Just forget this ever happened.
Promising 30 great games is not a wise idea; many game companies struggle to release one half-way decent game. D3 Publisher set out to deliver a fun, value-priced experience for the Wii U, but came up horrendously short.
Choosing your character illustrates the first of many problems. You enter your own name, but the game calls you a preset name. Though I wasn’t expecting it to audibly say my real name, the screen read “Zack” but the audio would call me names like “Lucius” and “Chano.” Those were based on the few name choices it gave me. This is exacerbated by the annoying game mascot, a bear in a letterman jacket who offers commentary on everything you do. The voice acting is repetitive, and phrases like “dancing into first place” are reused many times, along with mini-games consistently being referred to merely as “this game.”
Immediately upon starting, you are given the choice between Challenge Mode and Freeplay. The only difference: one is a set number of mini-games in a themed zone, and the other is just the mini-games without any restrictions. Challenge Mode consists of multiple Wii Remote mini-games with bonus Wii U GamePad games earned by the winning player in a bonus game. Often, The bonus game is chosen by spinning a wheel, though often the same bonus game is awarded multiple times in one sitting because of the limited choice and random nature of spinning a wheel to pick the game. Not all mini-games are unlocked from the beginning which emphasizes the lack of choices.
Each mini-game presents a new set of issues. The main problem in most games is poor implementation of motion controls. In one game, for example, you shake the remote to ride a horse. Not only could this have easily been accomplished with the D-pad but it also can create pain in your wrist because waggling is required in almost every game. Multiplayer is supported in each game up to four players, and works the same as playing solo with the only real difference being that there are now multiple people sharing in your misery.
Even though 30 games are present none of them offer much in the way of greatness. Each one is devoid of fun, here are a few of the low-lights:
Chancy Crane: Pick out dice with a crane, roll them, and the highest score wins! There is not much gameplay in this one which makes it a prime choice for not being a “Great Game.” Not only that, but poor depth perception due to bad visuals often leaves players attempting to pick up the same dice multiple times.
Flying Teacups: In this game you shake the Wii Remote to power up, then shake again to make a teacup fly in the air in order to collect points. Waggle is a common problem in 30 Great Games, and basing a whole mini-game around this one flawed mechanic cannot be forgiven.
Horse Jump: While waggling to run, players must jump over fences to win. Again, with waggling a central gameplay mechanic, this game is not enjoyable.
Magical Panels: Competitors have to step on all the panels on the floor to win. This mini-game would have been acceptable if it had not gone for a side view. Since this game requires you to look at the floor, a top-down perspective would have made this game less mediocre.
The Wii U GamePad games are sparse and offer little fun. One game called Hide the Joker has the GamePad wielding player moving playing cards around while the other players guess which cards are not the Joker. It is not even remotely interesting.
The visual design is colorful, but beyond that it offers nothing else graphically. Backgrounds are generic, with themes like “western” and “space”, and become sickeningly boring the more you play. Character models are the worst offender, with beady little eyes and clothes that look like they are attached to the avatar’s skin. Medals can be earned in the games, but all they do is add a small icon to high score lists.
Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade is a mess. It makes a promise it can’t keep, assaults your ears with annoying voice acting, and sucks all the fun out of owning a Wii U. It is the coal under the tree that is Wii U.