Video game review number two hundred and ninety five in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Wii Party".
Wii Party is the newest mini-game party game from Nintendo, and in a sea of dozens of these, this game would have to be pretty spectacular to stand out. So is it?
I actually realy enjoy mini-game games, I always have. They're fun to pick up and play with your friends (or by yourself), and when it comes to the compilation titles, I think Nintendo is the king of these. Mario Party, Wario Ware, plus about a dozen other brands...the Wii seems like the console designed to get four players together and fight it out from the couch.
This game is no different than any of the ones I've mentioned above, it's a compilation of dozens of mini-games, and you play through them (often in between rounds of a larger mini game).
The first one I tried was the Balance Boat. You and a partner try to balance as many of the Miis from your collection as you can on the masts of a pirate ship, trying not to tip the weight one way or the other. It sounds easy enough, except between every round of placing Miis, you have to play a Mini game. If you lose that game, one of your Miis will be fat, and the other one tiny, creating an imbalance no matter where you place them. It was pretty fun, and I was able to survive all ten rounds of it.
The next game I tried was Bingo, which is simply a game of bingo with your Mii characters faces instead of numbers on the card. They come out of a big hopper, and you check them off just like any other bingo game. You play mini games to get bonus picks, where you can basically select the Mii you want (automatically getting you closer to a bingo). The computer kicked my ass here...but I decided it's because they knew which bingo card to pick.
After bingo, I tried "Match Up", which is another game with your Miis. This is your basic match game, where you choose a Mii (they are all in black shirts), and then the "true" color of their shirt is revealed to you. If you have a large collection of downloaded Miis like I do, this is actually a pretty cool game, because you'll know your characters already, and all you have to do is remember their shirt. My Kevin Smith and Peter Griffin Miis were a "platinum match", because they both had shiny white shirts on. Mr. Burns and Sharon Stone were also a match because they were both wearing blue shirts. George Bush and Jay Leno. You get the idea. I beat the computer 35 to 2 in this game, because I cheated and used notepad on my computer to keep track of the matches. Fuck you, computer, that's what YOU get for cheating at Bingo.
After playing these three longer games...I jumped into the minigame menu and started playing them individually. They're exactly what you would expect, just silly little experiences where you play a very simple game that takes less than 5 minutes. Among the ones I enjoyed the most:
Sheep Crossing and Sheep Wranglers: Oddly enough, getting sheep from point A to point B was pretty fun. In Wranglers, you ring a bell by shaking your Wiimote, and they follow your little dude. In Crossing, you work with a partner (in my case, the AI) to help sheep cross a bridge by moving platforms for them to walk across. I liked these two games the best.
Fishin buddies has you and a partner trying to catch fish by yanking your Wiimote up like a fishing rod as soon as you feel it vibrate. Because I was playing alone, and the computer had perfect timing, this was easy.
Meet and Greet is a weird game where you and your partner each start on opposite sides of a 6 room hallway, and you have to open random doors trying to find each other. Sometimes, the door opens and you get one room closer. Other times, there's a boxing glove that punches you in the face, a wheel that runs you over, a brick wall or my favorite, a guy on a toilet.
The Flycycle team is an awesome game where you move your Wiimote like a bike pedal, keeping a strange flying bike above the water. You try to glide for as long as you can before your legs give out, collecting floating hearts along the way...which restore your stamina. The goal is to make it 300 meters, I doubled that on my second try.
Paddle Pals is a game where you and a friend try to navigate your way down a river. If you played Kinect Adventures at PAX this year, this game looks like a ripoff of that, and it's not nearly as fun. I swear...someone needs to come up with a campaign comparing the two. Same basic concept, but a world of difference between the two technologies...and Adventures is just awesome.
Pump Cart panic has you and a friend on a mining cart, and you have to see-saw your way to the end of an Indiana Jones style winding track before a giant ball hits you. Playing this with the computer was easy, because it has amazing timing...but I imagine playing it with a friend would make you insane. There are many more...some are good, some, not so good. Others, I never bothered to play (I think there are at least 40-50 in this game).
Overall Score? 6.5/10. I don't think this game has the lasting appeal of say, a Wario Ware title for me...but if I happened to be at someone's house who had it, and they wanted to play, I think four player matches would be fun. It's definitely got some decent games in it, and although I wouldn't buy my own copy...I did enjoy playing it for a little while. It was a good rental, but it seems like this is geared towards an audience much younger than I am. If you've got some little kids, this might be a good Christmas present for them.
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