|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Wideload Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Disney Interactive Studios||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 31, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Whether it is in a movie, televisions show, book, or a game, Ive always found a good mystery to be enjoyable. Trying to be observant, picking up on subtle clues, compiling information, and ultimately, figuring out who or what is responsible. However, Im not saying all mysteries should be serious, as the over-the-top movie Clue is easily one of my all-time favorites. This is the side of whodunits that Guilty Party falls into, not taking itself too seriously but still managing to keep the players attention from start to finish with its charm.
The story of Guilty Party revolves around the family owned and operated Dickens Detective Agency. The family of sleuths that make up the agency are an eccentric and varied bunch. On one hand, youve got characters like Max, an overweight detective who seems like a somewhat realistic portrayal of a real person, and on the other, you have over-the-top characters such as Kid Riddle, a child always wearing a cape and mask, and Charlotte, a senior citizen who loves to perform martial arts on evildoers. Luckily, since the game doesnt take itself seriously, all of these characters fit in perfectly and generate some genuinely humorous dialog and antics during their quest to hunt down the agencys nemesis, Mr. Valentine.
Guilty Partys story mode is what helps to separate the game from the plethora of other party games that have continued to flood the Wii since its release. This mode consists of six levels, a prologue, and a finale, each bookended with humorous cinematics that keep the story moving forward. The prologue does a good job of introducing the player to the concepts they will need to progress through the game and take down Mr. Valentine. These include moving, questioning suspects, collecting clues, narrowing down your suspects (by discovering the criminals height, shape, hair style, and gender), and pudding, which manages to play a large role throughout, even if not in the gameplay.
The game plays out similarly to many board games, having players taking turns moving around what is essentially a board while trying to get to the bottom of each levels mystery. Each turn has the player receiving three coins and picking a savvy card at random from three possible choices. Coins are used to move your character any number of rooms by choosing your destination and then paying a coin to move there. They are also needed in order to interrogate witnesses and collect clues, at the cost of one coin apiece. Either way, paying your coin will instigate a mini-game in which you must perform one of over forty random tasks in order to uncover what youre looking for.
Most of the mini-games involve things related to investigation, such as bribing a witness, dusting for prints, and piecing together shredded clues. However, there are also mini-games that appear completely unrelated, such as picking a persons favorite food, swatting bugs, and patching leaking holes with glue and tape. Even so, the sheer variety of mini-games helps to keep any of them from getting stale. While you may not see the point in one of the mini-games you are tasked with, at least youre not just repeatedly doing the same ten that make sense.
The mini-games in Guilty Party can be humorous, but from a gameplay perspective, they arent always exactly fun or challenging. Almost every mini-game in Guilty Party can be solved by shaking the Wii-Remote erratically, pointing it at the screen, dragging objects, or a combination of the three. This makes completing these tasks almost an afterthought and an inconvenience. However, things get even worse as the game decides that you need to jump up in difficulty.
Rather than giving the player the option of making the game harder or easier, your difficulty level is set depending on how you perform in mini-games. If you do too well, the game will inform you things are going to get harder, giving you no choice in the matter. While this isnt a terrible idea on paper, some of the mini-games are ridiculously unbalanced when played at higher levels. For instance, one mini-game tasks you with shaking the Wii-Remote in order to use a fan to clear the fog away from a witnesss memory. On the easiest difficulty level, there is one memory and it can be cleared in about five seconds. However, on the hardest difficulty, there are three memories which continue to fog back over when not being fanned, making clearing all three in the time allotted insanely difficult. Im not necessarily opposed to a challenge, but when you can breeze through several mini-games without much effort only to get stuck on one in particular for several turns worth of coins, something is wrong.