Although they love their sequels as much as any company, Nintendo aren't usually ones to go in for yearly updates. The Mario Party series, developed by Bomberman creators Hudson, is their only example of the phenomena. As such, the series was always guaranteed to make an early appearance on the Wii - and with good reason too since its mix of board game antics and multiplayer mini-games are perfectly suited to the motion control of the Wii remote. Whereas some of the previous sequels have seemed a little unnecessary, this one actually feels like a brand new game. There are six new boards and fourteen different playable characters from amongst the usual Mushroom Kingdom pantheon. There's also a new power-up system replacing the "orbs" of previous games with "candy". These allow characters to transform into different forms to avoid traps and nobble other players, ranging from an airplane, to a bowling ball and a vampire.
Of course what's most anticipated about the game is the 70 plus different mini-games, as usual ordered into 1 vs. 3, 2 vs. 2 and free-for-all games. These involve such activities as using the Wii remote to ride a water ski, tightrope walking, lassoing barrels, paddling a rowing boat with a partner, shooting on a target range and being the first to give your pet Chomp a wash. The games and presentation may all seem very cute but as ever the game is an expert at tempting you to cheat and conspire against your fellow players at every opportunity, making this the one family board game you won't mind having an argument over.HARRISON DENT
Roll up, roll up! The carnival is in town and it's time to party! Join Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, DK and more of your favourite Nintendo characters as they compete across five brand new game boards and more than 60 new minigames to win the coveted prize: a year's supply of candy! But Bowser isn't about to let them get away with it... For the first Mario Party on Wii, up to four players roll virtual dice and move around the game boards (ranging from a haunted house to a moving train and a treasure island) before competing in crazy minigames that make full use of the Wii Remote; such as tightrope walking, skipping, snowboarding, boat rowing, lassoing and even cake decorating. As well as the main, madcap multiplayer game, Mario Party 8 also features a special single-player only mode, a minigame-only mode, a bazaar where you can unlock new minigames and goodies, and a mode made specifically for playing as Mii characters!