If Nintendo's Vegas Stakes and Mario Party got together and had a baby, it wouldn't be Vegas Party.
Vegas Party is a game with an interesting concept: combine the appeal of luck-based gambling games, the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, and the fun of board games to make a Wii party game. It's a neat idea that sounds good on paper, but its execution leaves a lot to be desired.
The main game, which is called "The Strip", is the Vegas-themed equivalent of Nintendo's Mario Party series. Up to four players participate in a turn-based board game. Each player rolls the dice andmoves up or down the board according to the number they roll. Each space has an effect, either positive or negative, such as bad luck spaces. The most important of these spaces is the Casino space. When you land on these you are taken to a casino where you choose from three gambling mini-games. Depending on how well you perform in these games, you are awarded tokens. The player with the most tokens at the end of the game wins.
As simple as this sounds, Vegas Party actually has issues explaining to players exactly how it all works. Unlike Mario Party, in which everything is explained to a nearly excruciating level of detail, Vegas Party just tosses players into the game, barely explaining the rules and game mechanics at all. For example, it took me a while to realize that the number on the dice is accumulated to another set of dice numbers. So for example, if you have already rolled a seven and you roll four, you move up 11 spaces on the board. This is a mechanic that the game fails to explain. It doesn't even tell how many turns have passed or how many turns the game lasts, and you can't even alter the game's options or choose how you want to play, or even choose from multiple boards. It's perhaps one of the most limited board games I have ever played.
Worse are the mini-games themselves. Due to the game's four-player nature many of the games, which are designed to be played alone, have been altered to accommodate multiplayer gameplay. An example of this is the Slot Machines mini-game. Instead of allowing the player to bet on each line, all players choose only one line and hope it’s the winning line, taking a game already about luck and making it even harder to win.
The card games, such as Poker, are well-implemented, even if their rules have been dumbed down for casual play. This is more than obvious when played in single play mode. You cannot play them with the traditional rules. You only get 10 games to choose from, meaning that during the board game a lot of gambling games are repeated. In terms of controls, Vegas Party keeps thembasic; pointing the Wii Remote is used for selecting most options, as well as aiming for the darts mini-game. There's also some motion control used for shaking the dice before each turn. Overall, the controls in Vegas Party won't impress, but they don't get in the way either..
Vega's Party's main source of amusement comes from the highly stereotypical characters you can play as on "The Strip". You'll see everything from a completely decked-out rapper to a James Bond wannabe and even the gambling addict old lady. But the enjoyable presentation ends with the characters; the rest of the game looks like it could be a scaled-down WiiWare title, with low-resolution textures and low-polygon models. The only saving grace is that the mini-games actually look like the real games themselves, with authentic-looking cards, roulette wheels, and playing tables.
Vegas Party's music and sound fares much worse. The game barely uses any voice acting, but considering how stereotypical the characters are this could be seen as a good thing. The music, however, is highly generic, failing to capture the fun and excitement of Las Vegas.
Overall, the Wii has much better multiplayer based mini-game collection titles, and you can find better gambling simulators online. Vegas Party fails at both, with gameplay that lacks coherence and proper explanations combined with simplified versions of the games that don't allow the player to play them with real rules. For true Vegas fun, a trip to the actual city is recommended instead.