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Game Party for Nintendo Wii: This One Is Mommy's Game!
Jan 3, 2008
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:fun, simple games everyone can enjoy
Cons:motion isn't always as clean and crisp as Nintendo creations, two dud games
The Bottom Line: The Bottom Line listens when God says she loves skee ball.
Santa and my in-laws conspired to bring my children a game system of their very own this Christmas, and Santa decided on the Nintendo Wii, if for no other reason than at least it would get daddy off the couch while playing video games.
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Of course, this meant that the children and my husband immediately took over the game system, leaving me sitting on the couch critiquing them, breaking up fights, and generally being left out. I took matters into my own hands, however, after spying a game that Santa brought my niece and nephews: Game Party for Nintendo Wii, embarking on a search for my own personal Holy Grail.
::: The Game Everybody Wants :::
I have no idea what makes Game Party for Nintendo Wii so popular, but I think I have an idea. The number one attractive thing about this game is its price; depending on the retailer, you can purchase this game for anywhere between $19.99 (Amazon) to $24.99 (GameStop). That's a really attractive price considering that most Wii games, even the ones no one likes, usually retail in the neighborhood of $49.99 to $59.99.
The other alluring aspect of Game Party for Nintendo Wii is that all of the games on it are traditional games ported to the Wii. If you want to get the grandparents in on the action, this might be the game that will do it, since every game on here is a traditional game with none of those newfangled Mario characters or intense Madden moves.
Game Party for Nintendo Wii actually contains seven games, all of which are probably familiar: Darts, Table Hockey (Air Hockey), Skill Ball (um, around here we call that Skee Ball, as does God*), Hoop Shot, Ping Cup, Shuffle Board, and Trivia. Up to four players can play, depending on the game, and most will work with just one Wiimote, although two are required for Air Hockey and Trivia. All the games have a leaderboard that saves between game sessions so you can compete against other players for a shot at the top score. The competitive games (Darts, Shuffleboard, etc.) obviously assign a winner at the end of the game.
Play is fairly simple; just select a character and go. Rather than use Miis, Game Party for Nintendo Wii has a cast of up to 175 different characters you can choose from, 50 of which are locked until you achieve certain game milestones. Rather than paging through all these characters, you move through rooms that have groups in them. Some games also allow you to unlock new environments, like different alleys for skee ball.
::: Game Party On! :::
Game Party for Nintendo Wii is one of the most popular games in the house, and I had to shop virtually everywhere to find it, finally grabbing it when an online check of stock at GameStop showed that they had one, a change from two days prior. The game play is simple enough for the most part that even Bug, who is four, can manage it.
Two games that don't get played much are Ping Cup and Hoop Shoot. Ping Cup lags in popularity simply because we find it boring on the Wii as well as in real life, and Hoop Shoot because the movement isn't instinctive; here is where the Wii falls short (and probably why Nintendo didn't include basketball on WiiSports) because the movement isn't the same as you would use in real life.
As for the rest, Table Hockey gets a mixed review. I loved it, adjusting quickly to the skewed perspective (you have to play sideways, when in real life you'd be facing your opponent). My husband was unable to get the hang of it, although he assures me that he's FABULOUS at it in real life. I think he would at least have been able to concede my Air Hockey superiority if you could play it like Boxing on WiiSports, with a split screen so you could face the "table."
I'm not big on Shuffleboard, but the kids get a kick out of it, aiming for their sibling's pucks with glee. I think their need to shove each other off the board is what keeps this interesting for them.
The clear winners on Game Party for Nintendo Wii, however, are Darts, Trivia, and Skill Ball. Darts is so close to the real thing you REALLY need to make sure that you have your wrist strap tight, because you instinctively want to throw the "dart" when playing. Of all the games here, this one has the best movement control, and the darts will even bounce off raised areas of the dart board like they do in real life. Options for play include all your favorite dart games like 701, and, unless there is something I have yet to unlock in here, the game setting is a fine Irish pub, so if you are at your best form with loud bar patrons and a Guinness in hand, you can replicate it here, with the exception of the beer, which you have to provide yourself.
The Trivia Game is designed for adults, although anyone with decent reading ability can join in. When my nephew and Beanie played, they got adults to "help" with some of the questions. When we play at home, it's usually my husband vying me for useless information champ, and the game can get quite heated. All questions are multiple choice, and whoever clicks on the correct answer faster wins the round. Topics are chosen via a "spin" and include the typical categories of general knowledge, sports, history, movies, and music.
Skee ball is still where it's at for me. Game play is quick even when switching between kids taking turns provided you set the rule that they can't keep switching characters and alleys between players. The movement here isn't as crisp and clean as it is in Bowling on WiiSports, however, it's a pretty good facsimile of the real thing, and I will cop to the fact that I just MAY have played it until I set all the high scores before allowing anyone else to play it. Alleys include traditional skee ball set-ups as well as more complicated scoring like the clown face, which has no "catch-all" at the bottom for the poor little 10 point score.
The characters in all the game range from amusing (Santa playing darts) to regular folks, and keep you from getting bored playing the game. They also don't talk, keeping their emotions at how they did in a round limited to facial expressions, a welcome change after some of the games that we rented, where hearing the same exclamations frame after frame in bowling made you want to toss the Wii itself through the television.
Game Party for Nintendo Wii is well worth its price tag, and other companies should take note that you can still create a fun game without all the bells and whistles. Judging by the scarcity of this game in stores as well as online, it's a hit with others as well. Rated E for Everyone, most of the games are fine for even the youngest family members who want to get in on the action.
* See Kevin Smith's Dogma for answers
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