Mario Party 8
Mario Party 8 is the eighth installment of the Mario Party series on a home console, the first Mario Party game for the Wii, and the thirteenth game overall in the series. It is also the last Mario Party home console game to be developed by Hudson Soft before NDcube received control of the series. It was first released in North America on May 29, 2007 and finally released in Hong Kong and South Korea on July 12, 2008 over a year later. It became a Nintendo Selects title in Europe on March 22, 2013.
Mario Party 8 is notable for its strong use of the Wii Remote and its motion control capabilities in minigames. Players are required to perform various gestures in lieu of traditional button/joystick controls. Common motions include pointing-and-shooting, shaking, waving, turning, and twisting the Wii Remote. Player-created Miis are featured in this game, often showing up within crowds and even in certain minigames, such as Sugar Rush. They may also serve as the player's character in Extra Mode. By playing regular party games, minigames, and completing the Star Battle Arena mode, players can earn Carnival Cards, which may be spent to unlock figures and game features.
Mario Party 8 features six boards, five of which are available from the start of a new save file. Although one board, DK's Treetop Temple features the classic formula for obtaining a Star (reaching a changing Star Space and trading 20 coins), the other five boards employ unique conditions for collecting Stars. Replacing the Orbs/Capsules from the previous Mario Party titles are Candies, which can be collected and used for a variety of purposes, including using extra Dice Blocks, moving to a different space, and stealing coins from rivals.
Parts of the game, such as board gameplay, are displayed in a 4:3 ratio, fitted with borders on the left and right parts of the screen, while other portions of the game, such as the main menu, are matted to 16:9 widescreen.
In Mario Party 8, the exuberant ringmaster MC Ballyhoo and his talking hat Big Top have invited Mario and the rest of the crew to the Star Carnival. Ballyhoo holds a special event, the Star Battle Arena, in which a contestant must win five successive party duels across the five standard boards. The winner will be crowned the carnival's Superstar and receive a year's supply of Candy.
Once the player has claimed victory in all five duels, Ballyhoo holds an award ceremony to present a special reward. In addition to the year's supply of candy, the player is promised the magical Star Rod. Before the player can receive their reward, however, Bowser swoops in and steals the Star Rod before retreating to his special board, Bowser's Warped Orbit. The player and Ballyhoo then follow Bowser for one final duel.
After the player triumphs over Bowser's chosen minion (either Hammer Bro or Blooper), he begrudgingly returns the Star Rod. However, mere seconds later, Bowser changes his mind and challenges the player to a final showdown for the Star Rod. Using the Star Rod's magical powers, the player defeats Bowser, and returns to the carnival with Ballyhoo. At long last, the player is declared the Superstar, and the credits roll.
Following the format of previous Mario Party titles, Mario Party 8 combines the social, strategic gameplay of traditional board games with quick, action-oriented minigames. To win a party, a player must obtain the most Stars by the end of the last turn. Additionally, players collect and win coins to trade them for Stars, buy Candy, and trigger special events on the board. Each board has a unique way of obtaining Stars, though most require finding a unique Star Space and trading a certain number of coins for one.
Before the game starts, MC Ballyhoo introduces the board, and each player rolls a Dice Block to determine the order of play. On every turn, each player rolls a Dice Block numbered one to ten to move along the game board. Prior to rolling, players may use Candy (if they possess any) and study the game board. At the end of a turn, all players participate in a randomly chosen minigame to compete for a coin prize. Typically, the prize is ten coins, given in whole to every player who wins the minigame. The minigame varieties include four-player free-for-all, 1-vs-3, and 2-vs-2. There is also a small chance that a battle minigame will be played instead of a regular one.
The color of the space that each player is on at the end of the turn occasionally determines what kind of minigame arrangement will be used. For instance, if two players are on Red Spaces and the other two players are on Blue Spaces, the minigame arrangement will most likely be 2-vs-2. Once the minigame is finished, and the coin prizes have been awarded, the turn is finished. After the last turn, three random Bonus Stars are awarded, if enabled during the game setup. At this point, the player will the most Stars is declared the Superstar, and wins the game. In the event of a tie in terms of Stars collected, coin amounts are relied upon.
Remaining true to similar mechanics in previous Mario Party titles, Mario Party 8 features an event known as Chump Charity, which occurs once the last five turns are reached. Ballyhoo reviews the player rankings and offers the player in last place either a free Duelo Candy or a coin prize. Before gameplay resumes, coin bag pickups are placed on every red space and single-coin pickups are placed on every other space. These pickups may only be collected once, by the first player who reaches the space they are on. If two players land on the same space or cross paths, they will only duel if one player is under the effect of Duelo Candy.
If one player encounters another while under the effects of Duelo Candy, or lands on a VS Space (Star Battle Arena mode only), they will duel in a 1-on-1 minigame. The winner throws a dart at a spinning wheel to determine what prize they collect from the loser. If the challenger wins, they will be able to take Stars or coins, whereas if the other player wins, they will only be able to take coins.
The Bonus Stars that may be awarded at the end of a party are as follows:
Mario Party 8 features a total of fifteen playable characters, with all but one of them displayed on the main roster. All twelve characters from Mario Party 7 return, with three new characters (Blooper, Hammer Bro, and Mii) being added. Mii characters can only be used in the Extras Zone.
It is notable that the new unlockable characters both make multiple appearances in previous Mario Party installments. Blooper has appeared in various minigames along with Hammer Bro, who also appears as an Orb and a Capsule in Mario Party 5 and Mario Party 7. To unlock Blooper and Hammer Bro, the player must complete Star Battle Arena twice. The first completion will randomly unlock either Blooper or Hammer Bro, after defeating them in the final duel. To unlock the other character, the player must then complete Star Battle Arena once more, using whichever character was unlocked during their first playthrough.
Ever since Mario Party 4, players can fight in a tag-team match. In said matches, two teams are formed from two players each. In Mario Party 5 and Mario Party 6, team names have been chosen from specific character pairings. This is a returning feature in Mario Party 8. Below are the possible name combinations in English and in French:
Star Battle Arena
Star Battle Arena is the solo story mode in Mario Party 8. The player chooses a character and competes against five CPU-controlled characters over five separate duels. Each of the five regular boards are played in order: DK's Treetop Temple, Goomba's Booty Boardwalk, King Boo's Haunted Hideaway, Shy Guy's Perplex Express, and Koopa's Tycoon Town. Lastly, the sixth, unlockable board, Bowser's Warped Orbit, is played for a final showdown. The general rules of Duel Battle are used for all six duels (players take turns without regular minigames), and each duel has a different victory condition from normal Party Tent play. As the player progresses through the duels, their CPU-controlled opponents become more adept. If a duel runs over after 30 turns, Ballyhoo will end the game and declare a tie (like in Solo Cruise from Mario Party 7). All boards are smaller in this mode.
The reward for defeating Bowser and beating Star Battle Arena mode is 200 Carnival Cards. Additionally, Bowser's Warped Orbit and the minigame Wagon (in the Fun Bazaar) will be unlocked, as well as either Blooper or Hammer Bro (if it is the player's first time completing Star Battle Arena). Replaying Star Battle Arena with Blooper or Hammer Bro (whichever was unlocked) will unlock the other character.
Mario Party 8 contains six unique boards.
Much like Orbs/Capsules, there are single-use power-up items in Mario Party 8, referred to as Candy. Players can purchase Candy from a Candy Shop for coins or collect it freely from random Candy spaces on the board. Each board provides a different, partial subset of the 14 candy types (in the Candy Shops and on the board itself). Candy may only be used before a player's dice roll. It cannot be placed on the board, unlike in previous Mario Party titles. Players can hold a maximum of three Candy items.
These Candy items involve changes related to the Dice Block.
These Candy items transform the player for a very brief time, allowing them to perform a specific action.
These Candy items cause players to transform for the duration of their dice roll. Once the player's turn has finished, they will transform back.
These candies are offense-oriented.
In the Minigame Tent, players can play all of the minigames they have unlocked in the Party Tent or Star Battle Arena. Duel and Challenge minigames can only be unlocked in the Star Battle Arena during solo play, or in the Party Tent when using a Duelo Candy. Completing minigames earns the player cards for the player to spend at the Surprise Wagon. There are a total of five ways to play the minigames, as detailed in the sections below.
Free Play Arcade
Free Play Arcade is a game mode where the players can freely choose any minigame to play. However, minigames will first need to be unlocked by playing in Party Tent or Star Battle Arena, or purchasing them from the Minigame Wagon at the Fun Bazaar. In this mode, Miis often appear as spectators, often replacing species like Goombas and Koopa Troopas.
Crown Showdown is a game mode that involves players trying to win the most minigames. At the beginning, the player can choose between 4-player minigames and duel minigames. If the player chooses the former, they can then choose to play between 4-player minigames, 1-vs.-3 minigames, 2-vs.-2 minigames, or random. The player also can choose how many wins are required to win the showdown from 3, 5, or 7. Each time, the game randomly selects a minigame that the player has already unlocked. Whoever wins the game receives a point, and whoever reaches 3, 5, or 7 points first is the winner.
"In Crown Showdown, you'll race to win a set number of minigames before competitors do it first! What type of minigames? Up to you! Or select Random and leave it to chance!"
Flip-Out Frenzy is a game mode set in a small pond with a board containing gray squares and a few black ones. The objective is that players must compete in minigames and color the entire board. Once a player wins a minigame, they get to pick which squares they want to flip over to match their emblem/color. When a player picks a square, the horizontal and vertical rows of the square next to it get colored as well. After all the squares are colored, MC Ballyhoo flips two black squares, turning them into normal squares. Once those ones are colored, two more are flipped again. When the board is fully colored, including the flipped black squares, the player with the most squares of their emblem/color wins.
Players can color over other players' colored squares as well, but cannot flip squares if one of the horizontal or vertical rows has a black square.
"To win Flip-Out Frenzy, you must own the most tiles by game's end. Each time you win a minigame, you'll pick a tile. It and tiles in all four directions will flip to show your mark. There's a late-game shake-up, too!"
Tic-Tac Drop is a game mode similar to tic-tac-toe, except it is played with minigames, and the balls that are put into the board drop into place, rather than staying in the middle or top rows. The game begins with MC Ballyhoo initiating a random duel minigame, after which the contestants compete to win the minigame. The winner of the minigame gets to drop a ball into the board in the location of their choice. Additional minigames will continue to be played until a winner is eventually declared. The first player to form a horizontal, vertical or diagonal row with their respective colored balls wins the game.
"To win Tic-Tac Drop, you must make a line up, down, or diagonally by dropping balls through the board's slots. You'll get one ball for each minigame win. If you reach a stalemate, you can start a fresh game."
Test for the Best
In Test for the Best, the player competes for the best score by playing ten minigames. The player has to unlock certain minigames to play this and they must buy in from the Surprise Wagon at the Fun Bazaar before playing it. It is similar to the Minigame Decathlon from previous Mario Party games, except only one player can play at a time.
The Extras Zone is a tent where players can play one of eight minigames with either Mario characters or Miis that they have created on the Wii's Mii Channel or by using the default guest Miis. Initially, only four of eight minigames are available. The other four need to be purchased in the Fun Bazaar in order to unlock them. Up to four players can play in this mode, but some minigames allow up to only two players to play. One will allow only a single player.
Extras Zone minigames
The Fun Bazaar is a place where the player can exchange cards for items, modes, and minigames or check records.
Mario Party 8 has a total of seventy-three minigames, most of which make use of the Wii Remote and its motion control capabilities, though some also require the controller to be held in a more traditional way. Unlike other Mario Party games, all minigames, rather than a randomized select few, are displayed in a single, large roulette corresponding to what type of minigame they are.
Differences from other Mario Party games
The game was directed by Shuichiro Nishiya, who previously worked on Mario Party 6 and Mario Party 7 in the same role. Steven Grimm voiced the announcer and Steven Weyte voiced MC Ballyhoo. Satoru Iwata and Hidetoshi Endo, president of Hudson Soft at the time, are credited as executive producers.
As with most Mario Party games, reviews have been mixed. Common criticisms for Mario Party 8 included the lack of Wi-Fi, limited graphics, and absence of widescreen for the main game. Matt Casamassina of IGN referred to the single-player mode as "torture" and commented on the visuals as "graphics don't even impress as a GCN title".
Andy Myers of Nintendo Power gave the game a 7.5/10. He praises the inclusion of motion controls and how the minigames which use it each has a different approach. However, he states that the visual presentation is the weakest aspect of the game. He explains that the front-end interface is confusing, the lack of a true widescreen mode is disappointing, and the graphics leave much to be desired even though they have been slightly improved from Mario Party 7. Despite these criticisms, he thinks the game takes its place alongside other party games like Wii Sports and WarioWare: Smooth Moves.
After its North American release on May 29, 2007, the game sold 314,000 units in the United States in three days, making it the best-selling home console game in the country that month. In Japan, Mario Party 8 has sold 1,239,716 copies as of the end of Q2 2008, according to Famitsu. Mario Party 8 has sold 8.85 million copies worldwide, making it the 12th best-selling game on the Wii and the third best-selling game in the Mario Party series (behind Mario Party DS and Super Mario Party).
The launch of Mario Party 8 in the United Kingdom had several difficulties. Originally scheduled for release on June 22, 2007, Nintendo announced on June 19, 2007 that the UK version of the game had been delayed to July 13 of that year due to a production issue.
Furthermore, upon the release on July 13, 2007, the game was immediately recalled. Nintendo gave a reason for the withdrawal in a press release:
The European/British retailer GAME confirmed that the game was withdrawn from shelves because some copies included an offensive line as part of a magic spell used by Magikoopa in the board Shy Guy's Perplex Express:
Because "spastic" has a highly negative connotation in the United Kingdom, the game was declared banned and immediately recalled. Mario Party 8 was eventually re-released on August 3, 2007, with the offensive statement altered; European copies use the word "erratic" instead and American copies use a completely different statement: "Let me use my magic to make this all a little more interesting!"
Although it is unknown if Mario Party 8 is the direct catalyst, several first-party Nintendo games released after it have had at least a few English localization differences between the American and British releases instead of using the American English text for all regions. A similar offense in Super Paper Mario with the word "shag" was preemptively altered for the European release.
Pre-release and unused content
Three minigames go unused in the game's files. They do not have an English name nor a gameplay demonstration on the explanation screen. One of them is titled "Hammer de Pokari", a 4-Player minigame. It takes place on a sandcastle which does not appear elsewhere in the game. The objective is to swing a hammer at opponents by swinging the Wii Remote sideways. A coin counter is present, but it is not affected by the characters' actions. The minigame ends when one player is hit five times. The player who hit the most wins.
References to other games
References in later games
Names in other languages