|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: THQ||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Jet Black Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 12, 2008||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 major problem with this mechanic comes in just how inaccurately a player's swinging speed is registered. Generally speaking, a quick motion will result in a high speed and a slow swing in a low one. However, most games require much more subtlety than this and definitely provide enough repetition to expose just how imprecise the controls can be. Trying to find a middle ground can be an exercise in frustration, especially when performing the same swing multiple times will often result in completely different speeds.
Anger becomes an even greater issue when competing in a timed or real time versus mini-game. While most of the events in Neighborhood Games will allow you to take your time in turn-based competitions, there are a few that will give you a time limit or have you face off against an A.I.- controlled adversary. The only thing more frustrating than already struggling with the game's poor motion detection is doing so against a ticking clock or an unrealistically accurate enemy. As an example, Super Battleshoes has you throwing horseshoes at pole covered boats floating in water at the same time as your opponent. Whoever sinks the opposition's boats first by scoring enough ringers on each, wins. While playing this mini-game on its hardest difficulty, I actually lost a match despite the fact that I somehow managed to score a miraculous 40% accuracy with my throws.
However, things do get a little better when playing with friends. Besides putting both players at a similar disadvantage due to the controls, there are nine additional mini-games to try out. While there are a few that stick to the bowling controls found throughout the rest of the game, the majority at least try something different. Games like water wars, RC planes, and RC trucks even use very little, if any, motion controls. Up to four players can also participate in quick matches in almost any one of the 24 included mini-games or can set up tournaments for a more structured competition.
In the end, Neighborhood Games is a package that isn't completely terrible, nor is it remarkable in any way. The mini-games that are included are fairly simple to play and could have been a lot more fun if the controls had been fine-tuned. Conversely, while the controls can be frustrating at times they don't completely ruin the experience, especially when playing with friends. If you are looking for a mini-game compilation for the Wii, you could definitely do better but you could almost certainly do worse.
CCC Staff Contributor