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Disney Guilty Party

Become A Master Detective Through Mini-Games
by Phil Kollar on Feb 25, 2010 at 09:40 AM
Platform Wii
Publisher Disney Interactive Studios
Developer Wideload Games
Release Q2 2010
Rating Everyone

With a team that worked on the original Halo and an Xbox cult hit in the form of Stubbs the Zombie, Wideload Games earned high expectations from gamers. When their second release appeared in the form of 2008’s Hail to the Chimp (published by the now-defunct Gamecock Media Group), fans were understandably disappointed. While the quirky sense of humor remained, the unique gameplay from Stubbs was replaced by a series of uninspired mini-games.

Following their recent purchase by Disney, Wideload is back to the mini-game genre with Guilty Party, a mystery game on the Wii. While some may view returning to that territory as a risky move, the team seems out to prove that they can create a worthwhile collection of mini-games.

Wideload vice president Patrick Curry explained that the idea for Guilty Party originally came from the team’s love of mystery games that could be played by the whole family – board games like Clue or Guess Who where everyone from the youngest sibling to the oldest grandparent could gather around a table and solve a mystery. When the team decided that they wanted to pursue this idea, the Wii seemed like the obvious choice. “That’s where the family gathers around to play games now,” Curry explained. As an added bonus, the Wii remote can easily mimic different detective actions, such as dusting for prints, using a magnifying glass, or wielding a flashlight.

Since the focus is on family fun, Guilty Party has numerous multiplayer options. You can play through the story mode solo, but you can also bring along up to three partners for cooperative mystery solving. Each player takes turns exploring locations related to your current investigation. In each location, there will be a set number of clues you can find. To uncover the clue, you’ll need to successfully complete a mini-game.

The handful of mini-games that I played for the tutorial mystery – finding out who ate the Commodore’s pudding -- were very simple and easy to jump into. In one, I dusted a crime scene by waving the Wii remote back and forth across the screen. In another, I had to stare down a potential suspect by following her eye motions carefully. The easiest mini-game, bribing a witness to give me more information, consisted of grabbing money from my characters hand and dropping it into the witness’s hand until there was enough for him to spill the beans. While these were extremely easy, I was also set on the lowest difficulty; the mini-games will get more difficult with each successive mystery and with higher difficulties, and each player can choose their difficulty level individually.

Each of these games earned me a single clue: the culprit has short hair, is a male, and is skinny. Each of those clues could in turn be tested using the game’s simple lie detector feature. By pointing at highlighted portions of a clue, you can test whether the statement is true or false, an ability that helped me discover that the perpetrator was actually fat, not skinny.

Once I had my answer in mind, I had to track down the character in the mansion and accuse him. In this case, I was convinced that the Commodore himself had eaten the pudding, even though he had also tasked me with solving this mystery. After accusing him, the Commodore asked a series of questions attempting to prove his innocence, each of which I had to counter with a piece of evidence I’d collected from the mini-games. Once I laid out my case, the Commodore laughed and replied, “Well, of course I ate the pudding. It’s my pudding.” Case solved!

Whatever your feelings on their use of mini-games, Wideload continues to strike gold with the character design and writing. Even with the family-friendly tone, I found the cutscenes that serve as intros to each mystery thoroughly funny in an absurd, Sam & Max style. Each member of the Dickens family recalls a different stereotypical detective. For example, the Commodore is an older Sherlock Holmes figure, while his grand-daughter Ling-Ling recalls Nancy Drew. Her brother Kid Riddle dresses up as a superhero, coming off as a sloppier version of Robin without a Batman to curb his energetic nature.

The story mode for Guilty Party will feature seven mysteries, each at different locations such as a manor and a cruise ship. Once you finish story mode, you can jump into competitive party mode. Wideload wasn’t showing off party mode yet, but they promised that this mode will mix up random elements, creating a new mystery every time you play. I’m still not convinced that the simple mini-games will leave me wanting to play endless mystery revisions, but if the writing holds up, Guilty Party may be worth checking out just for the goofy dialogue and hilarious characters.

Products In This Article

Disney Guilty Partycover

Disney Guilty Party

Release Date:
Q2 2010