reviews\ Dec 2, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Rugrats: I Gotta Go Party - GBA - Review

The Rugrats just wanna have fun, and with all these mini-games, that's just what they're going to have! It's hide-and-seek time at the Rugrats' house, and with all these hiding places, it will be a tough job finding them! But each time a Rugrat is found, a new mini-game becomes available. If players are successful in playing the mini-games, then more of the house is opened up to look for more babies.

This is a large collection of mini-games, twenty-four in all. The types of games are mostly of the arcade variety, such as racing games, catching items in containers and other action games, but also include puzzle-oriented activities like a Tetris clone which is quite fun to play, jigsaw puzzles and a pipe game. The Rugrats brand each game with their special humor, such as Angelica catching cookies with a smear of chocolate on her mouth, and Vertically Challenged, a tower of babies who're trying to reach the top of the shelf.

Other fun games include Phil's Mud Pie, reminiscent of Arno's Pizza activity in Logical Journey of the Zoombinis in that players have to match the ingredients for the mud pie creations asked for by Phil; House Hunting, a fast-paced matching game which requires the correct person to be chosen as they pass a window; and Lost Bones, a directional/grid game that uses arrows to direct players to the bones, with different arrows showing different moves.

The interface is easy to learn and master, with an intuitive menu. The directions for each game are given, but so fast that it's more of a trial-and-error method of playing the activities. For the most part, however, the controls are fairly easy to learn and the manual gives excellent instructions. Options include Story Mode, Quick Play and Free Play. Story mode involves finding all the Rugrats, unlocking games to play. Quick Play gives players a random ten games to play, which don't have to be unlocked, and Free Play allows players to choose any of the unlocked games to play in any order.

Every mini-game is on a timer, with no option to turn it off and no varying levels of difficulty, either. With some games, this isn't a problem, but with others the games are never quite finished, as in Which Piece Fits, the jigsaw puzzle game. As the goal of each mini-game is to gain points (which will be awarded on the player's progress, not on whether the mini-game is finished) this doesn't impede gameplay as such, but does affect players' enjoyment, as I for one would like to actually put together the whole puzzle, which as of yet I've failed to do in the allotted thirty seconds. Up to four people can play in the multiplayer mode, either with multiple game paks or not, which we've not tested out, as we don't know any kids with a GBA and a link cable. The manual says that a game pak is not needed, but the box states that each player DOES need a game pak, so we're not sure which is true.

The graphics are very good, and faithfully captures the Rugrat essence. The lighting is nice and bright and shows up well on the screen, and the animation is very smooth. The music is great and reflects the style of the music from the show.

This is a wonderful concept with exceptional content! With twenty-four games, there is bound to be something everyone likes. The multi-player mode is a great option, too, especially if multiple game paks aren't needed. We found several games we liked, most of all the Breaking Blocks tetris clone, Cookie Chase, a pac-man game, Which Piece Fits, Phil's Mud Pie, and Lost Bones. Our least favorites were Jump the Toys, a strange ramp/car arcade game, Reptar Racing, a difficult racing kart game, and Spike's Bowl, a mundane action-matching activity. The other games fall somewhere in the middle.

However, these games can be quite difficult and the timer can be a problem. There really should have been an option to have the timer turned on or off, or to have difficulty levels. Despite the Rugrat motif, most of these mini-games are much too hard for younger children, and gave my teens a run for their money. Because of the difficulty, this game is best for kids ages ten-up, and preferably for kids that aren't easily frustrated.

Despite these concerns, though, this is an excellent game for kids, with a lot of bang for your buck, parents!

Gameplay: 8.8
With so many games, there's literally something for everyone! The controls are easy to master, but the timer makes things much harder than they have to be.

Graphics: 8 
Everything looks very much like the cartoon series and won't cause you to squint.

Sound: 8
Good tunes which are catchy.

Difficulty: Hard
Parents, don't be fooled by the Rugrats name, these games are hard!

Concept: 8.5 
What a great concept, having so many games to choose from, much more than any GBA mini-game collection for kids I've seen yet.

Multiplayer: Yes
There is a multi-player option, supposedly with or without a game pak, though not sure what the difference in gameplay would be.

Overall: 8.6
A really nice game for kids and one that has the added benefit of multiplayer options for friends without having to have multiple game paks. The huge variety of arcade and puzzles truly make a well-rounded product, which is only slightly marred by the lack of difficulty options and an option to turn the timer off. Parents will definitely want to look at this game, but be warned that most younger players will have a hard time.


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