamecube controller, you really can’t go wrong with Mario Party 8. But as you can see from the list so far, I mean, we haven’t seen a single Gamecube title yet, and knowing that all 4 of them will be on here no matter what, safe to say, I would recommend them a little more over this title. However, if you have no other options, I wouldn’t say you are scraping the bottom of the barrel either. It may be only #7 on the list, but to me, I absolutely love Mario Party and to be frank, we still have a few games to go before I feel like my decisions get easier to make again.