reviews\ Oct 25, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Squeeballs Party - WII - Review

It’s no secret that the Nintendo Wii has become a thriving platform for party games. Most of these games are highly accessible, fairly simplistic, and lighthearted enough for children and families to join in. Squeeballs Party is similar to most Wii party games, with the possible exception of its tone. The game’s premise sees players as toy testers for the Squeeballs, a highly-animated bunch of critters that will happily submit to all manner of gruesome experiments at the hands of the player.

Granted, there is nothing overtly grotesque about the “games,” which test the Squeeballs to their limits. If anything, it’s more about the implied suffering – the rotund little guys will take anything you throw at them, but since they don’t appear to suffer, it’s a fairly thin strand of moral tightrope. Still, Squeeballs Party has been rated E for Everyone, so the ESRB obviously took no offense by the act of tossing a cartoon critter into a meat grinder.

Squeeballs should help the kiddies to get a bit more exercise with their Wii-motes, or at least, burn off some excess energy. The multitude of gameplay challenges requires different uses for the Wii-mote, as one might expect, with some obvious “inspiration” taken from previous games (Cooking Mama, for example). Due to the highly competitive nature of the games offered, this is perhaps not the best introductory title for someone who has never played a Wii game before – a point worth mentioning, if Squeeballs is intended for use during holiday gatherings.

As far as party games go, Squeeballs Party does manage to hold up nicely. The games certainly offer hours of fun, and the slight changes in gameplay modes help to extend replayability. The games that utilized the paint mechanic seemed impressive at times, but there were more familiar game modes available. Unfortunately, the adjustments made to each game type do not keep the game fresh indefinitely. I suspect the bowling modes will cause many players’ eyes to glaze over; no matter how hard one tries to dress up an old game, its tired mechanics will always show through in the end.

The main saving grace of Squeeballs Party can be found, as you might imagine, in the Squeeballs themselves. These lively creatures definitely help solidify the game’s signature style, and provide a simulated level of interaction during the single-player games. Not surprisingly, Squeeballs becomes a far greater delight when played in groups. Children will no doubt enjoy the antics of the creatures, and the game’s vibrant use of color helps to reinforce the family-friendly nature of the game. Like the gameplay, the audio gets a bit repetitive at times, but it’s still tolerable. It might not be in the upper echelon of Wii party games, but Squeeballs Party can provide suitable short-term entertainment for the family.

Review Scoring Details for Squeeballs Party

Gameplay: 7.2
The mini-games are fun and nicely executed, but lack long-term appeal and could use greater variety.

Graphics: 7.8 
Appropriate use of color and excellent animation brings the Squeeballs to life, almost to a creepy degree.

Sound: 6.0
Zany audio cues can get a bit annoying, so you may find yourself lowering the volume during a prolonged session.

Difficulty: Medium
Approachable for children, but the challenge is still substantial.

Concept: 8.0 
A unique premise for a party game, Squeeballs successfully spruces up the genre.

Multiplayer: 7.5
Full of frantic gameplay, this is where the game shines at its brightest. Squeeballs is best enjoyed with groups of younger players.

Overall: 7.5
Squeeballs Party isn’t the best party game on the Wii, but it’s certainly nothing to scoff at. An innovative premise hides a conventional, but fairly streamlined set of gameplay modes that should keep young audiences occupied for hours. A bit more variety in the gameplay could really improve the experience for a sequel.


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