The Wii had a lot of party games. It started with Wii Sports and continued throughout the lifespan of the console with games like Wii Play, Wii Sports Resort, and many other first and third-party offerings. We are now almost a year into the Wii U’s lifespan and Nintendo has another local multiplayer party game to add to the mix.
Wii Party U, in concept, is very similar to Wii Play. To refresh your memory, Wii Play was one of the most successful Wii games with almost 30 million copies sold worldwide. Most of these sales were thanks to the included Wii Remote, but the game also featured a few standout mini games that warranted the purchase. With Wii Party U, Nintendo has once again chosen to include a controller with the game (a Wii Remote Plus in this case). This almost certainly guarantees its retail success but let’s focus on the fun factor.
Wii Party U has three different modes of play: TV Party, House Party, and GamePad Party. Starting off, TV Party allows players to compete in mini games and board games that focus on the TV. These are the more traditional games that players would come to expect from a Mario Party style game. There are several different styles of play in TV Party but the formula is the same. Each player is competing for high scores as they roll dice and play mini games. TV Party games take about an hour to play through which makes for a fun experience with lots of friends and family. Each mode will tell you how long it will take so players will know up front and can decide how much time they want to play. This factors into the game’s Suggestion feature which I’ll go into later.
The House Party mode has the most unique games. Players will utilize the Wii U GamePad, Wii Remotes, and the TV to perform a bevy of interesting tasks. The Water Runners game, for instance, has players placing the GamePad on a surface far away from the TV. Then, each player has to walk to the GamePad and point their Wii Remote at the GamePad’s screen. The Wii Remotes show up on the screen as spoons which can be dipped in an onscreen river. Once players have water in their spoons, they have to carefully hold their spoon/Wii Remote while walking towards the TV. Once at the TV, they must pour the water from the spoon into a glass jar. It’s a very unique game. It works for the most part, but I did have some difficulty getting the sensor bar on the Wii U GamePad to recognize my movements accurately (there was a lot of direct light that could’ve been interfering). Probably the best mini game in this mode was ‘Sketchy Situation’. It has 3 to 4 players drawing pictures on the GamePad. Only that player knows what they were told to draw. In the end, players must figure out which player was told to draw something different. You’d think it would be easy but the game picks objects that are very similar. Add in the fact there are only 15 seconds to draw and it can become hard to distinguish one players drawing from another.
The GamePad Party mode features games that can only be played on the GamePad itself. Being a baseball fan, I really enjoyed the Tabletop Baseball game. It is very simplistic but it has enough variety to make it enjoyable for a couple play throughs. The Tabletop Gauntlet is also a lot of fun, but there aren’t many levels to keep the experience going. In addition to the Wii Remote Plus, a stand is bundled with Wii Party U that allows the GamePad to sit level on a flat surface. It’s a well designed stand and makes the GamePad-specific games easier to play.
Wii Party U has some more features that help set it apart from other party games. The Suggestion feature is actually really useful. It will ask players a series of questions like ‘how many people are playing?’ and ‘how long do you want to play?’ to narrow down the list of 80 mini games to a more manageable number. This makes it easy to know which games are available for different amounts of players and their time constraints. The game also features a rating system that is maintained from every player around the world. After each mini game, it’ll ask players to rate the mini game. This score then goes into the average score for that game so every player can see it. I think it’ll be a nice way for Nintendo to know which games people are enjoying the most for potential DLC in the future.
My time with Wii Party U was definitely a lot of fun but a majority of the mini games lack depth. I can see myself playing again during the Holidays with family/friends but there aren’t a lot of compelling mini games to come back to replay. Wii Party U is a good party game for a crowd, but the lack of compelling mini games makes it less enjoyable to revisit solo. That being said, if you need another Wii Remote Plus, it’s definitely worth purchasing.
PN Review: Wii Party U
Wii Party U is a good party game for a crowd, but the lack of compelling mini games makes it less enjoyable to revisit solo.
October 23, 2013
Great review Justin. I never played the original Wii Party, but I’ll probably pick this one up eventually.