Review: Wii Party U
By Sean Booker
November 5, 2013 - 18:38
Rating: E (Everyone)
Genre: Mini-Game Collection
Platform: Nintendo WiiU
Much like the Wii before it, the WiiU seems to be a system getting a lot of mini-game collections. Wii Party U continues this trend but ups the value add by including a Wiimote with built-in Motion Plus. That inclusion makes the game worth it if you’re in the market for a new controller since the game costs about $10 more than a controller alone. The game itself is pretty light in terms of meaningful content. There’s a good range of different games to play but most have no lasting value what-so-ever. This game isn’t much fun by yourself but with the right group of people it’s sure to lead to a good time.
The mini-game collection genre is an odd one. On one hand, it allows for a ton of different gameplay experiences but for the most part it can’t invest into anything interesting based on the nature of the ‘mini’ categorization. Wii Party U follows this by offering a huge number of different games to go through but the lasting appeal of each one is very short. There are a couple that will have you returning for another round but for the most part each one of these will get old after a couple of plays. This is Wii Party U’s biggest downfall: it’s great fun the first few times but won’t stick around for very long in your memory.
There are a few mini-games that really do stand out though that all utilize the WiiU’s gamepad or the Wiimotes in some interesting ways. Button Smashers involves you laying down the gamepad and the Wiimote next to each other and having all players holding/releasing specific buttons for as long as possible to create a hand version of Twister. Another great game is Water Runners which involves placing the WiiU’s gamepad on the floor away from the TV and using the Wiimotes as spoons to ‘scoop’ water from the gamepad before you run/walk your way back to the TV to deliver the water. There are a couple other standout games that really capitalize on either the dynamic between the gamepad and the TV (which we would hope to see on the WiiU), between the gamepad and the Wiimotes or a combination of all the them. The downside is that there are only really a handful of games that use these interesting relationships while the majority of the mini-games will only require the use of the Wiimote and the TV - something we, unfortunately, saw plenty of already on the Wii.
This game is at it’s best when you have friends over to play it. Playing with and against your friends will allow for far more fun than anything against computer players. The mini-games are all simple enough that they can be turned on during a party and played casually. However, for most of the games you will need a separate Wiimote Plus for each person to play which can make things pricey. The game also allows you to rank each of the mini-games on a five point scale to help you sort out which ones you remember enjoying. You can also look at the online rankings to see what other players prefer. It’s disappointing though that the personal rankings are buried in the menus a bit, it would have been nicer to have a quick access button on the main page so I could get to my favorite games easily. Another downside is the lack of any online leaderboards with your WiiU friends or friend specific game rankings. The game offers some online information but not any that you would really care about.
Wii Party U is exactly what you would expect from a mini-game collection. It’s appeal is cute and fun but it’s a fleeting experience. You will play the game a few times (not recommended ever by yourself) but once you’ve seen each game you most likely won’t return. It would have been nice to see a lot more interesting uses for the dual-screens and different control combinations. In comparison to better mini-game collections like Game & Wario, this game ends up being quite forgettable. Wii Party U doesn’t give enough good reasons as to why it’s on this system but if you’re in the market for a Wiimote Plus then this $10 add-on is a no brainer.
Review: Wii Party U