Game Party Hands-On

We check out a near-finished version of Midway's upcoming social-games collection for the Wii.

Currently scheduled for release early next month, Game Party from Midway is a collection of seven different social games from around the world. The games are all played by using the Wii Remote to perform actions similar to those you would make when playing them in real-life, and they include darts, air hockey, shuffleboard, hoop shot, skill ball, ping cup, and a trivia challenge. We recently had a chance to spend some quality time with a near-finished version of Game Party and, although the quality and difficulty of the games vary quite significantly, we had some fun with it.

Most of the social games in Game Party support either two or four players and, in keeping with the real games that they attempt to emulate, most are turn-based. As you play the games, you'll earn tickets in the same way that you might at a carnival, and those tickets unlock additional Mii-like characters for you to play as. The differences between the playable characters are purely aesthetic, and although a lot of them (there are well over 100) really amount to little more than interchangeable heads and outfits, there are also some more unique characters such as a ninja and a cowboy. We'll tackle the games one at a time:

Air Hockey takes a little getting used to because, unlike most of the games in the Game Party collection, it isn't played from the perspective of your chosen character. Instead, you'll be viewing the table from the side and simply pointing the Wii Remote wherever you'd like your hand to move. The first player to score seven goals is the winner.

Air Hockey is somewhat unique in Game Party in that it isn't turn-based in multiplayer.

Darts is undoubtedly one of the more difficult games. Gameplay options include shooting for high scores as well as the usual 301 and 501 variants of the sport. The controls look simple enough on paper, but in practice they're quite tricky. After using the Wii Remote to point at the area of the board that you want to hit, you press the A button to lock your targeting reticule there and then, while holding the Remote as if it were a dart, you make a throwing motion. It's difficult to get the strength and the trajectory of your throw right, and even the darts that don't fly off the screen and miss the board by a mile have a nasty habit of bouncing off the board's wires.

Hoop Shot, in which you repeatedly throw basketballs at a hoop positioned just a few feet away for one minute, is one of the easiest games on offer here. You make a simple throwing motion with the Wii Remote and, because the distance between you and the target never changes, you simply need to replicate the exact same motion over and over again once you find your range.

Ping Cup is similar to a game that you may know as beer pong, though this version is strictly alcohol-free. Cups are arranged in a triangle at one end of a table, and you have to land a ping-pong ball in one of the cups from the other end. Bonus points are given for balls that bounce before finding their way into a cup, and also for landing balls in cups on consecutive attempts. The controls are similar to those used in the Party Games version of Darts, though the throwing motion is underarm rather than overarm.

Shuffleboard, for those of you who aren't familiar with it, is a game in which two players attempt to slide metal pucks across a lengthy table and stop them as close to the far end as possible. Each player has four pucks, and if thrown hard enough when thrusting the Wii Remote forward, they can be used to knock the opponent's pucks off the table completely. Shuffleboard is our favorite Game Party game right now, although some of the artificial-intelligence opponents are merciless and are never made to take the first turn, even when they're winning.

Shuffleboard is one of the better games on offer, even if the crowd does look miserable.

Skill Ball, which you probably know as skii ball, is a carnival game in which you roll heavy wooden balls up a chute with a ramp at the end of it. The ramp launches the ball into the air toward a series of holes that are worth different amounts of points when your ball lands in them. For example, the hole that you're more or less guaranteed to land in is worth 10 points, whereas more difficult holes are worth 20, 50, or 100 points. If you've played Wii Sports Bowling, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the controls.

Trivia is a slightly strange inclusion in the Game Party collection, but not necessarily a bad one. You perform a sharp downward motion with the Wii Remote to spin a wheel with six different question categories on it, and then you point at whichever of the four possible answers you think is correct. Categories include the stuff you'd expect, such as sports, music, movies, and general knowledge.

Expect a full review of Game Party in the not-too-distant future.

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Discussion

20 comments
Smoolander
Smoolander

1. Copy Wii Sports 2. Use inferior game types 3. Implement controls poorly The Wii does not need more sub standard stuff like this

aushej
aushej

Hmm.. I'll buy it if it has a wiimote inside .. LOL

ninjarat
ninjarat

Might be alright for a drunken evenings entertainment.

the_undisturbed
the_undisturbed

i like how the crowd is just brain dead with no emotion :) and also how theres only 7 different social games :) ... i hope nobody buys this game >.>

Sk8nNotH8n
Sk8nNotH8n

Stop with the casual cash ins!!! This sucks sooooooooooo bad. :[

ntnimara
ntnimara

good idea.. maybe lacking a good application.. keep coming up with ideas

Renaissance247
Renaissance247

I sense a "Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Wii Edition" in the future. Probably using Mii-like characters. I think that would be cool.

nighthawk456
nighthawk456

This is going to be like Carnival Games: Terrible.

lionelchu
lionelchu

i think we keep seeing games like these because a lot of them went into development at the same time, the concept to the wii is still pretty new i think it's just going to take some time before video game developers find really great concepts for the controls. it'll all start out as mini games but once we find which ones work the best they can start creating a lot more around that movement. for example resident evil uses the capabilities very well. i would love to see more rpg style gameplay use this effect.

Luwker
Luwker

I love Wii, but I have to agree that these minigames collections are starting to be overdone.

balkman_sanders
balkman_sanders

Sweetmusic_01: it's not the developers fault, Nintendo doesn't allow any 3rd party developers to access the Mii's.

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

powerframe. let me define every ,,,, it means all and from what i see is only a select few 5 out of the 300 + games now go out and look bc obviously wii has more games in the racing adventure or fps genre then those in this genre driver paralell lines red steel farcry metroid 3 medal of honor vanguard call of duty 3 re4 wii edition plus all vc games and gc games is reason enough to own a wii

powerframe8
powerframe8

where the hell have i seen this before. oh wait, on every other wii game. If the wii keeps crapping out games like this, there'd be no point to owning one. Unless you want to play videogames with grandma. and who the hell wants to do that.

BlackSamTX
BlackSamTX

No kidding, dese1! I think the whole 'party game' action for the Wii is starting to get a little tired...

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Looks a bit unfinished. Nah, I wont be wasting my hard earned cash on this.

dese1
dese1

...how many more of these games does wii need...