Wii would like more party games.
If there's one thing that makes traditional gamers groan, it's the glut of party games that have surfaced on the Wii in the wake of Wii Sports. Most new party game releases are mentally written off by gamers at large before they are even reviewed. To be honest, I had low hopes for Go Vacation, especially since it tears the concept of an island resort filled with mini games right out of Nintendo's hands.
Perhaps that is why it struck me as somewhat promising in a, "I'd play this if I were a kid," kind of way. From what Namco showed me, Go Vacation adds to the Wii _____ formula by tying mini-games together with an open world mechanic. Players can traverse four large resorts across various terrain types.
In the city resort, players can ride about on a skateboard, take photographs, and initiate mini-games. Tricks performed along the way to an event of choice will contribute to the unlocking of game modes and items. Traversal of the environment appears to be fluid and enjoyable, though the world isn't tied to any sort of continuous narrative. The open world appears to be primarily included as filler, but the ties to unlockables within the game are hopefully enough to make it worthwhile.
The 50 mini games are what Wii gamers will expect from a resort-centric party game. Hang gliding, tennis, scuba diving, volleyball, surfing, sky diving, skiing, snowball fights, whack-a-mole variants, etc. Each mini-game looks to be executed with surprising competency. Some corners are cut for certain sports, for instance there weren't any real physics applied to the hang glider and one could simply soar continuously upward without any assistance.
The unlockable villas are a touted feature. Players can earn the use of a vacation home, that can be decorated using items earned through successful play of the mini games or stylish traversal of the environments. Considering that there isn't any story, or depth to your character for that matter, the need to engage with the world at this level is questionable though.
Go Vacation surprised me. While I would wait until after playing a retail copy to say if I think it is actually a good game, I can say that it appears to have everything one would want from a party game and even a little bit more. This four-player, Motion Plus enabled party game launches soon on the Nintendo Wii.