A huge emphasis on luck, shoddy presentation, and poor AI means Mario Party should be avoided

User Rating: 4.5 | Mario Party 8 WII
Mario Party is a board game with mini games, designed to be played in multiplayer with a large emphasis on luck. The main aim is to acquire Stars which usually are gained by reaching a certain place on the map and handing over 20 coins as a payment. Attaining 20 coins can be a challenge but this varies from board to board and by game mode. Landing on a blue square gives you 3 coins and landing on a red square loses 3 coins. You can steal coins from opponents or cause opponents to lose them by using the candy items which you acquire on the game board, or by buying them at the shops located around the board. Winning the mini games allow you to steal 1,5,10,20 coins from your opponent, decided by a dart throw. The way you achieve stars depends on the game board. On one board, once a Star is taken, another one appears on a different randomly chosen square which, annoyingly; can be right in your opponents path. There is a board where you must invest coins in the hotels, and the player with the largest investment gets the stars. The 'Star Battle Arena' mode is a single player story game which isn't exciting or interesting at all because it is played in the Duel Battle style which is a 1 vs 1 competition. The games come few and far between since they are only triggered when you land on a VS square (which are uncommon) and there isn't too much skill involved in both mini games and decisions on the board. In Party mode, you can set the number of players, the difficulty, amount of turns, if bonus stars are awarded at the end, and finally; the game style. The choice of modes are Battle Royale, Tag Battle, Duel Battle. Battle Royale is every man for himself, and Tag battle is 2 vs 2 so you share your coins and stars with your partner. When you have 4 players, the mini games that are triggered can be 1 vs 3, 2 on 2, or 4 player which is decided randomly, and these mini games are played after every turn. The trouble with the AI, is that it really varies between game type and action. For example, there was a 1 vs 1game where you have to saw a plank, hammer a nail, then paint a wall. I tried to go as fast as possible but the computer kept with my pace during the first two actions, but then he didn't seem to have a clue how to paint the wall. The graphics are poor overall and there is no wide-screen during the game-play, although there is in the menus. Additionally, the graphics in the background of the menus look ported from the Game Boy Advance, so overall it's pretty insulting to the Wii. I understand board games are often based on luck, but Mario Party often takes it to the extreme. If they toned it down a bit, the game would be much more enjoyable. An example of what happened on the Koopa's Tycoon Town board is as follows: I invested all my coins (22) in a hotel and this upgraded to a 2 Star hotel. Toadette then landed on a space which triggered a thief to steal my investment AND give the coins to Toadette. On the next roll, she went past this hotel and used my coins to get 2 Stars. On the next turn, the announcer decided to see who was winning and give the losing player a boost. The Dart mini game gave her 20 coins which she then puts into another hotel for an extra Star. So I went from a very advantageous position to being 2 Stars down, and Toadette was 3 Stars up. The game rule for this Duel Battle was "gain 4 Stars to win" so the game pretty much gave her a victory within 2 turns. If they toned down the degree of randomness, the quantity of ways to punish the players, and the frequency of occurrence; the game would be potentially good. I could see Mario Party causing much tension between friends in multi-player and boring many people in single player. If you just want the game to play the mini games and avoid the board games; you can't. To play them in the Minigame Tent, you first must play them on the board games first.