There is no company more synonomous with party games than Nintendo. Whether they’re hosted by Mario, take place in Wario’s workshop, or feature a plethora of Miis, there’s plenty of mini-game packed software that can be played across a myriad of Nintendo consoles, and the latest is a sequel to the very successful Wii Party. Aptly titled Wii Party U, this game hugely expands on the offerings of its predecessor while providing a greater value to gamers by packaging in a Wii Motion Plus Remote.
There are three major modes featured in Wii Party U, all of which allow for different styles of play depending on how gamers wish to participate and how many people they have with them. These modes are TV Party, House Party, and GamePad Party, and players will find a number of differences in terms of the types of games that can be found within each playlist. All together there are a total of 80 mini-games that can be played; something that WPU isn’t afraid to tout on its packaging.
The first mode, TV Party, will appeal to anyone familiar with the Mario Party franchise because it features a few levels with a board game-style layout that needs to be traversed by rolling dice — of course, there are also ample amounts of mini-games to play through in between turns. All together there are a total of five different areas to play through, with all but one stage allowing solo gamers to play by themselves (instead enlisting CPUs to take the reigns of the other characters). Only three maps feature boards, the other two task players with strategically dropping balls or organizing a soccer team by matching numbers on jerseys. Overall there’s enough variety to keep gamers entertained, albeit ever so briefly.
House Party, on the other hand, has eight different games that players are able to jump into right away. This mode caters exclusively to multiplayer sessions (hence its name), and requires two or three players depending on the game. Most of these bite-sized ventures are actually quite enjoyable, with ‘Name that Face’ standing out as an instant favorite, but a few are some of the most pointless and boring options that can be found in Wii Party U. This is a direct result of a lack of effort from the dev team, something most evident in ‘Water Runners’ — a game that literally tasks players with using their Wii Remotes to dump water into a bucket.
Last but not least, GamePad Party utilizes the Wii U’s unique tablet-like controller and offers a set of unique games to choose from. These titles use either the GamePad’s touchscreen, analogue sticks, triggers, or any combination of the three. Suffice to say, they’re actually a lot of fun for one or two people to play. Working co-operatively or against one another, these particular mini-games are sure to encourage some friendly rivalries and playful insults amongst users.
Since holding the touchscreen controller between two people can understandably be awkward at times, Nintendo has included a convenient little plastic stand in which to keep the GamePad level on flat surfaces. Provided players have some sort of table in between them, certain games become a lot easier to play. The stand is completely optional and players sans coffee table won’t have a hard time playing any of the games otherwise, but it is nice to have for a handful of the titles featured within the party game.
The exclusive games in the House Party and GamePad Party modes are a nice distraction, but the real meat of Wii Party U comes in the form of the mini-games that randomly appear in TV Party. If tearing through an assortment of sporadically selected games doesn’t appeal to Wii U owners, then the ‘Minigames’ option will keep a living room full of friends entertained by allowing users to select the games they wish to play. Some feature single-player use of the GamePad and some focus solely on connected Wii Remotes, but allowing gamers to pick their metaphorical poison allows for some of the standout games to be replayed whenever desired.
Despite offering a plethora of content, Wii Party U is really just a nice little bonus that costs $49.99 and comes packaged with a $39.99 Wii Remote Plus. It’s for this very reason that it’s hard not to recommend the game since it only costs roughly $10 more than the controller — a controller that is, of course, compatible with both Wii and Wii U consoles. If Wii U owners are in the market for a new remote or have a house full of people then this is a no-brainer party game, but anyone looking for a must-have Wii U title can safely overlook Wii Party U.
Wii Party U is available now, exclusively on Nintendo Wii U.
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