Released: 8 October (Out Now)
From the people who brought you Wii Sports, Wii Play and Wii Fit, Wii Party is Nintendo’s latest offering in the ‘Wii’ range. In short, it’s an assortment of mini-games, over 80 as it boasts on the box to be a bit more precise. But the game does have slightly more depth to it that this, although it’s not the most structured game you will ever come across. Essentially, it is just Mario Party (even the voice-over guy who exclaims “Finish!” is exactly the same person), but Nintendo have decided, in the hope of achieving higher cales, to drop the Mario characters and put ‘Mii’s in their place. However, it’s not a simple straight-swap, as the entire game has been sculpted to the style of the Mii character models, and where Mario Party has different game boards, Wii Party gives more variation with completely different separate game modes.
These modes come in all shapes and sizes, with some pitting all 4 players against each other with the CPU players filling any gaps, some designed for two players to go head-to-head, and others which have you working together. There is even a compatibility test mode which is interesting to play with a friend, partner or sibling to see what score you get, especially when it comes to the questions round, whereupon you answer a series of questions and compare answers. I found this mode to be particularly enjoyable simply because of this quiz part.
But, as aforementioned, there are other modes too; Globe Trot, Balance Boat and Board Game Island just to name a few. All games are easily accessible from the main page and there is even the option to play mini-games on their own in the mini-game mode, ousting the structured play seen in the main game modes and all motivation behind the mini-games that accompanies them. Basically, playing for fun and to win each individual mini-game, rather than winning them to help propel you forward as part of the bigger picture. This is a nice addition because it allows you to jump into the game quickly for short, sharp bursts of play, rather than feeling forced to start up a long, drawn-out main game mode. It’s also ideal for those mini-games which you fall in love with, as with the help of mini-game mode, you can play them over and over again as much as you like, something that’s unlikely to occur in the main game modes.
Linking in with the nature of the game -a party game designed to be accessible for all and straight-forward enough for anyone to pick up and play- Wii Party has a well thought-out and unrivalled user interface. Honestly, the start menu screen is one of the best I’ve seen in a long while, with many thoughtful, helpful integrations which I wish some other games would think of implementing. Such as the approximate game-duration estimations underneath each mode, which are extremely helpful as it means instead of having to play through the games once for yourself to figure out how long each game lasts, you can easily access this information when selecting a game, aiding your choice with highly accurate estimated durations.
It must be said, nearly all the main games and mini-games in Wii Party are of a high standard. While there are a few exceptions like Globe Trot as well as a hanful of mini-games that don’t work so well, for the most part they are all highly entertaining, especially when played with friends. Playing solo isn’t as great because the AI is poor, even when turned up to the unlockable ‘Master’ difficulty mode, and with the social interaction gone, many of the games lose their fun-factor and charm. As hinted on above, some games are no fun even with a group for multiplayer. For example, Globe Trot, one of the larger main games, is just flawed. While it is a near carbon-copy of the Mario party style of game board, there are too many event spaces which have you constantly changing position on the map, rendering it impossible to be considered ‘fun’. Then, as for the less enjoyable mini-games, these are few and far between and come about usually from badly mapped control schemes which are generally pone to inducing RSI among the players.
However, these negative aspects shouldn’t be dwelled on too much, because as with all mini-game compilations, there is bound to be a couple of bad ones: it is pretty much a cemented fact thanks to the laws of probability. Just to reiterate, of the 80+ mini-games, at least 70-75 of them are quality, and are sure to provide a great deal of laughter when played in a group. Seeing other peoples Mii’s (who aren’t necessarily involved in the game directly, but still make an appearance) in odd circumstances is surprisingly amusing, such as in one mini-game where if you open the wrong door you walk-in on an unsuspecting Mii sitting on the toilet. Plus, with the added bonus of a Wii remote bundled with the disc, in similar fashion to Wii Play, the package is great value for money, especially if you were planning on getting another Wii remote soon anyway.
Overall, Wii Party is another solid Nintendo offering in the official ‘Wii’ range, mirroring the casual appeal of games previous titles like Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Wii Play, Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus. This party game provides a high quality selection of mini-games and unparalleled accessibility. Not only are the menu screens well-designed, but there is a cutesy character to guide you through the game, and the simple yet fun mini-games make it appealing for anyone to play. In groups it’s an absolute joy to play. Bearing this in mind, if you don’t have people around willing to play with you, your experience will be somewhat prohibited, as the game is much less fun on your lonesome. But if you do have people to play with, it couldn’t be recommended more, and it looks like it could be the ideal Christmas party game this Winter, with all the relatives around to play, The added controller in the package is just the icing on the cake.
- Excellent multiplayer game
- Wide array of quality mini-games
- Highly amusing
- Comes with Wii Remote
- No where near as much fun when played alone
- Some of the games aren’t great