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

Club Penguin Game Day Review

It’s time to take a look at one of the new WIi games that I got to play. This game was a steal over at Gamestop since it was only a little over a dollar. How can you beat that right? The short answer is…you can’t! This title is very short as you would expect and I’m not even very familiar with the Club Penguin franchise, but it’s easy to enjoy the game anyway. It’s really short so I likely would have been sad buying it for 20, but it’ll give you some fun.

There is a light plot as you decide which group of penguins you want to hang out with. I went with the red team of course since I always go with the red group. Red is such a cool color right? You are tasked with conquering the island by taking over the bases of the other teams. There are a few areas and each one has 4 minigames so the game is fairly short, but still long enough that it doesn’t feel as rushed as your average 1-2 dollar game. The minigames are also quite fun for the most part. I’ll list a few of them (The ones that I remember) to show you just how fun they were.

One of the minigames rips off the Mario Party series as everyone is on top of a ball and you have to knock the other Penguins off of the arena to score a point. Keep on doing so and you will win! This was probably my favorite minigame. It’s a lot of fun and the game has heart. Another fun minigame was the sledding one. You get into a canoe and you have to make it to the goal line as quickly as possible. It’s rather self explanatory.

One minigame that I wasn’t a huge fan of was the sack race. You have to wave the Wii remote around a lot, which does a number on the wrists. I do like races though so there’s always that. We get a snowball fight towards the end of the game, which is fun since it’s like playing a third person version of Call of Duty. It takes a lot of skills and gets quite competitive by the end. There’s also a level for rolling a snowball and you have to grab as much snow as possible to win the match.

There are around 12 minigames and you can see how they are higher quality than the average Wii party game. My only complaint might be that some of them can be a bit long, but they’re still quite fun on the whole. If you don’t have a Mario Party game to play, I could definitely see you deciding to play this title from time to time. There is some replay value as you can beat Story Mode with all 4 colors for maximum personal satisfaction. The game’s short enough that this won’t really feel like an obstacle for you. Sounds like a plan right?

Between the minigames, there is a little free roam through the various areas. With a little more of a budget, I could see some big things happening here. We could have had rival encounters with other Penguins and some bonus minigames with high stakes! As it is, any dialogue is fairly rare and the only real cutscene is the final one of the game as the other Penguins are forced to acknowledge how awesome you are for winning the gold trophies. It was probably the proudest moment of the main character’s life and he’s just getting started with the wins.

The soundtrack is ultra generic and you’ll forget all about it as soon as you turn the console off. That sounds a little sad, but no worries, it beats having bad music right? If you strain yourself, you may remember the main theme of the game as it’s a little catchy. The graphics are decently good. They’re not as bad as they could be, but they’re not exactly at Mario Galaxy levels. They serve their purpose and the game is always nice to look at.

I’m already starting to run out of things to say about this title. There really isn’t much to discuss past the gameplay and the replay value here. The game is 4 players so you can have a blast playing it with friends. I’m not sure how long it can last as entertainment, but hopefully long enough to make you feel like you got your money’s worth. I know that I got mine even though I may only play this game one more time in my immediate future.

Overall, Club Penguin Game Day is another good find in the 5 dollar bargain bin over at Gamestop. With Wii games soon to be discontinued, I had to make my move fast before things could get out of hand. The graphics and soundtrack are decently good and the minigame selection was actually a lot better than I could have expected. It’s hard to recommend buying this game with a straight face since it’s really short and you could just buy Mario Party for the superior experience. That being said, it’s not a bad game by any means and you can buy this instead of a slice of pizza the next time that you find yourself needing some entertainment on a rainy Friday night. This game will not disappoint you there and you will realize the wonders of the Club Penguin world!

Overall 6/10