|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Midway||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Midway||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: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Branden Barrett
The Nintendo Wii has seen its fair share of short mini-game titles on its system over the last year. From Nintendo's own Mario Party 8 and WarioWare Smooth Moves to lesser known titles like Carnival Games and Rayman Raving Rabbids, the quickly made games designed exclusively for motion sensing have left a bad taste in the mouth of hardcore gamers. Though some may disagree, I honestly thought the initial fascination with the Wii-mote should have been over after Wii Sports. Yes, it may seem cool that you can control your virtual character with a variety of motions, but at this point, it is safe to say that most people should be accustomed to it. Ignoring logic, Midway has thrown out yet another mini-game centered title for the Wii in the form of the generically titled Game Party. Is it worth it? Well, you should probably know the answer to that by now.
Once you boot up the game, you will be introduced to a rudimentary single player and multiplayer mode. The basic premise of the game is that you and your friends head off to several venues for some gaming fun. These include a sports bar, arcade, pub, and several others. However, from the very beginning you will notice the simplicity of the visuals. Everything in these locations has practically little to no detail, and it is without saying that the game could've been done on the PlayStation 2 or Dreamcast. Characters look like a warped fusion between a balloon blow-up and a cardboard caricature. Faces make the occasional expression, but there are basically only two between each avatar: happiness and sadness. Nevertheless, you don't play a mini-game centered title for its graphics, right? It's all about the games.
Speaking of games, you will have quite a selection to choose from. The majority of whichrange from games you would see at your local arcade (Skill Ball, Hoop Shot, Air Hockey) to ones you'd see at a retirement home (Shuffleboard, Trivia). Why someone thought it would be a good idea to include the last two into the mix is beyond me. Anyway, the objective of these games is to basically beat your opponent in the most skillful way possible. Based on your performance, you will be given tickets that you can use to unlock additional Mii-like characters. The difference between these characters is basically their appearance, and since there is little difference between them in that department, it just feels like a pointless feature.
Using a turn-table selection system, you will jump from game to game, beating any competition you find along the way. The first game you will probably find yourself playing is the Hoop Shot, which is the easiest, but also the most redundant. Using the Wii-mote, you will perform a shooting gesture with the controller, causing your Mii to shoot the ball based on the amount of power applied. This is quite easy to deduct, and within minutes you will be hitting practically every shot with little difficulty. Other simple games include the underarm based Ping Cup and the direction oriented Skill Ball. The latter was my favorite game in all of Game Party, generally because of its similarity to the Bowling game within Nintendo's Wii Sports. Lastly, of note is the Darts mini-game, which is easily the most difficult of the bunch. Visioning the Wii-mote as if it were a dart, you point in the direction of the board you want to throw to and then perform a motion similar to the one for Hoop Shot. The problem here is that getting the distance and trajectory you want is tough to figure out and will take quite a few play sessions to get the hang of. That is, if the game continues to keep your interest for that long.
Ah Shuffleboard, who doesn't love pushing a small plastic puck across a small wooden table? Again, I have to ask the creators why they thought Shuffleboard was a good event to add to a mostly arcade centered game. No wonder you rarely see any around these days. When was the last time you saw a shuffleboard table in an arcade? This aside, Shuffleboard is actually one of the more skill based events in Game Party because of the difficulty of the A.I. Actually, a better word to use would be "unfair." Based on how hard you thrust the Wii-mote, your Mii will then toss the puck as hard as he or she can. Power is gauged appropriately by the controller, and the overall objective is to stop your puck as close to the end as possible. Unfortunately for you, the computer gets it nearly perfect every time and you will have to remember the motion almost instinctively to win consecutive games. Most of these games would've been more fun if there was a greater margin for error, but the lack thereof makes for plenty of frustrating moments.