A ninja, a pirate, a knight, and grandpa walk into a bar and log roll. Who wins?
Mini-game fests are a dime a dozen on Wii. Usually, these games are modestly priced, critically panned, and sell extremely well. Majesco's attempt at taking a piece of this pie is the Go Play series. One of the first two games in the series (the other being Go Play Circus Star), Go Play Lumberjacks proves to be a charming affair that, in the end, doesn't have much gameplay depth or many other redeeming qualities.
Go Play Lumberjacks contains a few different game types, ranging from tree-chopping and climbing to log-rolling. Most of the mini-games devolve into whoever can shake the Wii Remote the fastest, much in the same way that old Mario Party games had mini-games that boiled down to whoever could move the analog stick the fastest. This really cuts down the variety, as the mini-games that involve quickly shaking the Wii Remote are all interchangeable. It doesn't matter whether you're climbing a tree or chopping one down; you're still doing the same action.
One of the other prevalent gameplay mechanics involves following a sequence of button inputs and then chopping with a shake of the Wii Remote. Once again, this method shows up in a few mini-games that all look different, but they don't play any differently from each other because they use the same exact controls.
Some of the mini-games also feature optional Balance Board controls, which contain a lot of the same problems that are rampant in the Wii Remote controls. Instead of shaking the Wii Remote, you shift your weight like a madman. The Balance Board can be used by one player in a multiplayer game, but in the button-input games, the Balance Board user is at a distinct disadvantage because he or she has to use both the Wii Remote and the Balance Board.
When the game gets away from the repetitive control setups, it fares much better. The tilt-based log-rolling game, the rhythm-based limb-cutting one, and the axe-throw shooting galleries are fun and offer a decent amount of variation. However, there is a great degree of disarray amongst the mini-games. Some of the "shake the Wii Remote" mini-games are less than 30 seconds long, while others, such as the limb-cutting game, are upwards of two minutes.
What makes Lumberjacks at all entertaining is its presentation and personality. While it seems somewhat out of place to have a hook-handed pirate, a ninja, and a cowboy in a game about lumberjacks, it is very humorous, especially when the pirate replaces his hook with an axe or the cowboy shoots a chopped log with his pistol. Sadly, you only have four characters at the start, and you only get new characters after you play and unlock every mini-game. The game also features Mii support, but like Mario Kart Wii, the Mii character is not available from the start.
The biggest problem of Go Play Lumberjacks is its crippling lack of gameplay variety. While its presentation and characters are entertaining, there isn't too much else in this game that is. This is a mini-game collection that is better off ignored, as the crowded genre has many better games available on Wii.