GAME NAME: Wii Party U
DEVELOPER(S): Nintendo SPD Group 4
PLATFORM(S): Wii U
GENRE(S): Board Game
RELEASE DATE(S): October 25th, 2013
Board games and party games have always been great items to have in your home, especially over the festive season when everyone’s bored or you’re just trying to help pass the time until New Years. However, board games are expensive and, over time, you’ll land up losing most of the little pieces, so it makes sense for there to be video games in a similar vein. But is Wii Party U your new go to party game, or will you just be throwing a bad die with this purchase?
Right from the word go, you realize that this game is designed for entertainment. It’s colourful, simple and, best of all, a quick jab of entertainment. The games are divided into four different segments: TV Party, House Party, GamePad Party and Mini-games. In most cases you’re going to need a wii remote, actually, to be safe, you’ll need at least two. Unfortunately, I only have 1 remote, so I was only able to play games that allowed 1 to 4 players and of the 26 main games, I was only able to play 16. House party was a particular problem as four out of the eight games require 2 remotes and the other four require 3 remotes, meaning I wasn’t able to play any of the games in House Party.
The games in TV party are designed to look and feel like board games. This section contains 5 games, each with their own set of rules and play style. For example, Highway Rollers is very similar to Snakes and Ladders, while Mii Fashion Plaza is slightly similar to Monopoly. Each round you and your pals (or the game’s randomly generated characters) play a mini-game to determine each player’s ranking. The higher you rank, the more dice you get to roll or get more advantages. The board games are fun, but, depending on how many players there are, it can become very long and very boring quickly. The games can last between 30 minutes to an hour. Fortunately, the mini-games are a blast to play and provide you with that needed burst of entertainment.
GamePad Party is great to have when a friend comes by unannounced. Most of them are 1 to 2 players and, like the name implies, it uses the GamePad. You hold the pad length wise, using your side’s joystick to move around. This section contains seven different games of varying degrees of difficulty. My personal favourites include tabletop football (a small version of foosball), Mii-in-a-row (an improved version of Connect Four) and tabletop baseball. Each game can last between 5 and 15 minutes.
The mini-game section also has its own games, including the complete mini-game collection (about 51 games, not including the GamePad Party specific mini-games and challenge mini-games), battle of the mini-games, tournaments and freeplay challenges. This is the section you should play if you’re feeling a little anti-social or, you know, “forever alone”.
The mini-games are fairly easy and simple to learn. The controls for each mini-game are different and range from waving your remote around like you’re at a trance party to pressing buttons in sequence. There’s a plethora of mini-games to choose from, so you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck, not forgetting to mention that retail versions of the game come with a Wii remote. If you buy the digital version and you don’t have a remote, you’re screwed.
Another little hiccup is the AI. They’re obviously no substitute for real people but are still ridiculously easy to beat on the original three difficulty settings. Later on you’ll unlock expert and master, which are much better and slightly more brutal, offering you more of a challenge if you’re playing single player.
Aside from the remote hassles, which could’ve been cleared up with online multiplayer, Wii Party U is a pretty neat game for both gamers and the casual market. It’s not as heavy as AAA action games, so it’ll appeal to casual gaming families, kids and people just looking for some fun, but it’s also the game to turn to when you “don’t have anything to play”. It’s quick, easy and great, for when you need that lagging 20 minutes to pass a little faster. Considering the price of your average game and the cost of a Wii U remote, you’re scoring big time with this deal, so it’s definitely a game to consider buying.