Wii Party U Review

Party pooper.

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.
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!
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.
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...
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
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

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.
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Avatar image for oceanapplause

this made my day I was gifted a Wii points card code and I can't believe it actually worked! I got it at http://freewiipointsforever.com

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for KungfuKitten

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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for NagaSadow


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

Avatar image for 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?

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for NagaSadow


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.

Avatar image for asmoddeuss

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

Avatar image for NagaSadow


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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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...

Avatar image for Unetteh

[Insert obligatory anti-Wii U comment here]

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for sugrim

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

Avatar image for obsequies


Avatar image for hippiesanta

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

Avatar image for obsequies

@hippiesanta yeah at least it has a casino with war tables and a bingo hall

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for sugrim

@seriousdave LOL @ "Sauron's Eye 2.0"......Good one!

Avatar image for seriousdave

@GAJY_FILTH @lola_mento_ "Just fine" may be a bit exeggerated. Thei lack of new IPs is quite worrisome.

All they do now is cloning their own games like the "New" super mario bros. series or pumping out remakes and updated versions like Wind Waker HD and MH3 Ultimate. And they follow this pattern on both the WiiU and the 3DS. I'm not saying every game they dish out is bad, but nintendo really should think of something new to come up wth.

Avatar image for Thesuperstar2k

@GameBeaten @seriousdave @GAJY_FILTH @lola_mento_

Or muramasa the demon blade 2. Freaking underrated game that the game looks great.

Avatar image for GameBeaten

@seriousdave @GAJY_FILTH @lola_mento_

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate? That's Capcom's work.

Avatar image for aiat_gamer

@GAJY_FILTH New IP? Dream on bro!

Avatar image for joe_b1_kenobi

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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for Geardudu

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

Avatar image for MaddenBowler10

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

Avatar image for aiat_gamer

@MaddenBowler10 She is a freelance writer.

Avatar image for FAIL_TR0LL

Nintendo's commitment to quality.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for NagaSadow


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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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

Avatar image for AtariKidX

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


Avatar image for 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 :).

Avatar image for NagaSadow


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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for aiat_gamer

@NagaSadow @aiat_gamer huh, nice one...?

Avatar image for NagaSadow

@aiat_gamer @NagaSadow 'Sorry, but not everyone is a narrowminded nerd like you

Avatar image for DiverseGamer

Wii Pity U

Avatar image for Ezioprez9709

@DiverseGamer The only console that doesn't have blackouts so...

Avatar image for lorider25

@DiverseGamer For the people that have this console.... read above

Wii Party U More Info

  • First Released Oct 25, 2013
    • 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.
    Average Rating8 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Wii Party U
    Developed by:
    Nd Cube
    Published by:
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Mild Cartoon Violence