The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Like taking your kid to an amusement park or going on a
cruise, Wii Party U is more fun in theory than in practice. As the name
suggests, this is a 50/50 mix of Wii Sports and Mario Party, and is just as
simplistic and slight as you'd expect.
So, yet another minigame collection from Nintendo, which
already packed Nintendo Land in with the deluxe version of the Wii U. Sadly, it
does even less to convince me that the Wii U GamePad is ever going to be good
for anything. It's pretty telling that Wii Party U comes packaged with a
Wii remote; if you're still bundling your last system's controller with games
for your new system, something is wrong. Even an interesting mode that uses the
GamePad for tabletop two-player action falls flat.
The games themselves are all fairly boring. Use the GamePad to
fling life preservers at the other players. Press a button to chop a falling
log or catch a falling watermelon. Play a variation on "memory." Out of the
dozens I played, only a handful are clever. Many are as simple as WarioWare
games, minus that series' manic, absurdist humor. They also fall into the
uncomfortable niche of being boring for adults, but too saddled with wonky
controls and difficult elements to be enjoyed by younger children.
You can access many of these a la carte, but to really get the
full effect you have to engage in one of the overly long Mario Party-style
board games, which are deadly dull and completely down to random chance. In
last place? Don't worry; the game will find some arbitrary reason to vault you
ahead of your competitors by the end (or, frustratingly, vice versa). The best
example revolved around collecting clothes to form outfits (ninja, Mario,
cowboy, etc) and then have them judged in a fashion show at the end of the
Wii Party U is meant to be played in a group of
four, if only to have more people to talk to while you grind through an hour-plus
board game session. Still, that means you need two Wii remotes in addition to
the one in the box and your GamePad - another $60 to $80 dollars down the
drain if you don't already have them. Or you could buy any one of a hundred fun
casual games for iOS, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, or Steam. Most of
them won't be over $5; many will be free. This party's slight amusements aren't
worth the cover charge.
Email the author Matt Helgeson, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.