|System: Wii U|
|Release: October 25, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Mild Cartoon Violence|
by Joshua Bruce
The word “party” means different things to different people. For example, my party checklist normally includes too much food, age appropriate beverages (depending on the type of party), and things that explode and/or catch on fire. While I have found this formula to be wildly successful and entertaining, I must submit that there are other types of parties. They may not be as fun, but that just boils down to personal preference.
When I first sat down (or stood up as the case may be) to play Wii Party U, I immediately noticed the plethora of options available. There are three major modes--House Party, TV Party, and GamePad Party. Each mode is a little different, offering a different experience. For instance, TV Party pits your fellow partygoers and you against each other in a board game-style setting where you have to roll for the number of spaces you can move. But instead of simply rolling dice, each player is challenged with one of the many mini-games that make up the bulk of Wii Party U. It could be simply stopping a wheel on a number, blowing darts (literally blowing) at balloons via the GamePad, or firing an arrow at a carousel of numbers to achieve your roll score.
But the diversity of the mini-games doesn’t stop there. Wii Party U gets a little innovative with its controls. There are several instances where you have to turn the GamePad away from you and complete puzzles backwards. You may land on a square that will give you a shortcut, kick you back a couple spaces, or pit you in a challenge against the other player for extra moves. These challenges also draw from the immense library of mini-games included with Wii Party U, but there are so many you will rarely see the same mini in any one session. In short, the TV Party mode captures all of the triumph and pitfalls of a real board game, without the monotony of sitting around a table.
Each of these game sessions will take you about 45 minutes to complete, so if you aren’t prepared to commit that sort of time to one game mode, you might have to try something else. Luckily for you, Wii Party U has plenty more to explore.
House Party mode takes a different approach. Games in this mode are more akin to a game show, and players must compete in mini-games that determine the order of play. One of my favorites from Wii Party U is “Ball Dozer,” so I’ll use it as an example. “Ball Dozer” is a take on the popular coin-dropping games from old arcades. Basically, you drop up to four balls (depending on how you place in the mini-game) onto a platform of other balls. The balls you drop will force balls from the upper platform to a lower platform, and from the lower platform into the scoring bucket. After each round, you will have to play a different mini-game to determine your placement in the order of play, which also determines how many balls you drop.
This is just a simple example, but the diversity of play in these games is excellent. Using the game that the players choose as the core of the experience, Wii Party U injects fun mini-games to break up what would become tedious and boring. This keeps the game fresh and enjoyable.
Of course, there is still much more to do. If you feel like playing Wii Party U without your TV, you can switch to GamePad Party. This mode allows you to go head-to-head with one other player via the GamePad controller. Or, if you just want to play your favorite mini-game, you can simply select one and play to your heart’s content
There are so many different games in Wii Party U that I can’t possibly tell you about them all. While I have found some “go-to” games within the game itself, I have yet to find any game in Wii Party U that isn’t fun. Obviously, some are more fun than others, but that’s the nature of the beast.