Game review by Steve Cullum
Game – Wii Party U
Version – Wii U
Rating – E for Everyone
Original MSRP – $49.99 (with Wii Remote Plus included)
Obtained – Review Copy from Nintendo of America
If you are a fan of party-style video games, you probably already know about the Wii Party franchise. This time around, the party comes to Wii U, and it claims to transform your living room into a party game. You and three friends can jump into individual games, play a round of a game shows, or even play solely on your GamePad. The 80+ minigames certainly are high in quantity, but do they match in quality?
Story and Plot
Wii Party U is all about the party, which means there is no story to cloud up the waters. In a world where many game developers feel they have to throw a deep story in everything they do, it is a breath of fresh air when you come across a game like Wii Party U. Basically, everything is unlocked from the beginning. (There is one mode you must unlock, but that is it.) As soon as you boot up the game, you can jump right into a game or collection of games with your friends.
You do have a couple host characters that will guide you through the game’s four main modes of minigames. There is no story, but I do have to admit they get pretty annoying when they explain the rules. I wish there was a way to skip past them if you have already completed the game before. Alas, you are left to just hit the A button as fast as possible, so you don’t have to listen to them anymore.
Gameplay and Controls
Due to the sheer quantity of minigames in Wii Party U, I do not feel I should cover every one. Instead, I will talk in more generalities. This title is all about keeping the gameplay simple with options. If you want to play each minigame on its own, you can do that. If you want to play a game show with the minigames, you can do that. If you want to complete a board game with the minigames, that is available as well. Basically, the name of the game is the minigames, and you are allowed to go through them in a number of different ways, based on the preference of your party. The only unfortunate part is that your parties cannot be online, as Wii Party U has only local multiplayer. You can post your game records and “Amazing Feats” (achievements) online, though, so that was a nice addition.
Controls are also kept extremely simple. Most minigames require the use of one or two buttons on your Wii Remote Plus, but others only use the motion control or require you to pass around the GamePad. Some are extremely cheesy, but others are really fun. For the most part, each minigame has a simple set of instructions that should leave even the inexperienced gamers without many questions of what they are to do. This means that your “hard core” friends can usually play right alongside your “casual” friends. And from my experience, they all end up having a ton of fun in the end.
Graphics and Sound
Graphically, Wii Party U is not much to write home about. Sure, it is in HD, but there was never a time when I said, “Wow, this game looks fantastic!” Instead, I often said things about its fun factor. However, I also never found myself saying anything about how the game looks horrible, either. Wii Party U just exists as a party game that does nothing to overwhelm or underwhelm players with its graphics.
Similarly, the music is also nothing overwhelming. It is fun, and it fits the atmosphere, but I never got a particular song stuck in my head or felt that a song was so amazing that I could not wait to hear it again. The big question is if a party game should even worry about that sort of thing. I don’t think it should. The songs fit the style, and that is all it needed to do.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
While Wii Party U will not be winning any “Game of the Year” contests, it does excel as a next generation party game. With over 80 minigames, there will always be something to play, and it does a great job of showing off the new controls of the Wii U, GamePad, and Wii Remote Plus controllers. The bundled remote is not bad either. So, if party-style video games excite you, then make sure to pick up Wii Party U.
Pros and Cons
+ Fun for everyone.
+ Games for single-player included, so you can still play on your own.
+ Over 80 minigames.
+ Wii Remote Plus bundled in with the game.
– No online multiplayer.
– Graphics and music are just okay.
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