Game Party - WII - Review
Wii and DS owners have seen a plethora of party games in the past year, but Midway has, for better or worse, squeezed one last mini-game collection in this year. Game Party is exactly what it sounds like and nothing more – which is fine for most people. On that note I’ll admit that this game is not meant for me. Just because I didn’t enjoy it, doesn’t mean a younger kid or a family wouldn’t. This game also is a mere $20, and I will factor that into the review. So grab some Kool-Aid and enjoy this diagnosis of Game Party.
The game features 7 different mini-games, including air hockey, arcade basketball shots, skill-ball, darts, ping-cup, shuffleboard, and trivia. Players are awarded tickets for a high scoring round and can unlock a few new game modes within a few different games, like Lightning Trivia and Curling. There are also 150 different characters to choose from, with more that can be unlocked as tickets are accumulated.
“Not as fun as it looks.”
Similarly to Wii Play, though, there are only a few good, or at least passable games, and the replay value is almost non-existent. While air hockey is a passable game, the controls make no sense. Instead of hitting forward and sliding left to right, the player hits to the side and pulls up and down to move. It’s just unintuitive. Wii Play used IR to move the paddle and hit the puck, and that worked. In the Game Party version, everything is just slightly too small and delicate looking, and the speed of a hit is barely factored.
Arcade basketball is my favorite game. The speed of your shot is measured accurately and the direction you throw is factored as well. It’s a simple game, but it works. Skill-ball, however, is the worst game. The controls are so janky and unpredictable that it is practically broken. You setup like in Wii Bowling, but the comparisons stop there. I tried swinging to the left, and the ball went right. Spin is not calculated, and, like in air hockey, the camera is set just a little too far back.
Darts is a high point again for Game Party. While the motion control isn’t as accurate as the game featured in WarioWare, it is okay and works. You lock on with the A button and pull back and release. The game measures the speed of the shot fairly well, but not the direction. To pull a throw left or right your hand has to move, not the direction of the dart. You can unlock Baseball darts and Cricket too, which are a welcome addition. You might not stick with the game long enough to unlock those, however.
Ping-cup is just stupid. I asked myself while playing this game, “What kid plays Ping-cup? Why not include Hoop-and-Stick or marbles?!” On top of the “fun” you have while tossing ping-pong balls into cups, the controls will rarely work and are just as accurate as skill-ball. Shuffleboard is a good game and much better with friends (all the games are much better with friends), and Curling can be unlocked. Trivia is the deepest game of the bunch. There are many different categories including Movies and TV, History, and Sports.
The strangest thing about this game is the characters. All of the available characters (over 150!) resemble Mii’s, yet you cannot use your Mii’s at all! It literally makes no sense. My only guess is that in order for Midway to give their characters clothing and style, they had to jettison the Mii’s. And probably Nintendo wouldn’t allow any developer to mess with their Mii Channel. Don’t get excited, though, that the game has so many characters. They are all pretty much the same caricature figures with a different t-shirt or smirk on their face. The characters are also heavy on social and racial stereotypes. One character of African American descent wore a Zoot suit and had a hat with a big music note on the front. Insensitive? Yeh.
The graphical style of the game
is actually pretty good and is the strongest part of the game. It borrows the
clean, bubbly look of the Wii Sports’ menu and adds a Sims feel to the
characters and environment. However, while the graphics are fine for a $20
party game, none of the environments or player interaction have any continuity.
One minute you’ll be playing skill-ball in a castle and the next playing darts
in an Old English pub. And strangely, you don’t even create a character or even
a name! Every high score you have to reenter your name again. It is horrible
game design, especially for a game so simple. The IR also doesn’t track
exactly, like it should. There is a noticeable disconnect between how the Wii-mote
moves and what your cursor is doing.
|Review Scoring Details for Game Party|
Most of the controls are broken in some way, and only a couple are actually fun.
The graphics look okay and the visual style is at least continuous throughout. The menus have a clean pastel look that complements the game.
The best part of the game is the jazz music. You’ll be tapping your foot even if you’re throwing your controller against the wall.
This has been done before and will be done again. Shovelware at its finest.
This game is only playable if you have a large family to join in. I recommend a family with a strong sense of sarcasm.
While the game has “style,” it is pretty much broken. The only game with any depth is trivia, and while that can be fun, it’s not worth a purchase. The Wii does not need another worthless collection of broken mini-games.