HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – One of Nintendo’s latest Wii U releases aims to get you off the couch and into the action. Wii Party U is the latest in a line of party game collections from the company. The game is a random assortment of minigames that make use of both Wii Remotes and the GamePad in numerous, and usually, intelligent ways.
The game is broken up in to four distinct game modes: TV Party, House Party, GamePad Party, and Minigames. TV Party combines the Mario Party series with the Wii Party like games. Each player will roll dice to move around a board game. At the end of several rolls the players battle in a minigame.
One of these is called Highway Rollers. Instead of everyone getting the same number of dice to roll, the game incentivizes the minigame contests. Whoever wins the minigame gets the right to roll a huge stack of dice. The board is set on a highway in the middle of the ocean. To mix up the action the board has many spots with bonuses that do things like move you 30 spaces ahead or backwards if you are unlucky. TV Party and really every mode are much more enjoyable when played with friends. These types of games are ok by yourself but are always more entertaining when played with good company.
I do have to talk about one other TV Party mode. It’s called Mii Fashion Plaza. It is bizarre. Players move around a board like in Highway Rollers. The board has spaces that correspond to certain costume items: pants, tops, shoes, hats, and full suits. The goal is to complete a matching outfit by the time you reach the starting point again. Players can steal costume items from one another by landing on certain spaces that activate a battle minigame. The battle minigames are the best part of the game. Instead of simply using a Wii Remote one of the players uses the GamePad to take on the other 3 players. It’s very competitive and a unique way to use multiple control styles.
House Party is definitely for those who are looking for a more casual setting. The competition factor is low in this mode. It’s honestly the weakest of the four modes. I enlisted the help of my Dad to give one of the House Party games a try. If this is really a family friendly game, let’s involve the family! The game is called “Water Runners.” In it the players must set the GamePad away from the main action. We set it about 15 feet from the TV. The GamePad displays a stream and the players use Wii Remotes as ladles to scoop up the water and carry it carefully back to the TV to fill a pitcher on-screen. This sounds unique and it definitely is. The only problem? Execution. My Dad used an older Wii Remote with the Wii Motion Plus attachment while I used a Wii Remote with Wii Motion Plus built-in. I found the scooping to be inconsistent. My Dad on the other hand couldn’t get the scooping to work at all. When you are trying to get someone who doesn’t generally play games involved, this can be frustrating. A highlight of House Party is “Name that Face.” In it a player takes a selfie picture using the GamePad’s camera that matches the clue on the GamePad screen. The other 3 players then attempt to guess what your expression means. It’s goofy, and it’s pretty fun.
Minigames is a mode that is dedicated to playing through the many minigames available for play. It also has several different modes. One of them is a single-player dojo mode where the player plays against an increasingly difficult computer in a variety of minigames. You can also just play through the games you like. Here’s an example of the goofy games available to play. In it the four players hold Wii Remotes. Each player looks at the same screen and attempts to “snap a picture” of birds. The player who captures the photo with the highest number of birds wins. For some reason, my friends found this to be the absolute best game on the disc. Who knew? Other games have you waggling your Wii Remote to wind up a rubber band airplane, or counting the number of blue dominos that fall down in a huge chain reaction. If you enjoy the random and absurd there is something for you. It’s also part of the game’s downfall. The developers wanted to include such a large number of modes and minigames that some games just fall flat. Some games simply aren’t fun to play. Finding out which ones are duds, and which ones are winners can be tedious.
The final mode is GamePad Party. It was by far my favorite because it centers around the use of the GamePad. The mode is also for just two players as opposed to the usual 1-4. One of the games is Tabletop Baseball. Two players share the GamePad (looking at it from top to bottom) to play an old time baseball game. Each player controls one control stick and alternates between pitching and hitting. The player simply pulls the stick back to pitch or hit. The pitching is deeper than it sounds because the player can vary the speed or direction of the pitch. I highly recommend it. In fact, Tabletop Baseball may just be the best of them all. That’s just my opinion though! Another in this same style is a Foosball game. It’s not quite as fun as the baseball game but it’s pretty good.
One of the definite selling points of Wii Party U is the inclusion of a Wii Remote Plus. The bonus controller doesn’t push the price of the game higher either. The price is a very consumer friendly $49.99. If you don’t have a Wii Remote Plus or need another, than this game should be very appealing. I want to make sure everyone knows the game does require Wii Remotes with Wii Motion Plus. It is a must. I would say if you don’t plan on playing the game with friends, than it’s not as fun. The game is better with your friends. It is playable with one person but loses some of the charm of beating a buddy in a goofy minigame. Families will enjoy this title as well. I’d say despite having some minigames that at times disappoint, Wii Party U is a title that those who game with friends and family will enjoy.