Cranium: Kabookii Review
Cranium: Kabookii box art
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.

Cranium: Kabookii screenshot

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.

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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.

By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer

Features:

  • Inspired by the original Cranium board game: Players will move through a track of puzzle categories featuring the same four characters as the board game: Creative Cat: Create works of art and imagination; Data Head: Discover fascinating new things; Word Worm: Crack codes and remix phrases; Star Performer: Perform hilarious feats
  • For the whole gang: Unlimited players! Up to 4 teams, each with 2 or more players, can compete against each other. Appeals to every type of intelligence, so bring family and friends of all ages together for an engaging and hilariously entertaining game. With so many activities to choose from, aspiring artists, trivia masters, actors, and wordsmiths of all ages have plenty of opportunities to shine.


    RATING OUT OF 5
    RATING DESCRIPTION
    2.0
    Graphics
    Poor. Characters and game modes all look way too simplistic.
    2.5
    Control
    Vary greatly depending on the mini-game. Controls in drawing and music-type games are excellent. Controls in "acting" games are terrible.
    1.5
    Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    Music and repetitive sound bytes get annoying fast. Here's hoping your family drowns this one out.
    3.0

    Play Value
    Families who enjoyed the board game will like this one. But the simplistic and at times frustrating controls really ruin this one's chances of being a family gaming staple.

    2.6
    Overall Rating - Average
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
  • Screenshots / Images
    Cranium: Kabookii screenshot - click to enlarge Cranium: Kabookii screenshot - click to enlarge Cranium: Kabookii screenshot - click to enlarge Cranium: Kabookii screenshot - click to enlarge

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