This time, the prank's on you.
A bucket of water poised menacingly above the door, once triggered, will fall and bathe its target in an icy, unexpected wash of embarrassment. This prank and most others involve elements of surprise and shame. Players who purchase Oops! Prank Party are in for quite the prank, but as you may have guessed, not in the way the developers may have intended.
What Prank Party thinks is a grin, is actually an uncomfortable grimace. The game revolves around a collection of mini-games, with players facing off against one another in an effort to out-prank their competitors. Now, what the game considers a prank is that the in-game avatar of the loser will possibly have to wear a silly costume. That is it, the core concept of Oops! Prank Party is that your character may have to wear a kimono, or a chicken suit. As one can imagine, this is a poor motivator to act as the game's driving force.
Oops! Prank Party offers up several modes in which to play its 100 mini-games. Players can face off in a series of games against an AI 'game master', or play with up to three friends in the free mode and the board mode. None of these modes feel very robust, with the free mode and game master challenges just being slightly different ways to get to the same games. Board game mode comes the closest to feeling like an enjoyable party game experience, but the boards are so bland, and so much is left up to chance that it is easy to lose interest. Imagine the look on a friend's face then, as they attempt to enjoy a game of Oops! Prank Party with you. You have just finished a series of minigames, the first one involving shaking the Wii Remote violently to eat corn rapidly, but they unfairly lost because their motions weren't detected properly, and the second involving picking a chair at random, with the winner being the person who chose the "correct" chair. Unsurprisingly, your guest is not amused when their character is then forced to wear a purple leotard. Not only have they been punished for the game's bad motion detection or elementary-school level of game design, they now have to suffer the tedium of having the game laugh at the "prank" happening on screen.
Indeed, Oops! Prank Party feels as if it were manufactured to convince the player that what he or she is experiencing is fun. Mind you, many games go about this simply by actually being an enjoyable experience. Instead, Prank Party feels like a bad sitcom, using cheesy music and a seemingly unending laugh track to constantly reinforce the idea that there's no way someone could play this game without grinning from ear to ear.
"One more game," I said, "I have to review this, you know." The third game in the series revolved around picking a diving board, with the winner being the person who chose the "correct" diving board. Sound familiar? In fact, most mini-games are replicated multiple times within Prank Party, one particular game type recurs no less than six times, and they're often something you wouldn't want to experience again in the first place. This is partially due to the flawed controls.
In games that require the player to perform a repetitive motion rapidly, there is often difficulty detecting the player's movements. Some games are centered around timing, but don't have a consistent feel for when or what motion it takes to perform the necessary action, and do not let the player practice before a mini-game that hinges on the perfectly timed use of said action. One game feels as if there is no connection between the player's input and what happens on screen, and oddly enough the game's description reads, "The controls are a little tricky, but give it your best!" The repetition across game types only serves to highlight the recurring flaws with each of the mini-games.
To use another analogy, playing Prank Party with multiple players is akin to listening to a family member at the Thanksgiving table tell a horrible story that only they find hilarious, while everyone else in the room cringes as they detail the mishaps of their most recent colonoscopy.
There is no meta game surrounding Prank Party's minigames, there are no real goals to work towards, and by and large the games are either broken, boring, or both. The game itself seems like more of a prank, or just a severe miscalculation of what the gaming populace would actually enjoy. Oops!