|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Atomic Planet Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atari||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec.7, 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|
The graphics and sound quality are rudimentary at best. There are several somewhat interesting environments to open up, but the overall feel and look of the settings is of a world pulled from the days of the original PlayStation. The sounds are even worse. The background music is catchy, but not in a good way. In fact, it's catchy like techno or modern R&B, not catchy like the theme from Monday Night Football or the Cantina from Mos Eisley. Other than the music, the tutorial narration and in-game commentary are amateurish. The sound effects are also quite unsophisticated. The tower sways with a sound not unlike that used to replicate the noises of old pirate ships or the sway of a rickety rope bridge. All-in-all, the game settings resemble that of a bargain title, and I am sure it will soon be relegated to that status.
There are a few modes of play, most of which are indistinguishable from one another. As a single player you are going to want to play the World Tour and skip the Quick Play, Arcade, and Free Jenga modes. World Tour mode will have you playing against A.I. opponents in different parts of the world from different eras. Each level has its own unique effects and parameters that significantly change gameplay. Blocks that you use can change from wood, to stone, to ice, and even lava pumice. Sometimes your Jenga tower will be covered in vines, and other times the blocks will be too hot to handle. These changes in characteristics are an attempt at varying gameplay, but as you progress you will be longing for the simple wood blocks in the modern city apartment in the U.S. where you began the game.
If you are playing with friends, you'll be happy to know that you can change the parameters however you see fit. Additionally, you can play with up to three other people. This multiplayer aspect does improve the fun a bit if the people you are playing with aren't complete noobs. If they are, get ready to throw your head through the plasma screen. Your friends and family will be constantly knocking over the tower before you've completed even one round! It's sad but true; most people will find the game to be utterly broken, incapable of giving the title a chance.
Sadly, I've done a lot of bashing of the game, but I don't mean to be so harsh. In all honesty, there are a lot worse games out there. In fact, if you do buy the title you'll probably find yourself beating the World Tour because the gameplay, though jerky, is quite addictive. The game also supports five different languages including English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. That probably only appeals to handful of you though. Despite the few upsides, the message that needs to be communicated to gamers everywhere is that this is a title you can do without. If you want to show your skeptical friends what the Wii can do, have them play Wii Sports Bowling or Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. If you start them out with Jenga World Tour, they'll be back to their PS3 quicker than you can say Ratchet and Clank. In conclusion, if you really want some Jenga action, you'll be far better off buying the classic block game and make the loser reset the tower.
CCC Freelance Writer