|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Quebec||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 27, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Another big issue you'll notice with Cranium Kabookii is the graphics. Honestly, the game looks like it could have been an early GameCube game. The "characters" are these single color blobs that just stand there while you spin a wheel. Then when you pick a mini-game, there will be a very short and blocky animation that also looks pretty bad. Once you get into the mini-game mode, it's not as bad, but you can still see this game's graphical shortcomings. The play fields look 2-D and very simplistic, and animations are noticeably flat. Cranium Kabookii is not horrific to look at, but it definitely leaves you with the impression that they could have done a little better for themselves.
Another facet of Cranium Kabookii that is readily apparent is its repetitive gameplay. For a little while, the mini-games seem really fun. But soon you'll notice that the games under each of the four broad headings (drama, art, knowledge, and word games) are all very similar. And once these mini-games start running together, the entire game gets really boring really fast. Instead of varying the gameplay and keeping families engaged, the gameplay in Cranium Kabookii will probably leave families bored and uninterested, which is a far cry from the feel of the original board game. If anything, you would hope that the video game version would punch up the gameplay a little. But instead, the gameplay functions in the exact opposite way, and it's a real disappointment.
The sound department, while not a total failure, also leaves something to be desired. There's a commentator who basically narrates the successes and shortcomings of each team after every round. At first the commentator seems pretty okay, but as has been the case with other facets of this game, with repetition comes annoyance. After a few short rounds you'll notice that the commentator has run out of ideas and will keep repeating the same things depending on the standings of the game. As far is music is concerned, there is definitely some here, but it's barely noticeable, and as such, hardly worth commenting on.
I really had some hope for Cranium Kabookii. I would still heartily recommend the board game series to anyone with children who enjoy challenging and brain-stimulating games. And the idea of translating this super-fun family game to a family-friendly console such as the Wii sounded like an excellent idea that would yield entertaining results that the whole family could enjoy. But as a video game, Cranium Kabookii offers an experience that can't even match that of its low-tech predecessor. The poor control and repetitive gameplay coupled with the underwhelming graphics and sound make for an experience that's better left off of the video game console and back on to your family's dining-room table.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer