Review

Wii Party U Review

  • Game release: October 25, 2013
  • Reviewed: October 23, 2013
  • WIIU

Party pooper.

by

At first glance, Wii Party U appears to be indicative of the brand image Nintendo wants to put forth for its console. You're supposed to gather together your family or multiethnic group of male and female friends and have a fantastic time, smiling as you wave your Wii Remotes and laughing at the wacky antics on your Wii U GamePad, just like in all those publicity shots. The reality of the Wii Party U experience, however, is rather different: group sighing with indifference toward having to play a lousy minigame or wives yelling at husbands for goofing around and not following the rules are probably not the advertising images Nintendo wants to showcase.

Wii Party U is the follow-up to 2010's Wii Party and features similar aesthetics and motifs to its predecessor. Rather than playing as characters, you play using your created Mii avatars. Keeping with the Mii theme and the family-friendly party tone, everything is rounded, brightly colored, and cartoony. It's a look that's meant to be as soft and inoffensive as possible, but its lack of detail and its boring, indistinct designs make it tiresome after a while.

Screaming your opponents to death is a fun and unique experience Wii Party U offers.

There's no denying the sheer variety of Wii Party U's lineup. Among the minigame mix are reflex-based games (Moonbase Escape, Snow Shredders), hidden object games (Heart Targets, Shutterbird), Wii Remote aiming games (Big Bang Blasters, Space Zappers), tilt control games (Cliff Riders, Maze Malaise), mind games ( Balanced Diet, Fruit or Scare), and GamePad-utilizing one-versus-three games (Catch a Wave, Zag-Ziggurat). For those completely devoid of motor or memory skills, there are even a handful of minigames based primarily on luck (Run to the Sun, Hide and Go Beak). Of course, players' tastes in games vary somewhat, but if there's a game that your crowd unanimously dislikes, there's no way to completely remove it from the rotation.

Racing jungle animals: not as exciting as it sounds!

Even when you're inclined toward a particular type of minigame, many of these games aren't fun even the first time, much less several times over. While there are a few standouts like Big Bang Blasters and Pool Party, other games, such as Freeze! and Diamond is Mine, are so awful that you'll seriously wonder how they made the cut. Most of the games occupy the range between "mildly fun but forgettable" and "unpleasant." Generally, the minigames that make use of the GamePad tend to be more creative, and thus are the most enjoyable of the bunch.

There are three primary game modes: TV Party, House Party, and GamePad Party. TV Party is the main attraction, featuring several sub-modes styled like traditional board games, which tie together Wii Party U's various minigames. House Party consists of stand-alone games that use the Wii U GamePad and support two to four players. GamePad Party consists of a bunch of GamePad-only games and minigames for up to two players. In addition to the three main modes, there's a Minigame mode that lets you play any of the minigames as you please, or run through various themed minigame gauntlets solo or with friends. (On that note, many portions of Wii Party U can be played solo, but the utterly dopey AI competitors will have you calling your friends for impromptu party time pretty darn quick.)

Most of the GamePad 2-player games are simple sport-themed affairs.

TV Party mode provides a multiplayer board game experience that ties together the disparate minigames into a more focused goal, with your performance in individual games determining various outcomes and advantages you are given in the larger game, a la Mario Party. Some of these games are excellent: Mii Fashion Plaza adds fun collection and sabotage elements as you and your friends circle the board while coordinating outfits. GamePad Island puts the GamePad to great use as you play brief small-screen minigames to determine your movement and go past on-field obstacles. Others are lacking: waiting and watching colored balls drop off a pusher in Balldozer is astonishingly dull.

House Party mode, meanwhile, focuses on shorter, group-oriented games that use the GamePad in unique ways. There's some strong variety on display here, too: Button Smashers is like group Twister for fingers, Do U Know Mii? compares how you and your friends evaluate elements of your personality, and Name That Face makes use of the GamePad's built-in camera. Highlights from this crop include Lost and Found Square, which has you describing your GamePad-based surroundings to a TV-based search team, and Water Runners, which uses a clever coordination between the Wii Remote and the GamePad in a bottle-filling competition.

These games have the potential to be very fun, but the way many of them are designed means they lack in-game oversight to prevent cheating and tomfoolery--an advantage electronic group games have over their tabletop counterparts. Feed Mii! has you yelling fast-food orders to a cashier who must remember what each of you bought, and whose correctness you rate after you're served; you could very well cheat and say you're dissatisfied even if your server was completely correct. Sketchy Situation has your group drawing sketches based on words and guessing which of you was given a different subject than the rest, which is fine and dandy until one person realizes it's hilarious to just draw crude genitalia instead of responding to the prompt.

Chasing shadows on the wall...

Finally, there's GamePad Party. This mode makes use of a bundled Wii U GamePad stand to allow the controller to sit easily on a table between two people. All of the games are pretty fun, though the more elaborate games prove to be the most interesting: Puzzle Blockade is a unique co-op experience, and Mii-in-a-Row is an engaging mix of Tic-Tac-Toe and Reversi. By supporting only two players, however, these games don't sport a lot of party potential.

The amount of fun you have with Wii Party U hinges by and large on the company you're with rather than the quality of the games themselves. Even with a perfect group of pals, though, there are potential hiccups: an awful minigame randomly thrown at you can deflate a fun atmosphere, an unclear explanation can prove confusing, and a badly paced board game can bore everybody. The sterile presentation and lack of options certainly don't help matters, either. While it has its highlights, the party is over before it can really get started.

The Good
Features a huge variety of games
Makes extensive, sometimes very clever use of the GamePad
Some nice design to the board games and GamePad Party games
The Bad
Minigame quality hovers around mediocre
Dull-as-dirt presentation
No way to disable minigames that players dislike
5
Mediocre
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

/ Staff

Heidi is a firm believer that quality local multiplayer game design is an art form. She played through every single one of Wii Party U's minigames and recruited local friends to play through other modes with her. She also profusely apologizes to them for any long-term damage to their marriages as a result of said play.

Discussion

108 comments
Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

This is a game that you buy when you need that Extra controller. If you need another Wii remote controller than buy this a get a "free" game. even though the game is Meh. This is a collection of mini games so you cannot really expect much. This game is currently $45.00 so it is a decent deal for a new controller and a "free" game.


KungfuKitten
KungfuKitten

You get the game for free with a wiimote plus. This review seems harsh for a free game.

mathg04
mathg04

There has to be mentioned, that the game is sold with a wii motion plus controller for 10$ more than the controller alone. For that price 80 minigames with  nintendo quality is an excellent deal, even if the game oveall might be dull.

amaneuvering
amaneuvering

Is the reviewer mental or something?


"Dull-as-dirt presentation"


Take a step back and actually look at the presentation here...


There's 80+ games all with their own 3D backgrounds and from what I can see the models, textures and details in all of them look great. Nice, bold, clean, sharp, recognizable etc. All the menus are also nice and colorful, bold, clean easy to navigate and use, well designed.


Do you have even the slightest clue how much work must have went into creating that many unique backgrounds alone...never mind that almost every single mini-game requires unique code and gameplay mechanics etc.


There's a crap load of work that went into the presentation for this game considering it's just a mini-game collection and it all looks great and does it's job perfectly.


Giving this game a 5 is just crazy.


What the hell do you expect from a family party/board game?!


I'm not sure this person understands what they are talking about despite the claims of playing lots of party games.

rcisim319
rcisim319

Should i still get this game? I will probably never have an actual party with me to play this game with, i'll most likely be going solo and playing with AI bots. So again, would you still recommend it to me under those circumstances? 

asmoddeuss
asmoddeuss

This is not crap at all, yesterday we were playing this game with friends and it was awesome and fun :)

kbaily
kbaily

Let's all hate something we wouldn't have bought even it was a perfect 10 anyway because we have nothing better to do. Am I right?

Seriously this hating on games like this just because they don't appeal to YOU, the hardcore gamer, is just petty and immature. Not every game is for everyone. What's wrong with Nintendo making party games for kids you got your Xbox to play all the blood soaked FPSes you want so just move on with your lives.

Also GS, you don't have to send 200+ emails to my inbox every time someone comments here.  I turned off that setting thanks.

MigGui
MigGui

I don't get it. the beginning and ending of the review say this game is a piece of crap, but the rest of the text actually emphasize on how cool many of the minigames are...

Unetteh
Unetteh

[Insert obligatory anti-Wii U comment here] 

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

So who the heck wanted Wii Party U over Mario Party U?  Why do they keep sticking with these ugly Miis that nobody cares about?  I think even casuals would take a Mario Party game over this.

NagaSadow
NagaSadow

Well, atleast Gamespot is irrelevant enough now and can no longer influence the market, so this review will mean nothing for the sales of Wii Party U. 

sugrim
sugrim

I thought they were taking long to realse quality games and not this kindda CRAP!

hippiesanta
hippiesanta

Playstation Home all the way ........... weeeeeeee

YearoftheSnake5
YearoftheSnake5

The whole thing looked mediocre to begin with - and I mean in terms of gameplay. Wii *whatever* games tend to have a clean and simple art style, and I don't mind that. Mario Party went down the toilet, and Wii Party seems to be picking up where it left off.

seriousdave
seriousdave

Another medicore game full of crappy motion controls for a console thats only good for some gimmicky games.

But the sad truth is the following: both sony and microsoft tried their own motion control thing and both are way crappier than all the Wii and Wii U stuff. And with the new xbox having Sauron's Eye 2.0 as standard equipment i don't see the ending of those medicore crappy motion stuff flooding the market.

BradBurns
BradBurns

Wow, they gave a Nintendo game something lower than an eight.


I personally like Nintendo, but I often get the feeling that reviewers are afraid to score their games lower than a eight. 

Not all of their games are that good to me. I just feel that most are.

MaddenBowler10
MaddenBowler10

Heidi Kemps must be a new reviewer. She has zero followers and 1 forum post.

FAIL_TR0LL
FAIL_TR0LL

Nintendo's commitment to quality.

NagaSadow
NagaSadow

If you loved the original Wii Party you will love this, as its a much more beefier package and is far more inventive. At this point i'd say its silly to use Gamespot as a buyers guide for anything anymore. Sad but true.

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

Awww man, I was really excited for this game. Looks like I need to cancel my pre-order of it or maybe not, I don't use reviews much to help me decide what games to get.

superbuuman
superbuuman

Not surprise, Mario Party was getting stale..seems all they did was switch skin to Miis, so basically its Mario Party with Miis. :P

AtariKidX
AtariKidX

One more horrible game for the WiiU.........lol

R.I.P

hystavito
hystavito

Ouch.  Here's the thing though, there's probably a huge difference between the kind of people you'd find around here (GS reviewers and users) and the target market for this game.  In addition, that market I think are not the type to actually spend much time or effort evaluating before purchase.  So even if they ultimately don't like it much, lots of them will still buy it :).

DaneGamer
DaneGamer

It's tough to own a Wii U these days. I have games i like for it, and i know some will come about in the future, but there's little to no originality left. Lots of creativity, that's not it, but their ip's are nothing but extensions of earlier work. They usually deliever solid, and somewhat timeless experiences, and i'm sure this is good if you actually have friends over (i mean other reviews have called it above mediocre, so i wouldn't go solely by this), but man they need to stop fucking about... Wonderful 101 is an exceptionel game for the Wii U, and it's not even a Nintendo developed game... Super Mario 3D World will be awesome, probably, but it will be yet another Mario game that get great praise and then fades away, to never achieve the legendary status of the NES/SNES era. What truly does anger me, is that i know, that only a few years back developers would kill to be involved with Nintendo. Now they flee. Nintendo has never been so exposed as it is today, and that's because they have to, in order to keep relevant. It's amazing that the company sits on mountains of money, and uses it on just about nothing innovative or remotely interesting these days - at least not with regards to software, which according to them is 'the most important factor to a system that's selling' - i might be a pessimist, but relying on a 2015 Zelda or SSB and Mario kart in close to half a years time... When the next-gen consoles establishes themselves, the Wii U is done for, and unlike the Wii, there won't be a casual market to carry it, they tried "this so called gaming thing", and it obviously didn't lash on, or they were smart, and wanted value before anything else - a thing Nintendo can hardly offer anymore - oh you're going to throw the 3DS at me? I can't deny it's succes, but even that console is dying when you compare it to the smartphone market, and trust me, that is a market, not a myth even though you might hate touch-based gaming. They're so out of balance, it's quite sad.

NagaSadow
NagaSadow

Its funny how you people are taking this review as gospel while shouting foul when your favorite game didn't get the score you felt it deserved.

Truth is this game is much better than the original Wii Party, and most people who played it with friends had an awsome time.

It's hilarious to read this review in contrast to everyone elses review. Its as if the reviewers where playing two completely different games. 

NagaSadow
NagaSadow

@amaneuvering 

Having played this game, i'm pretty sure the reviewer prolly played it with imaginary friends. This review makes no sense at all. 

enrique_marrodz
enrique_marrodz

@rcisim319 From my experience, the game is ONLY for a party. There is not much for a single player experience and some games are explicitly multiplayer only so, if you get it, try to get some friends in the same room to play it.

NagaSadow
NagaSadow

@rcisim319 

As a single player game its useless in my experience. As a multiplayer game with the right people its hilarious fun to the point i feel bad for people who will never experience its pure awsomeness.

NagaSadow
NagaSadow

@asmoddeuss 

Same experience here. This game is great fun. I guess the reviewer played the game with the wrong people. I honestly cant see how its even possible not to have fun playing this game with friends and family.

Geardudu
Geardudu

@BradBurns Gamespot never liked Mario Party, I didn't expect a difference here.

Geardudu
Geardudu

@NagaSadow I always like IGN's reviews best. Still, if I'm interested in a game, I'll try it myself. Reviews just usually define if I'll pre-order or borrow later/buy at a Steam sale

NagaSadow
NagaSadow

@g1rldraco7 

You might wanna check out other reviews of this game. Gamespot is pretty far from being able to be used as a buyers guide for anything these days. 

NagaSadow
NagaSadow

@hystavito 

Gamespot gave the original Wii Party a mediocre score. Didn't stop it from being enjoyed by over 8 million people. Real people love it, and sad people with sad friends or no friends may not find it enjoyable. That's just how it is and always was. 

Slim_Lyrics
Slim_Lyrics

@GAJY_FILTH Here we go,

3DS does not equal WiiU

the dedicated handheld market does not equal the console market.

the dedicated handheld market has been a one horse race dominated by Nintendo since the original Gameboy came out. Th only other dedicated handheld to come close was the PSP and that too was left in the dust. With little to no competition, a slew of key franchises and a reasonable price drop it was only natural that the 3DS would ultimate dominate like the DS, Gameboy Advance, Gameboy color & Gameboy before it. Nintendo has the best support of the two current handhelds and if asked to choose between the 3ds and PsVita, most will chose the PSvita every time.

The dedicated console market is one that is wrought dedicated companies vying for the same market share. Since the days of the Famicom/NES Nintendo has had to fight hard to maintain its market share against adversary with their fair share of dedicated fans and video game libraries. It managed to do so until the arrival of the Sony PlayStation which blew the N64 out of the water sales wise, technologically as well as in the amount of games. The competition led to Nintendo suffering an even greater defeat with the Gamecube which was blown out of the water by not only the dominant PS2, but even the just arrived xbox . It wasn't until the underpowered Wii that Nintendo surprisingly manage to regain momentum via the casual crowd but is was at the cost of losing the respect and support of many of the 3rd party studios and a stigma of being branded by the "hardcore" community a kiddie/casual/family system that, for better or worse, it is still suffering from to this day. Out comes the WiiU with all the baggage of the Wii and with the abandonment of the casual market it's no wonder it's struggle. The nail in it's coffin is without question the lack of 3rd party support when compared to the other two. Whereas a "hardcore" gamer can live comfortably with only a ps4/xbone with access to over 70% of the console games. A WiiU only gamer will be forced to purchase one of the other two,or build a PC, in order to experience a significant amount of  the games available. For a lot of people,the allure of the next mario/zelda/smae bros/mario kart game is just not alluring enough, especially if they own a 3ds, to purchase a WiiU. the market perception i already showing that the ther two will get the best support, at least 3rd party wise, over Nintendo. The fact that when it comes to the WiiU or any of the other two, the majority of people will choose the other two every time.


TL;DR:- The WiiU's situation is different from the  3ds. 3ds has more popular games then Vita and larger market share and therefore sold more, Xbone/ps4 will have more popular games (AAA western 3rd parties) than WiiU .

NagaSadow
NagaSadow

@DaneGamer

Really? How about you take a look at how real people feel about, say, Wii Party U these days. This review was made by a sad and boring person with sad and boring friends. This vid shows Nintendo is still the king of creativity and real people love Wii Party U to death:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBJ54WXBr04

aiat_gamer
aiat_gamer

@NagaSadow And which review you might mean? most of the scores are on the low side.

mjc
mjc moderator

@NagaSadow ...or it's as if two completely different reviewers were playing the same game! *gasps*

G1ingy
G1ingy

@NagaSadow @g1rldraco7 In general reviews are pretty useless unless you know the reviewer personally, or well enough to see through all their potential biases. Most of the time demo's and Youtube LP's give a much clearer representation of the game. This is especially the case with japanese games.

PaperthinTV
PaperthinTV

@NagaSadow I would rather play mario party for N64 tbh wtf is a mii

aiat_gamer
aiat_gamer

@NagaSadow I burst out laughing while reading this, thank you. Are you seriously, with a straight face, calling an 8 score to be mediocre?! Also, liking Wii party is not something that you can run around being proud of, get real. 

joe_b1_kenobi
joe_b1_kenobi

Pretty sure Nintendo have said they are going to announce three next year. BRO!

Wii Party U

  • Wii U
Wii Party U lets players enjoy board games and mini-games on the TV. You can play familiar tabletop games using the Wii U GamePad controller or transform your living room into a game show floor.
ESRB
Everyone
All Platforms
Check out even more info at the Wii Party U Wiki on Giantbomb.com
Average Score See all 3 Player Reviews
8
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