Play, If You Dare: The Party’s On!
June 18, 2007 – Great games are few and far between; however, poorly crafted games are quite abundant these days. Why? Why me? Why did I have to play this game? I can’t believe I’ve lost a few hours of my life playing it… But at least I know now, and I can help you make a smart decision about Tamagotchi: Party On!
A few years ago Tamagotchis were all the rage amongst kids of ages four to twelve. They were little digital pets one could carry everywhere. My little sister and brother each had one, and they cherished it as their most beloved treasure. When your Tamagotchi was hungry, you’d feed it a turkey leg, and if it was tired, you’d put it to sleep; not to mention what would happen when the poor thing had to go to the bathroom! Tamagotchis did it all on a little less-than-one-square-inch LCD screen, much before The Sims and Nintendogs came to life.
So, what kind of game is this and how did it get to my hands? I’ll answer the latter first: it seems like Wii owners have a good taste in their mouth thanks to the success of other great games, and want to continue finding fun and innovation with the new hype-machine. That’s why we’ll try anything, in hopes of finding another Wii jewel to make us happy. Tamagotchi: Party On! looks very cute and it could at least be fun for kids! But it doesn’t quite get there. It’s a simple, interactive board game that contains a little over a dozen minigames and a bunch of characters to choose from. What is it missing? It’s missing control accuracy, minigame variety, and also speed; yes, it’s just plain slow and it will drive you crazy. If you were thinking of picking this up for your child, think again.
Tamagotchi: Party On! has been designed with kids in mind, no doubt about it. If it was well made, it would have been a nice tool of entertainment for them, and it would have helped children become accustomed to the different control possibilities the Wii-mote puts in hand. It could have even been a little family game one can play with the kid, instead of playing another round of Candyland. However, (parents beware!) you won’t be able to stand this game! Unless you like to be tortured…
The game presents a virtual game board, like Mario Party games have always done. However, the goal is a little different: here you’ll have to gain popularity and money (Gotchi) in order to become Tamagotchi Land’s next president. It’s all about politics these days, isn’t it? The game will have a minimum of seven turns (half hour of gameplay), depending on what you choose, and each turn is equivalent to one day of campaigning. You roll the die and choose your path, which often branches into more than one path, allowing you to select your next destination. Different tiles unleash different outcomes. There are a few minigame tiles throughout the game; unfortunately, there aren’t enough of those tiles to keep the game interesting, and that’s mostly what one would want to land on. You play the minigames with the Wii-mote, positioning your hands however the little graphic explains. You might be shaking people’s hands, flipping book pages, watering flowers, serving ice-cream, or adjusting a clock. In any case, there are only 15 real minigames included in this title, and many of them present certain control flaws that make them frustrating and nearly unplayable. There are also Gotchi Game tiles where you play a short game with three buttons on the D-pad, holding the controller sideways, the classic way. These allow you to obtain money to finance your political campaign and pay your dues. In many cases they’re pointless minigames that you will lose in a hurry. You’ll get better at them if you practice, though; the more points you get, the more Gotchi you’ll earn. Campaign spaces will give you the chance to promote yourself and gain popularity. Event Spaces can be good or bad for you: sometimes you’ll help a child cross the street, which will reward you with extra popularity and some cash. Other times luck won’t be on your side and you’ll be penalized for a bad move. In some cases you might even lose a turn, like when you encounter a drunken friend and feel forced to help him. Way to lose one of the valuable seven turns! Beating the CPU is not easy, even on Easy Mode. Don’t ask me why; I just know I can do better than that.
You’ll be able to track your points and money by selecting the diary when it’s your turn. If you achieved plenty of popularity and Gotchi at the end of the game, you’ll earn the title of president. Just hope for good luck, do the best you can on the minigames, be sure you make at least one campaign speech, and you’re set.