Game Party tries to innovate the party genre on the Wii, but it leaves much to be desired.
Game Party has seven different minigames: darts, table hockey, skill ball, hoop shot, shuffleboard, ping cup, and trivia. Some are better then others, as is to be expected. However, it's hard to say that any of them are really that good. I'll do a review of each one.
Darts is by far the best game of the seven. It's set in some sort of Irish pub (I think). You throw the dart by holding the Wii Remote, and then flinging it forward, just as if you were using real darts. The controls worked very well, and I had little trouble with aiming where I wanted to throw it. What's more, there are also numerous other modes to play darts in, such as cricket, 301, 501, and 701. You can also unlock "Baseball Darts", where you throw the dart onto a baseball field with different scenarios for the batter (Out, Single, Double, etc.) This was also fun, but it got a little bit too easy after a while. Still, it's worth a play.
Table Hockey is decent, but it doesn't do anything new. The controls are what would be expected: move the remote pointer up and down and side to side to hit the puck into the goal. Sounds fine, but it doesn't work as well as it should. Because the controls aren't that sensitive, you can easily hit the puck the wrong way. This was very frustrating for me when I first tried it. One thing that I do like is you can lift up the paddle from the table, which is useful at times. Still, the game didn't really feel worth it to me. I preferred Wii Play's laser hockey version.
Skill Ball is pretty basic. Roll the ball down the lane up the ramp, where you get a certain amount of points depending on where the ball lands. I'm really good at this in real arcades, but not as much here. The controls work well enough, and I can't really complain about them. However, the game is very finnicky about how many points you get. Just like Hoop Shot (see below), the margin of error you have is next to nothing. Therefore, you'll find yourself getting lots of 10s and 20s when it looks like you'll get a 50. It gets annoying after a while.
Hoop Shot is Game Party's version of the classic arcade game. Throw the basketball into the hoop to get points. Again, though, the controls are frustrating. It's somewhat hard to aim your shot, and even if you do, there's no guarantee it'll actually go that way. Also, the hoop is very small. Almost every time the ball will bounce off the rim, even if it looks perfect. The margin of error you have is so small, it makes the game almost worthless.
Shuffleboard isn't that great. The controls are weak, and you have a slim chance of actually getting the puck where you want it to go. I tried this game a bunch of times, and never scored very well. I think that it has some potential if you can get the controls down, but good luck. That's all I really have to say about this one.
Ping Cup is broken. There's no clear indication of what to do, so it took a long time just to figure it out. It's basically a kid version of beer pong, but you don't figure it out for a little bit. The controls are horrendous. I never was able to figure out what exactly to do, even after looking at the manual (haha). They just don't work, and it takes lots of luck to even get close. Definetly don't play this one, if you can.
Finally, trivia is just as it sounds. You choose the category by spinning a wheel with the Remote. Once you get the question, you have ten seconds to get the right answer, and are scored based on how long it takes. The problem I have with trivia is that it's very basic. There's no real customization available, so I get a ton of Disney questions when I haven't watched a Disney movie in years. Very annoying. However, trivia can be fun if you have friends over, and can convince them to play this game. But if you really need a trivia game, go with Smarty Pants, not this.
Now, on to other stuff. The graphics are bad. It could have easily been done on Gamecube, and maybe N64. You get a huge choice of characters from the start, and you can unlock more. However, they all play exactly the same, and that time would have been better spent improving the gameplay. The ticket system works, but it's a bit useless. I could live without it.
Overall, Game Party is not a very good game. Even though it's only $20, it still seems overpriced. It's a good concept for a game, but it's quite boring and it's clear that little effort was put into it. And the 2.5 points are all for the darts minigame. If that wasn't there, I would have rated it a 1.5 or a 1. It just isn't worth the buy. If you need a minigame compilation, go with Mario Party 8 or Warioware Smooth Moves.