The Wii's end is drawing near, but that doesn't mean the console that's known for having countless mini-game compilations can't have one more. Go Vacation is the latest party game to land on Nintendo's shiny console, and it probably won't be the last. That said, the game manages to deliver a collection of mini-games that's fun for the most part, even if it is just another party game. If you've played games like Wii Sports Resort and Deca Sports, you'll pretty much know what to expect with Go Vacation in terms of in-game content. To be fair, though, the mini-games in this title aren't exactly as enjoyable as those in Wii Sports Resort. Thankfully, they're notches above those found in the abysmal Deca Sports series. In essence, what you get with Go Vacation is a wide array of mini-games that range from pretty damn engaging to just plain boring.
The game presents 50 mini-games spread across four resorts: beach, city, snow, and mountain. The mini-games are all designed according to their respective resorts, and the variety is certainly admirable. While at the beach resort, you can go scuba diving or play some volleyball. The city resort allows you to do skateboard tricks as well as engage in some racing. The snow area makes the perfect place for snowball fights and skiing. While at the mountains, you can go horseback riding and even target shooting. There's definitely a lot to do in Go Vacation, and a lot of it is pretty fun. Sadly, though, a lot of it is also really mundane.
A lot of the mini-games in this collection are easy to get into. Racing, the beach triathlon, and target shooting are all great examples of mini-games that are easy to pick up and play, alone or with other players. Volleyball and tennis are pretty fun, too, but the controls can take a little getting used to. I would like to point out that the original Wii Sports tennis is a lot better than the offering in Go Vacation. Then there are mini-games such as sky diving and quick draw, which aren't very fun and can bore you to tears. Go Vacation is a mixed bag, and it's a shame that there are so many monotonous activities in the game.
One aspect of the game I found really interesting was the inclusion of an open world. You can freely travel across the four resorts, seeking out the mini-games each has to offer, exploring at your own pace, and seeing the sights. I thought the addition of a free roam environment was a pretty cool feature, and though older gamers may not really care about exploring, it certainly gives the younger crowd something to do when they're not playing mini-games. And because you can find hidden costumes and treasures around the resorts, there's certainly a reason to explore for those who care about the extras.
Unfortunately, even roaming around the resorts can be a bit of a hassle at times. Because vehicles, skateboards, and horses are all directed using motion controls, not only will your wrists get tired, but you'll never have the full sense of control you would like to have. I found myself crashing into walls like a dope, and I even hit some innocent bystanders. Luckily, the creepy inhabitants of Kawawii Island don't do much other than flinch when you run them down. In any case, while I certainly liked the prospect of an open world, navigating around it wasn't as enjoyable as it could have or should have been.
The issue with the waggle controls doesn't end at the open world, though. Because this is the Wii, you'd have to be living under a rock to expect anything other than an exaggerated amount of motion controls in this mini-game collection. While activities such as shooting, tennis, and volleyball all work well enough, it can be a total pain having to steer a vehicle by slowly tilting both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. On the plus side, a lot of the mini-games are pretty easy to get the hang of, and one thing I was able to really dig was Go Vacation's support of the Wii's long forgotten peripherals. Dust off your Wii Wheel, Wii Zapper, Wii MotionPlus, and Wii Balance Board, because you'll have the option to use them for the first time in a long time.
The presentation in Go Vacation is typically what you would expect from this type of game. Everything's bright and coloful, and characters all have heads that are far too big for their bodies. The sound design is equally predictable, with cheery themes to accompany the 50 activies. I wouldn't expect anything less or anything more from this sort of game as far as its graphics and sound are concerned.
Go Vacation isn't a bad game. It's a harmless, predictable mini-game compilation that can be somewhat fun when played alone and a lot of fun when multiple people join in. This is the type of game I would have expected to see during the Wii's first year, and back then, it probably would have been easier for me to accept it. However, after the seemingly endless amounts of party games on the console, Go Vacation merely does a good job of providing one more go at the genre. It's a fairly good experience, but it's nothing new.