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I was reluctant, but Wii Party is Tons of Fun!
on October 5, 2010
I'm new to Wii, and after wasting over a hundred dollars on crappy games only to trade them in for pennies on the dollar, I was leery about throwing more money away. Thankfully, Wii Party is a huge hit at our house!
My reaction to Wii games seems to be instantaneous -- I either love or hate them within the first few minutes of play. And believe me, it doesn't feel good to spend 50 dollars on a game only to realize you've just thrown your money away. And after buying one dud game after another, Wii Party had a lot riding against it in my mind. But I really wanted something else to play other than my fave, Wii Sports Resort. So I decided to give it one more try, bit the bullet, and bought Wii Party -- and boy, am I glad I did!
The trailer for this game really doesn't do it justice. I was thinking this game might be kinda lame, but it really has to be experienced to be appreciated. Like Sports Resort, I'm very impressed with the programming, thought and imagination that went into this. Wii has taken the potentially boring concept of party games and created something quite wonderful, not to mention fun. Unlike New Carnival Games, which was one inane game fragment after another, Wii Party has come up with an inventive way to thread everything together and create an enjoyable gaming experience.
The Host is NOT speaking Japanese!
Wii Party has a cute character that hosts the entire game. I've seen some text and video reviews complaining that he speaks Japanese -- well, I'm not fluent, but I do speak some Japanese, and the host of Wii Party is NOT speaking Japanese. He's not speaking anything, it's just a made up language so the same game can be manufactured for distribution throughout the world. That way, only the onscreen text would change to fit the appropriate country's language, which is easy to accomplish with simple encoding. The host speaks to the players as if they are watching and participating in a game show. And the instructions are displayed as text onscreen. I've read some complaints about this, but since when is teaching children how to read a bad thing?! And for the adults, it gives the opportunity to read the instructions more than once if necessary, to make sure one understands how to play each game. Personally, I like the host and think he's cute. Whenever he comes on screen, it brings a smile to my face. It kinda reminds me of a cross between a quirky Sesame Street puppet and a Cirque du Soleil character. Their Vegas show, Mystere, has a similar character (who is even dressed in a similarly colored costume) and he helps thread the whole show together -- as does the host in Wii Party. And like Cirque, it makes no difference that he's speaking in a foreign tongue, or in this case, a completely made-up one.
I appreciated that each game has the option to do practice rounds. It helps immensely to read the instructions, do a practice, then re-read the instructions again to clarify. You can do as many practice rounds as you like, and some of the games can be tricky, so this is a big plus. The games are all very fun but it takes some getting used to, as far as how the controls work and respond, so practicing before doing the actual game is a good thing.
Laugh Out Loud Fun
Every game we've played so far had us all literally laughing aloud, pointing at the screen and the time just flew by. Hours felt like minutes and it was midnight before we realized we had stayed up way too late playing games. But if laughter is the best medicine, then it was time well spent.
Board Game Island -- was very unique and a really good time, even if bad rolls of the dice occasionally messed things up for us. The neat thing is, computer controlled Mii characters will play along too, so if there's only 2 human players, the computer will play the 2 others so there's a full squad of four. This makes board games more interesting than just playing with 2. But there are plenty of 1, 2 and 4 player games -- literally something for everybody.
Balance Boat -- is really neat too. You have to balance a predetermined number of Miis on a sailboat's masts, making sure not to topple the whole thing over and into the sea. Each round has a mini game that requires 2 players to work as a team. If you play the mini game well and get it right, you get to balance 2 Miis of the same size. If not, the Miis are ridiculously different sizes, making balancing the pair onto the boat much more difficult. So as the game goes on, it gets harder and harder, and funnier too!
The mini games are amazing! Landing your Mii on the moon with space jet packs, flying through space avoiding asteroids, flying a helicopter and saving other Miis with a safety line, chopping trees with an axe, dune buggies, balance mazes, Match Up where you match the Miis wandering the town square... even Bingo was fun and entertaining thanks to the mini games. And you're not playing bingo with numbers, but with Mii faces! The list of great games goes on and on! There's even a silly one where you swing from a vine like Tarzan -- just one vine and you swing as hard as you can to see how far you'll fly! We managed to exit the stratosphere and fly past a UFO!! Unlike all the other wasted money on crappy games, we're literally going to have hours and hours of fun with this one! What a relief to finally find a game worth the purchase price, and then some!
I guess I'm learning that I prefer games that integrate the Miis we've made. We found a website with instructions on how to make celebrity Miis and it's a lot of fun to see them incorporated into these games. Rescuing your faves, finding them in a crowd, matching them up, having them cheer you on as a player when you win or do well -- it's really a nice touch and adds another element of fun to it all. There's even a dating type game that gauges 2 players compatibility -- Friend Connection -- it's not necessarily a dating game, it just reminded me of the Newlywed Game. But any 2 people can play it and see how they match up as good friends or whatever.
Another feature I like -- when you're at the game's main menu that lists all there is to play, if you hover over each game, it gives an estimate of how long it'll take to play (5 min, 30 min, 45 min, etc.) Obviously, game time can vary based on what you do and how much you practice, but it's cool to know an estimate of how long each game might take.
Bottom Line -- just like Sports Resort, Wii Party is definitely a game I'll come back to again and again! Literally hours and hours of fun to be had here, and after all the wasted money on bad games, this one has renewed my faith in Wii games. I love Wii Party and can't say enough good about it!!! What a blast!!