Play Time 1h 17m
Score Attack 183
Marathon Mode 2856
Play Time 1h 17m
Score Attack 183
Marathon Mode 2856
A lot of people may not remember this but at one point Pac-Man was a global icon and had the most popular game of all time. He’s been largely abandoned in the gaming world but has still obtained a solid collection of games. Pac Man Party is one of the last ones that I needed to get and I can confirm that it was worth the wait. This is a game that’s a blast and a half to play as long as you’re playing with friends. The story mode is more on the weak side. It’s a step above most party games but falls far short of Mario Party. That series will continue to be known as the best and at this point I don’t see anything passing it anytime soon.
The basic story is that someone has stolen Mr. Cookie’s prized recipe of how to make the cookies. He begs Pac Man for help on this. The hero agrees to help of course and quickly figures out that the ghosts have taken the recipe. He asks them politely to give it up but they refuse. The only way they will give it up is if Pac-Man defeats them in various rounds of the cookie game. Pac will have to play hard to win this match, but will the ghosts really end up keeping their word? It’s going to be tricky.
The story at least shows that Pac is still a guy you can count on. He’s going to a lot of trouble to get the recipe back. He has to deal with some powerful monsters as well as each of the 5 worlds has a boss creature at the end to defeat. These range from the Kraken to giant mechanical bears. One thing’s for sure, Pac-Man can’t let his guard down. The ending of the game goes in a pretty interesting way that’s sort of wholesome even if it’s not what you may have been hoping for. It’s not particularly long at around 5 hours so you shouldn’t have a problem beating the game. Pac-Man Party is also unique in that the story will end whether you win or lose. There will just be a slightly different cutscene that ends up playing in that circumstance.
How the game works is the 4 players start out on the board. They roll the dice using minigames rather than just hitting the dice. This lets you go across the board. If you land on an empty space then you automatically build a castle there. If you land on someone else’s castle then a minigame starts. If you win then you take the castle and if you lose then you have to pay the winner in cookies. The amount varies on the level of the castle. You win the overall match by earning a certain amount of cookies (Usually 12,000) and then making it back to the starting point. The maps are all circular so you keep looping around until you have the cookies. The best way to earn cookies is to have a lot of castles and then have the computers challenge you. Of course, you have to actually win the minigame or you could go from having 5 castles to 0 in a single minigame.
The A.I. is actually pretty good in some of the games. It’s interesting because in some games they are excellent and in others they are pretty terrible. Maybe the programmers had a hard time making them good without being OP in those so they just left it at them being pretty weak. Still, as the game goes on they should give you a pretty good challenge. Each player has a few super cookies at their disposal. You start out with 3 and can earn more. If you use them during a minigame they amp you up and greatly increase your chances of winning.
I highly recommend saving these for battles where you are defending a castle since those are the most lucrative battles. You will find yourself wishing you had kept a few on hand if you spend them all early on. When a computer is attacking another computer’s castle, don’t bother with the cookies. Win or lose you don’t earn any points so it doesn’t matter much. Your only consolation is you get a super cookie for coming in first so using one to get one wouldn’t make sense. The main problem with this system is that the battles can take a while. Keep in mind that the story took 5 hours and there are only 5 stages in the game. That puts each map at about an hour which is pretty crazy for a Mario Party setup. There should be a specified amount of turns or an easier way to get points. There was one world where I got enough points right after I passed the start spot so I had to wait another full lap to win. As the games goes on you get more battles per turn so it took forever to make it. I don’t think that’s particularly good game design. It reminds me of PS All Stars, it had a unique gimmick but the gimmick just wasn’t good.
There are a lot of minigames so I’ll just quickly talk about some of the highlights. You’ve got a classic jumping minigame where you have to time your jumps as a giant hammer is trying to swing away at you. This one’s all about timing and makes for a nice competitive battle. You’ve also got the classic minigame where you’re on a ball and have to try to roll everyone off the mountain. As the game goes on parts of the ground will begin collapsing as well so you definitely have to stay sharp. There’s another minigame where you’re in a soda cup and have to get to the top. As you’d expect a great deal of the minigames are food related. That does help to distinguish the games from most party titles since they don’t deal with food as much.
The graphics are pretty nice though. This is a very good looking Wii game that holds up well to today. The character designs are on point and I like the level layouts as well. The minigames have a large variety of backgrounds and themes. I feel like a good amount of budget was actually put into this game. The music’s more forgettable but I suppose that’s to be expected. There’s also a good amount of replay value to work towards as the game has its own built in challenge system. If you clear all of the challenges then you’ll feel pride and satisfaction. I got a few but wasn’t about to go in again to get the rest.
Overall, Pac-Man Party is a fun party game. At its core that’s where you’ll find the most enjoyment. This kind of game definitely doesn’t seem like it was really made with story mode as the main focus so if anything I’m just glad it has one. A lot of party games don’t have a full story so that’s pretty nice. There’s also a good variety of minigames so you’ll rarely if ever play the same one twice in a battle. A lot of them do feel pretty much ripped out of the Mario Party series but I suppose at this point almost every kind of minigame has been done. At least the execution isn’t bad considering this is on the Wii so we have some motion controls. A lot of the games use the Wii Remote sideways so it feels more traditional. I’d actually say that most of the minigames are downright fun. The only one I disliked was curling since as always that minigame feels like it takes way too long. If you want to enjoy a solid party game I’d check this one out.
Play Time 5h
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.
Play Time 1h 13m
Bronze Medals 3
Silver Medals 0
Gold Medals 0
It’s time to look at one of the games I got for my Birthday. This one was definitely a very short one though. The gameplay is actually solid with fun visuals and such, but the whole experience will only last you around 30 minutes. No matter how high budget the game is it’s hard to do much with 30 minutes. I’d like to see the developers give this one another shot with a bigger budget.
The plot of the game is pretty straightforward. Pinkie Pie’s birthday is coming up so the other ponies have decided to get her a lot of gifts and such. Unfortunately they’ve lost them all so now Pinkie Pie has to ironically track them all down herself. Can she save her own birthday and prove that finding the gifts can be just as fulfilling as receiving them all? Then we can really just settle down and enjoy all the nice snacks.
I figured that getting a birthday game on my birthday was pretty fitting. This is a game I’ve known about for a long while, but I wouldn’t exactly go out of my way to grab it. It’s not exactly known as a AAA title so right from the jump you know not to get your expectations too high. It was a bit of a blind buy as I didn’t know exactly what to expect. The gameplay mainly has you walk around from area to area as you tap on any presents of puzzle pieces you come across on your journey. Once you have obtained them all then the game ends. Most of the items are just lying around. Once you’ve found those then you have to talk to the other Ponies and they will give you a present upon clearing one of their mini games.
The minigames are all very short and you shouldn’t have a problem completing them. Some are titles where you can’t lose and others try to at least make things a little more challenging for you. They aren’t quite as inspired as the Mario Party minigames though and you probably won’t be tempted to try them a second time. It’s not like there are any high scores to try and improve so the replay value just simply isn’t there. There are a number of things you can do instead but if you really like the games you can replay any of them at any time. The Hub world is fairly short which is good because the map only helps you out for one gift at a time so you’ll be running back and forth a lot.
The graphics are surprisingly good all things considered. The character designs are on point and the backgrounds are sharp. This is probably the most impressive element of the game and I’m actually a little surprised that such effort was included. It doesn’t feel like the rest of the game was taken as seriously. The soundtrack is also incredibly limited which doesn’t help matters either. At least it is a game that is nice to look at which is good. If the game could have even just thrown in an extra hour or two of gameplay then that could have really changed things.
Overall, as mentioned, the game is around 30 minutes long. There is no replay value as you had to collect everything to trigger the ending so that hurts a bit. The actual gameplay is fun, but with such a length there’s no way I could give it a positive score. The best I could do was give it a middle of the road number. If you see the game down the block for a few bucks then you may as well get it. For 15 or up it is really not worth it. You could buy some food combos that would last longer than this game. Even long time fans of the series will likely feel underwhelmed. I think the only way this one works is if you’re buying it for a very young kid who is an MLP fan, but even then I would make the case that there are better games that can be purchased.
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.
PS3 Trophies 19/45
Character costumes 4/8
It’s time to look at an old party game I have for the PS3. Oddly enough, even though I played the games back in the day I never bothered to actually upload it to the site or anything. Well, it was a good excuse to go back and replay the game for the review, but unfortunately it isn’t as good as I remembered it and I already knew that it was a bad game. I dare say that this could be the worst party game of them all and that’s saying something. At the very least it gives the bottom tier ones some competition.
There are 5 minigames total. That’s already a pretty sad number when you consider that this is a PS3 game. I mean, you could have a little excuse for this if it was for an older system, but for the PS3 I expect more. There is nothing else to do in this game so if you’re looking for some good replay value look elsewhere. I mean, I suppose you could go after the Platinum trophy, but you’ll have to sink in a decent amount of hours for that and with how many luck based trophies there are it could be a while. I think you can cheese most of them through two player mode if it helps. You will also be gathering some Potato Head costumes along the way which I guess should be interesting.
Lets look at the actual games though as a party title lives or dies on those. We’ll start with 2 of the good ones. The first is Twister. It’s pretty self explanatory except they misspelled Dance Dance Revolution. After all this Twister game is nothing like Twister. You hit the right buttons as they pass the screen. It’s the exact gameplay of a DDR game, but without having to actually dance and hit the buttons yourself. It’s an easier way of doing it, but less engaging. Still, on its own I actually like this minigame. There was a reasonable amount of effort put behind it and the core gameplay is just fun. Not to mention that there is less waiting on this one since I believe each player tries to match the notes simultaneously.
The next minigame is Yahtzee. This one must be easy to develop or something since it seems to be the old standby for pretty much all of the party games on the block. Well, that’s not a bad thing I suppose since the gameplay isn’t half bad. The problem is that they add a Hands Down! mechanic where you have to get a certain combo and then fight someone with the same one. I don’t get the point of this and it just takes away some of the fun. It drags the games out more than they should be since it forces everyone to keep going until 2 people have the exact card combination. Of course dragging things out is exactly what this game likes to do as you’ll see in the next 3 games.
Next up we have got Mouse Trap which is basically a movie. You roll the dice and move through the board that has no ending. The goal is to pick up a lot of cheese which you get by landing on a cheese spot. Thing is, you can’t control anything except for dodging some traps by pressing x at the right time. Beyond that, you just follow the dice and keep on rolling until you get your cheese. This can take over 15 minutes, likely longer if you play multiplayer. The problem is that the cheese traps take your cheese away and the odds of getting a lucky roll to land on the cheese 6 times is quite low. At least, it’s low if you want to finish at a reasonable time. I think my problem with this is that you aren’t really doing anything so is it really a game at that point? It’s 100% luck and that’s not cool. There is absolutely no point to the game and it takes too long to finish. Making it more interactive would have helped a lot.
Life falls into the same traps. This one has you on a long, straight board without any real mixups or elements to make it interesting. You want to retire and whoever does so first wins. So, to do that you spin the dice and watch where the road takes you. You do get some slight options like choosing 3 cards out of 9 but they are all random so you can’t see what it is anyway and then you pick your favorite card which will give you some effects. You won’t know which effect you’ll be getting though since you have to wait until you roll the dice for that. Everything is just so random and nothing is explained properly. It’s another really boring auto game where nothing is happening.
Finally we have Clue. This one is a slight improvement over the last 2 but not by much. At least you are trying to solve a case and you can choose in what direction you move. On the other hand, a lot of time is wasted for the many special effects that happen every turn. Whenever someone turns on the lights we get a cutscene and either a suspect is eliminated or one of the players will lose a turn. Either way it takes up time and if someone rolls a house party effect then everyone is reset back to their original positions. This is the longest cutscene by far as it’s almost a full minute and the computer activated it multiple times during our encounter. The minigame is pretty faithful to the board game, but it’s nowhere near as fun.
Family Game Night just didn’t realize how to make the board games fun in video game format and that is the big problem here. The game could and should have been a lot of fun, but instead it is just too drawn out. There are also loading times between every game that take up a lot of time. It’s the same cutscene for each loading time as well which doesn’t help matters. Each game also gets an unskippable intro that isn’t as amusing as it seems to think it is. The game is definitely not optimized.
As far as the graphics go, it’s certainly not PS3 level. I doubt that a lot of serious effort was put into this game. It was probably slapped together very quickly and rushed out to stores for the $$$. Hopefully it didn’t work as I can’t imagine buying it for full price and then realizing how terrible it was. At least Game Night 4 heavily improved upon this game but there is still no excuse for starting out this badly. At least give us a good soundtrack!
Overall, This game is brutal. I’m not going to mince words here, the game is terrible! There’s no heart behind the game and the actual game selection is bizarre. You shouldn’t have 3/5 of the games be all about rolling the dice and hoping that you get the right number. It probably saves on production costs since the games are so similar, but it’s not great from a player perspective. There won’t be any point where you are actually enjoying this game enough to justify buying it. I highly recommend avoiding it and if you want a decent party game check out the Mario Party series. That one gets in a proper balance of skill and luck while also making sure that no minigame overstays its welcome. That’s how you make a party game.
All other weapons 4/16