30 Great Games: Winter Fun Review


It’s time to look at the latest installment in the 30 Great Games series. The franchise has definitely not been known for its high quality standards or anything like that but when I see it in stores I can’t help but give it a shot. Party games are just nice to give a look at even if you know they won’t be very good. This game clearly had some effort put into it but being on the Wii didn’t help matters. The motion controls are just terrible heavily hold the title back. Even the games with the best of ideas ultimately aren’t able to do anything to save themselves.

When you get into the game you can see right away that there aren’t a lot of options. I’ll just defend the game here as in a party game you really only need two options, a main party mode and a minigame mode with friends. This title has both of those so it doesn’t technically need any more than that. So long as the games are fun then this isn’t a problem. There are 5 worlds and each one has 6 games. The idea is to clear them all and you will have played 30 “great” games. That’s not a bad approach right? Well, the game fumbles the ball on the execution a bit. How it should work is you just beat all of the worlds one at a time. Instead the game has you replay them.

When you first enter a world it only has 5 games. You have to complete the world once and then complete it a second time to play the 6th game. When you beat the first 3 worlds twice then you unlock the next world and the games that accompany it. This is an awful lot of replaying for a game like this though. You really just want to go through the worlds once. It’s better than in another Wii party game I played though where they had a bunch of different worlds but they kept re-using the minigames to pad out the length. This is still better than that.

The game has a winter theme so naturally all of the games follow that path as well. They can be pretty similar but I’ll quickly mention some of the games that weren’t that bad. One that I enjoyed was trying to climb down a mountain. The idea is you let go of the rope and free fall for a few seconds but then you have to grab again or you’ll plummet to your doom and waste a lot of time. If you land on ice that will also waste some time. Then you’re got a minigame where you have to try and sink your claws into the mountain as close to the edge as possible without falling over. It’s pretty fun to see how close you can get. We even get a Bomberman type game where you have to drill through and blow up some blocks as you try to get treasure. While I like the idea, I don’t like the fact that this game is 100% RNG. You never know if you’ll get treasure or a bear.

The worst games are easily the ones that have you racing. Whether you’re snowboarding down the trails or using skiis, these games just aren’t fun. They suffer the most from the motion controls. You’ll find yourself bumping into the edges quite a lot and the computers will just leave you in the dust. It’s no coincidence that the best games in the collection used minimal motion controls. I can’t stress enough that this could have actually been a pretty good game if it had been for a different console. Imagine it on the Gamecube with a solid set of controls. It actually might have been pretty fun because I did appreciate the creativity behind some of the games.

The graphics for the game aren’t honestly all that terrible. This looks like a reasonable party game if you just take a look at the graphics. The levels and minigames all appear very clear and the character models are good as well. I had no complaints in this area. The soundtrack on the other hand is basically nonexistent. I can’t think of a single theme in the game. They’re all very forgettable so hopefully you are too engaged in the activities to notice this too much.

In terms of replay value it will completely depend on how much you like the actual minigames. There are literally no other options for things to do outside of that. You just play the minigames and try your best to see why this game had potential. If the game were to explain its minigames better the first time around and didn’t use motion controls then this could be a very different review. Part of the problem that I didn’t go into earlier is aside from the minigames having terrible controls, the rules aren’t explained very well either. Usually you won’t win a minigame the first time around because you just aren’t really sure of how to play it.

As a little aside, the game did have a fun start though. Nobody could cross the goal in time so we timed out. Keep in mind that I was playing by myself so the other 3 players were A.I. and they couldn’t win either. I think that speaks to the overall game design because there’s no way that should ever happen. After that first level the A.I. went back to normal and started clobbering me though so it was a one time thing. I thought it was pretty funny though.

Overall, This is one title you should avoid. I wouldn’t say it’s the worst game in the series which is kind of sad in itself, but it’s just not a good game. Even though the going price is only around 2-5 dollars there is no reason to buy this game. There are far better titles to be obtained in the same genre or even in any other genre. You’d need to be really desperate to pull the trigger on this one and if you do just be prepared for those motion controls. Some of the games have good ideas at least. I think if you play this with a few friends with the intent to have fun it can certainly happen. Since this is a party game maybe it still ends up succeeding in its objective even if in an ironic way.

Overall 4/10

Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade Review


It’s been quite a while since I’ve played a low budget party game but it was time to finally do so again with this title. 30 Great Games is actually a series that also had an installment on the Wii. That one was not particularly good and the same can be said for this one. There are some decent mini games thrown in of course, but they’re surrounded by poor game design and odd decisions on how they are structured. You won’t be sticking with this game for very long.

As the title suggests there are 30 different mini games to choose from here. Some of them are pretty solid while others leave much to be desired. If you just look at the games you would probably expect this game to actually be pretty decent. They aren’t as overly long as in other party games and there are actually good ideas here that I would like to see Mario Party incorporate. If the game could have just put a little more effort into the other parts then it could have been good.

Where the game messes up is in every other area. For starters the only modes in the game are the free play mode and the main campaign option where you unlock all of the mini games. Free play is self explanatory and works well. The main campaign has issues though. There are 6 worlds and each one has 5 levels. That would have been straightforward enough but then you have to get through the 5 Gamepad levels as well and there aren’t many of those so prepare to face the same mini games over and over again. This is definitely a case of quick padding to extend the game despite the lack of content. Think about it, for every world to have 10 levels we would need 50, but since there are only 30 that means you need to keep on replaying quite a lot. Throwing away the Gamepad levels or simply including them once would have been much better. It would have been a proper campaign even if it was rather short.

As for the controls, they aren’t particularly good. Part of the point of the Wii U was to finally get rid of the motion controls so we could go back to proper gaming. Unfortunately this game didn’t get the memo. Wii Remotes are actually mandatory and you very rarely get to use the Gamepad. The game can’t even decide on what control scheme it really wants so you are forced to keep on changing depending on the minigame that has been queued up next. This means that you have to have the Wii Remote and Gamepad on the entire time which is a huge waste of battery power.

I wouldn’t say that the graphics are anything to write home about either. It looks pretty standard and I’ve seen some N64 games with more heart. Forget about a soundtrack as well. There are unlockables here and it is a party game so I suppose we do have replay value. It’s not done in a very organic way though. You can’t even play the final 2 worlds unless you beat the first 3 multiple times. I don’t really get the purpose of this except to annoy the players. Why lock the final levels behind this extra grind? It just isn’t right.

I guess we should talk about some of the minigames though. One of the ones that I did enjoy is where you have to walk around a log that is constantly shaking. While you attempt to do so the other 3 players will try to hit you with cannonballs. You can block with your shield, but you can’t move while you are blocking with is definitely a tough tradeoff. You have to go slowly but surely as you wrestle your way through the stage and it is not easy. Then you’ve got a level where you try to run over 3 players who are hiding in the dark. The 1 vs 3 games were just the most fun even if they didn’t always feel very balanced. The 3 have the edge in most of them.

There’s a free for all minigame where you have to jump over hurdles and sprint to the end. This one’s pretty fun and doesn’t really have any gimmicks. It’s just about going fast. Then there are various reaction games where you have to press the combo on screen before anyone else does. You do this for a few rounds and then the points will determine who won the battle. These are all solid and I can’t say that there were any minigames that were bad. The worst ones are really just hurt because of the motion controls. For example there was a jumping one where I couldn’t get the remote to let me jump sideways. Likewise there was another one about moving sideways and my guy wouldn’t budge. Take that away and those games would be a lot of fun.

Overall, This is not a party game that I would recommend. I would consider it to be one of the worst ones. At least the Wii party games have a good excuse since they were forced onto the console and needed to use the motion controls. This one just chose to do so for some reason and that was not the best decision. I’ll always stand by the fact that motion controls will always be worse than the standard ones and so I’m glad that they’ve been phased out. If you want a good party game to play through then I’d suggest picking something a lot more mainstream like Mario Party. You want a game like that which will last a while as well as give you a good journey along the way.

Overall 3/10