Review: Wii Party

This ain't Mario Party, it's Wii Party. Nintendo's latest effort at a party game once again features mini-games. Did someone say "mini-games"?

Wii Party sports over 80 mini-games and features Miis as the in-game characters. The Japanese version of the game — which I played — has 14 game modes, while the U.S. version has 13. The missing mode is a karuta game mode. (Besides this difference, they are the same game!) These modes are divvied up into "Party Games" (for 1-4 players) "Pair Games" (for 2 players) and "House Party Games" (for more than 2 players). Rounds of Wii Party can be short (say 5 - 15 minutes for "Balance Ship") or long (approximately 60 minutes for "Globe Trot"). While playing, mini-games came in rapid succession as the game's pace zips along.

Ideal Player

Wii Party works best with more than two people. Casuals seem to dig the title. Little kids, too. So large families with casual gamers and/or children?

Why You Should Care

This is the one of the Wii's big holiday games.



Aren't you sick of mini-games? Yes, yes I am. Yet, for some odd reason, the mini-games in Wii Party did not piss me off to no end. And there are some stinkers ("Wii Bingo", ungh), but playing through it with my family was a blast.

Really? Oh yeah. The thing I like about Wii Party, which is also the thing I like about Wii Sports, is that even my in-laws, who do not play video games, can play Wii Party with my kids. They really, really enjoyed the hide-and-seek "Hide 'n' Hunt" game as well as the animal-sound-emitting Animal Tracker and the matching game, "Swap Meet". In that regards, Wii Party succeeds.

Sounds like kids stuff. Well, not all of it. The "Friend Connection" game, in which players answer the same question to determine compatibility, is fun with grown-ups. Ditto for the balancing game "Balance Ship" and the Mario Party-esque board game "Globe Trot". There are a whole host of mini-games that can be enjoyed by adults like "Smile Snap", "Commuter Count", "Walk-Off" and "Word Bomb".

Any gripes? Some of the games aren't as fun (hello "Teamwork Temple") and sometimes the controls are iffy, but thankfully, the mini-games are always short, and there are a whole bunch of them. Players never feel bogged down.

That's it? While playing Wii Party, I actually turned to my family and said, "This game's music is horrid." I don't remember doing that in recent memory. Oh, wait. I might have said the same thing for Wii Sports.

Wii Party In Action

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The Bottom Line

Admitting one likes Wii Party is probably best done in private, but I'll go ahead and do it here: I like Wii Party. Actually, I'm kind of surprised how much I like it. Playing through games like "Roll To The Goal" or "Popgun Posse" with my kids have been satisfying experiences. That's not necessarily because the games are brilliant or amazing, but because my family have had loads of fun.

Wii Party was developed by Nd Cube and Nintendo EAD. It was published by Nintendo and released on July 8 in Japan and on October 3 in North America. Retails for $49.99. A copy was purchased by me and played through by the entire Ashcraft family.