By Philip Dunkley
So we get a whole bunch of Wii Games from our fantastic suppliers, and I realise that I’m probably going to have one hell of a time reviewing them, because I’ve had some really cool games to play on the Wii so far. But something has struck me in the last little while. What the hell is the fascination with Mini Game collections? The next three games I have are all a mash up of various mini games, and I know I’m going to piss a lot of people off here, and I’m supposed to be the most objective person when it comes to reviewing things, but I think they suck. Really suck. Come on, where are all the games that have some sense of story, adventure, puzzle solving and action. I can understand that these collections are great fun at parties and gatherings, but I would be quite reluctant to keep spending money on other people’s entertainment.
This brings me to this review. Mario Party 8 is a collection of mini games, strung into an overall package of virtual board games. Basically you engage in a board game, set in a level that is themed around various Nintendo characters or Worlds, and then have to roll a virtual dice and move that many spaces on the board. You are then forced into a plethora of mini games to battle it out against the players you are playing against. This has been a theme throughout this series since 1999, and a release has taken place yearly from then. I did play a few of the previous versions, and actually enjoyed them, but the problem is that this idea is getting very stale very quickly.
What bothers me even more is that these mini games are only mildly entertaining, compared to a title like Warioware. They seem to be strung together without much thought, and yes, we all know what the WiiMote can do by now, so we don’t really need to see another baseball minigames or bowling minigame (This version of bowling is terrible BTW) .
From a graphic point of view, this game looks dated too, and as for presentation, please don’t get me started on that. Firstly, it actually suffers from frame rate issues, I am not joking!! This game looks like a GameCube game, maybe a bit better, but how can there be framerate issues. I know the Wii is not the powerhouse compared to the competition, but hell, if they can make Metroid Prime look so good, surely this title should not be a problem. Secondly, the moment it goes into the game, it amazingly morphs into 4:3 mode, so you have a nice set of bars running down the side of the screen.
So this brings me to controls. Cool, the Wii’s ability for motion sensing control is unrivalled, but this game does not feel right. Try the boat paddling minigame and tell me what you think. Also, there are so many interruptions in play that you’ll probably wear out the â€œAâ€ button in just over a day. Please guys, we don’t need to have the gameplay broken up this much in one game.
Another annoyance and I’m going to get lambasted here, is how much more can a franchise be wh*red than with Mario. He’s cool, yeah fine, but making a game and slapping his trademark on it just to sell 10 trillion copies is plain commercialism. But it will sell, and I see the point from Nintendo’s point of view.
Now I know I’ve really taken this game to bits here, but it’s not all bad. It’s at least mildly entertaining at points, and the variety is definitely a plus. Also, if you’re a fan of all things Mario, hell you’ve got a variety here. I do believe that in all honesty here, that kids will actually like this game, but be prepared to have the WiiMote swung around like a crazed Psycho.
To be honest, the game did grab my attention at the beginning, and some moments were fun to play, but this is getting tired, dated and monotonous. I’ve also decided not to give this game a score, as we are slowly moving away from that on the site, and I could also be the wrong target audience for this game. If you like all things Starry and Peachy, undoubtedly you will find enjoyment in this game. Me, it won’t be returning to the bright blue slot of my Wii for a long time.
Last Updated: April 24, 2008