Wii

North America

Family Party: 30 Great Games

by Michael Cole - February 7, 2009, 7:28 pm PST
Total comments: 12

2

Riddled with torturous, repetitive controls, this budget mini-game collection is the antithesis of a fun party game.

The Wii is generally regarded as a good system for party games. The strong North American sales of Wario Ware Smooth Moves, Mario Party 8, and Carnival Games have established as much. Family Party: 30 Great Games—a rebranding of the Wii party game entry in the Simple series —is targeted squarely at the Wii's expanded audience, but falters with its incoherent controls, dismal variety, and mismatched presentation.

A bare-bones collection of four-player games using only the Wii Remote, this release is a waggle-fest at its worst. The majority of mini-games involve shaking or pulling the remote in one or more directions, often in a very forced and arbitrary manner. For example, in The Obstacle Race you must shake the Wii Remote quickly up and down to run while also timing jumps over hurdles with the A button, occasionally switching to an in-and-out motion while holding A and B to crawl under mesh nets. Rapidly moving the remote while pushing buttons is already difficult enough to execute, yet this game is also very particular about timing its muddy controls to very poor visual cues. Perhaps the worst culprit of poor user feedback is The Sky Swing, in which you must make your way across a cavern by jumping from trapeze swings, grabbing each computer character's hands "when you are close to your partner." However, the game fails to convey what you are doing wrong, resulting in repeated failure and cursing until you're saved by the clock.

That isn't all, though. In an unwelcome attempt at extending the game's life, a third of the mini-games are initially inaccessible. To unlock them all, you must suffer through the single player challenge mode and garner first place overall in each of its fatiguing and frustrating mini-game sets. If you are patient and determined enough, you will be rewarded with a more tolerable and varied, though still fairly redundant, collection of shooting galleries and other game types. The computer opponents are unnaturally good at some games, so if you're bad at (or can't figure out the controls to) a few in the same set, unlocking them all is a daunting task.

Once a game is unlocked, it can be selected in the multiplayer battle mode. You can hand-pick one or a series of games, or opt for a random selection. Assuming you avoid the worst games, the multiplayer mode is less agonizing but still woefully mundane. Many of the mini-games feel similar to each other, and in very few do you directly interact with your opponents. As in Mario Party, AI opponents will flesh out the competition; unlike Mario Party, you cannot set their skill level.

The game's assertion that it is appropriate for families in North America and Europe is also dubious, thanks to its very blasé attitude towards cultural differences. Some mini-game objectives any Japanese person would immediately understand come off as disorienting to westerners. While anime and gymnastics aficionados might know of the vaulting box, I question whether a Grandma in Idaho would recognize it as a familiar activity. And the average American will be bemused when they find themselves weathering an earthquake by balancing on futon mattresses in a tatami room. Also, there is some content that parents might find mildly objectionable, such as a teen girl in a midriff shirt and hot pants. The E10+ ESRB rating (versus CERO's A rating in Japan) accurately reflects American sensibilities regarding what is appropriate for all ages. But hey, at least the unabashedly Japanese presentation gives the game personality.

Despite its claim of greatness, Family Party's mini-games range from abysmal to bland. Many are physically abusive and/or feel redundant; others have moderately interesting ideas but leave much to be desired. This game only offers frustration to those that would try it, and is not worth anyone's time or money.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
6 5 2 3 3 2
Graphics
6

The family member caricatures look somewhat more distinct than the Miis they resemble. The menu has a clean and simple interface. Some of the environments look plain, but others—like the Japanese feudal castle—include interesting details.

Sound
5

The children's anime quality voice samples are a little annoying but appropriate for the visual style, and the music is unobtrusive.

Control
2

In half of the games, straightforward actions are frustratingly difficult to execute thanks to arbitrary gestures and button assignments that are wrist-cripplingly repetitive. The tilt and pointer-based games handle poorly but provide respite for your mistreated fingers and wrist.

Gameplay
3

Imagine all of the Mario Party series' most repetitive button-mashing mini-games rolled into one package, only with more tiring motion controls. Then throw in some generic shooting gallery games, a mandatory and cruel single-player mode, and limited player interaction.

Lastability
3

This game is a poor value at any price. The single player mode is (thankfully)short, but it must be completed to unlock the mini-games with any sort of replay appeal.

Final
2

If you want to scare your family and friends away from gaming as a hobby, this is an excellent choice. While it has some visual appeal and there are a few good mini-game concepts, they are lazily implemented with obtuse and finicky control schemes you must endure just to unlock everything you paid for.

Summary

Pros
  • A few interesting game concepts
  • Plain but effective visual style
Cons
  • Shaking a remote back and forth while hammering buttons is not fun
  • Some games drag on for too long
  • Ten of the games must be unlocked in single player
  • Unclear controls and incomplete instructions
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

I really felt like I was giving this game a hand job most of the time.

KDR_11kFebruary 08, 2009

Is that published by Ubisoft?

No, you'll have to direct your hate mail at D3Publisher for this game.

AVFebruary 08, 2009

you should have given it a 0. your becoming soft.



KDR_11kFebruary 08, 2009

He did say that some of the games were a bit fun.

Yes, a few games have some potential, but are overwhelmed by the bad. Scores of 0 or 1 pretty much are reserved for games that quite literally are broken. A game that receives a 1 has significant bugs (e.g. regular crashes) and/or gameplay mechanics so foobared as to be unworkable. Really bad hit detection in a Final Fight / Streets of Rage clone would be a good example--I'm looking at you, Bebe's Kids.

KDR_11kFebruary 10, 2009

A game that receives a 0 cannot even be started?

UltimatePartyBearFebruary 10, 2009

On a scale of 10, isn't 0 an invalid score?  That would make it an eleven point scale.

KDR_11kFebruary 10, 2009

This scale has half points anyway, the only thing the 10 tells you that that's the highest possible value.

vuduFebruary 10, 2009

... these go to eleven.

Yes, my reviews editor predecessors have talked about the mythical 0, and it is indeed a valid score on our site. However, I don't think we've ever given one before. One one game in the database has received a 1/10. One game. Frankly, it would take a lot of convincing for me to give the OK for a zero.

KDR_11kFebruary 12, 2009

0 is the score for "box contained bobcat instead of videogame"

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Genre Party/Parlor
Developer Tamsoft
Players1 - 4
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Family Party: 30 Great Games
Release Dec 02, 2008
PublisherD3Publisher
RatingEveryone 10+
jpn: Simple Series Vol. 2: The Party Game
Release Aug 28, 2008
PublisherD3Publisher
RatingAll Ages
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