Wii Party Review for Nintendo Wii

Wii Party Review for Nintendo Wii

After one too many romps around the world of mini-games, Nintendo is letting Mario get back to what he does best. That doesn’t mean the publisher is ready to put a cash cow out to pasture, and with Wii Party, Nintendo once again aims for the casual market. Is this a package truly worth celebrating?

Wii Party screenshot

Like Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort before it, Wii Party comes packaged with little fanfare. There’s a Muppets-like host who will walk you through the basics, but the game doesn’t set out to tell a tale. As its name implies, Wii Party is all about getting a group of folks together and having a good time. In lieu of Mario and the gang, each player is represented by a Mii of their choosing, and the party appeal is more mainstream than ever before.

My first order of business when evaluating this product was to sift through all of the various modes, check out as many mini-games as possible, and get a feel for the overall package. Going it alone, I found a lot to like about Wii Party. The host will offer suggestions about appropriate modes and mini-games based on how long you would like to play and how many players are available. The breadth of mini-games is huge, and though there are definitely some duds, there are at least an equal number of fun mini-games that make particularly smart use of the Wii Remote – no Nunchuk or MotionPlus required.

That being said, it’s when you get a group of people invested into the game that Wii Party really hits its stride. Mini-games I had absolutely no interest in when played solo suddenly became entertaining when additional players entered the mix. I enlisted the help of my family to run Wii Party through its paces, and to my surprise, it became one of those games we could spend hours with in a single sitting.

Wii Party screenshot

Perhaps Wii Party’s defining quality, and what makes it so much fun when played in a group setting, is the game’s accessibility. Unlike Mario Party, most of the minis in Wii Party are extremely easy to dive into, and the premise always makes perfect sense, even to non-gamers. Aside from perhaps a single mini, you won’t be required to waggle Wii Remotes frantically without any rhyme or reason. For example, one of the one-verse-one mini-games has players chopping opposite sides of a tree. In order to whack the tree with your axe, you’ll need to motion the controller upright, and when your axe is positioned in the sweet spot, you’ll then need to motion downward to execute a chop.

That’s not to say Wii Party isn’t without its shortcomings. Games such as Risky Railroad rely solely on luck, and there are a handful of other minis that are a bit button-mashy. Also, the laidback nature of the music and presentation often leave a void in what is otherwise a contagiously fun experience. In spite of Wii Party’s flaws, you’re still getting a lot of really strong content here.

Wii Party screenshot

Similar to past Mario Party games, Wii Party offers a board game where players compete to finish first. You’ll move along spaces marked with various obstacles and power-ups, challenging each other in mini-games along the way. There’s only a single board to play on, but Wii Party spreads its focus across a cornucopia of other modes. Bingo is great when you just want to zip through a quick bout of competitive play, and Friend Connection is a delightfully silly way to cooperatively work through a unique selection of minis. Globe Trot is an entertaining take on The Amazing Race, and Spin-Off offers a Wheel of Fortune-style approach that can get pretty intense as the bank fills up.

House Party is, without a doubt, Wii Party’s most unique component. It’s an odd batch of games that will likely make most hardcore gamers cringe, but it’s also an inspired addition that could prove especially fun for younger players. The House Party games require players to become physically involved, either by hiding controllers around the house or passing a controller as if it were a bomb. Though seemingly hokey extras to scoff at, these games are perfect for a slumber party or the like.

Wii Party screenshot

In spite of the fun my family and I had with Wii Party, the game doesn’t exhibit nearly as much personality as the Mario Party games. The board in Board Game Island is pretty lackluster, and as cute as the Miis can often be during a given mini-game, they’re easily forgettable. You can have a really fun time with family and friends every once in a while, but it’s not something you’ll likely feel compelled to break into on a daily basis.

If you were hoping for online play, you won’t get that here, either. There’s absolutely no online interactivity included in Wii Party, not even leader boards. Before actually digging into the package, I was baffled by the omission. However, once you tinker around with Wii Party a bit, you’ll understand what Nintendo was going for. A party isn’t something that happens between people many miles away, and considering how Wii Party comes to life when played with others in the same room, it’s safe to say Nintendo successfully hits their mark.

Wii Party’s look and overall presentation is considerably attractive, though the game does have some noticeable highs and lows. Wii Party appears to be using the same tech as Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort, which means bright skies and lots of simulated solar flare. The Miis are dolled up in quite a variety of outfits and offer entertaining expressions when they win or lose. Certain textures, however, are downright ugly, yet water effects often look on par with the HD consoles. Luckily, where it counts the most, Wii Party never really stumbles. The framerate is delightfully smooth, and the game’s vibe is always upbeat and relaxing.

If you’ve played either of the Wii Sports games before, you’ll recognize most of the audio features packed into Wii Party. Lots of Mii cheering, an announcer who sounds like he could be a game-show host, and the sound effects are low-impact while being subtly integral to the action of each mini-game. Though many of the game’s themes are a bit corny, they somehow fit right in with Wii Play’s casual vibe.

If you approach Wii Party as a single-player affair, you’ll likely find a package that is only moderately entertaining at best. Bring it with you to Thanksgiving or some other social gathering, however, and Wii Party will light up a room. Whether it be a sleepover for the little ones or a family get-together, Wii Party is something any and all Wii owners will want as part of their collection. The mini-games aren’t perfect and the presentation isn’t quite up to Nintendo standards, but the package is still bursting with potential, in spite of its flaws.

Wii Party is inviting, with loads of bright colors, lighting, and simple effects. Backgrounds, however, are full of low-res textures, and certain assets are downright ugly. A silky smooth framerate keeps graphical woes at bay. 3.9 Control
Some of the minis are, as one would expect in a mini-game collection, mindlessly simple. However, you’re rarely asked to motion like an idiot, and within the intended context, Wii Party is just plain fun. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Bland themes somehow work alongside the rest of the game’s presentation, and the variety of simple sound effects get the job done. 3.8

Play Value
There are an enormous number of mini-games under the hood here, and House Party is an odd yet inspired addition you won’t find anywhere else. In spite of Wii Party’s breadth of content, it’s still a package with fairly limited appeal.

3.8 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • From Board Game Island to Bingo, these party games let up to four friends or family members play mini-games together in fun and hilarious ways.
  • If it’s just you and a buddy, pair up for these two-player games, and play as friends or foes in a variety of co-op and competitive mini-games.
  • There are over eighty mini-games to choose from, ranging from 4 Player to 1 vs. 1, 1 vs. 3, and Pair games. Pick up and play any of them with your party crew!

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