Game Guys review - Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade

12:04 PM, Dec 27, 2012   |    comments
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  • 'Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade' for Wii U.
  • 'Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade' for Wii U.
    

If there was one thing the Wii was known for, it was (for better or for worse) family-friendly party game titles.  Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade from game publisher D3 Publisher continues that tradition onto the Wii U by providing 30 mini- and party games in which friends and family members can compete during a family game night.  Just how great these games are, however, is up for debate.

As its name might suggest, Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade offers players a selection of games designed for families (children, at the very least) to play together.  By default, all games are four-player affairs with the game's laughable AI filling in for all non-human players.  Freeplay is available for those who just want to pick-and-choose from whichever unlocked games they have available (the game begins with ten available with others unlocking as they are played), but that's not what makes up the core of this game -- that's reserved for its Family Party mode.

The main gameplay mode splits the mini-games up into four themed areas as if Obstacle Arcade took place in an amusement park of some sort.  In each, players compete in five events in an attempt to not only earn points towards their overall tally, but also to gain control of the Wii U Gamepad.  You see, most of the mini-games don't use the Wii U Gamepad at all.  Rather, they use the Wii Remote controllers carried over from Nintendo's previous home video game console and the Wii U Gamepad is instead reserved only for the between-event bonus rounds.  Developer ART Co. might argue that switching between Wii Remote and Wii U Gamepad varies up gameplay.  Others would probably argue that they're taking one of the best things about the Wii U (control wise) and setting it aside almost completely.

As for the games themselves, they run the gambit from "acceptable" to "terrible".  Some of the mini-games, such as a ghost-hunting game reminiscent of Hogan's Alley and the sci-fi themed air hockey game, can actually be entertaining plays.  Most of the bonus games in which the Wii U gamepad is utilized are likewise not half-bad.  Other titles -- indeed at least half of those on the disk -- don't fare nearly as well.  The spinning teacup game leaves much to be desired, the controls for the vertical cloud-hopping game seemed to be reversed, and the rowing game was so simple it became boring just as soon as it began.  Overall (and with few exceptions), Obstacle Arcade's selection of party-oriented mini-games would have trouble finding independent success as anything other than a freebie in the iTunes App Store; and, even then, a few of them still might not be worth the price of admission.

To the game's credit, it's trying to cater to gamers who are either too young or too casual-oriented to care about high-end graphics or polished-clean gameplay.  Obstacle Arcade looks and plays like a late-era Wii game, just with cleaner HD visuals than the Wii could have provided.  The annoying commentary track from the game's ursine mascot, though, is almost as un"bear"able as this pun.  Not only is his voice almost like nails on a chalkboard to an adult's ears, but his vocal inflections during mini-games is inconsistent.  Visually or audibly, this piece of shovelware is not to be the standard-bearer of overall quality of workmanship, that is for certain.

In the end, it really is quite the stretch to call this title or any of its included 30 games "great".  That stated, calling this Wii U title 30 Below-Average to Acceptable Games Obstacle Arcade might have been to long of a title -- not that the title isn't already too long to begin with.  In other words, it's not great in the slightest; yet there are times where it can still be fun to some degree.  Families with 5-10 year-olds are probably a perfect fit for this title, though this title is far from a perfect way to enjoy gaming on the Wii U.

Final Game Guys grade: C-

(D3 Publisher provided a Wii U copy of this game for review.)

News10/KXTV

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