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
5
Mediocre
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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Slim_Lyrics

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@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 .

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sugrim

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@Slim_Lyrics @GAJY_FILTH The mobile market is gonna give it some competition and the Vita looks good.

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DaneGamer

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Edited By 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.

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NagaSadow

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Edited By 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

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NagaSadow

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Edited By 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.

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aiat_gamer

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

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mjc

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mjc  Moderator

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

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drekula2

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wanna know why we cant have another earthbound, fzero, or starfox game? shit like this!

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GameBeaten

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@drekula2 There isn't another Earthbound because the creator doesn't want there to be another sequel/successor.

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DaneGamer

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Edited By DaneGamer

@drekula2 What do you mean? If anything, these reviews only work as feedback, and tell Nintendo to stop fucking about, and actually develop games for the franchises that made them great in the first place.

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SeriousDave

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@DaneGamer @drekula2 It would also be nice if nintendo would actually listen to this feedback.

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bluefox755

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Edited By bluefox755

It's gotta be tough being a Wii U fanboy...

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wEEman33_IV

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Remember when Nintendo didn't suck?

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lola_mento_

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Nintendo WiiU is so dead is not even funny. They don't have 3º party support and can get right their own games...

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JumpyLuweegee3

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WiiU is a piece of shit.

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Undertow207

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Nintendo has lost any ounce of originality they once had. "Wii Party U"??? Seriously?

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GentleJeffrey

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Edited By GentleJeffrey

I respectfully disagree w/ this review.

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baxwam

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Tell me who the **** was surprise most things with Miis are half ass to begin with and that's why I am #NoMiisInSmashBros

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fluffy_kins

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If this game was anything like recent Mario Party games, I can understand the low score. Especially since this one doesn't even have the Mario characters to fall back on. Remember when Nintendo used to create good party games like 15 years ago? sigh

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DocSanchez

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You can't really score this collection of mini games any higher. It isn't a quality product by any means.

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rIVAL_sWORD84

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Edited By rIVAL_sWORD84

THE BAD

Minigame quality hovers around mediocre

Dull-as-dirt presentation

No way to disable mini games that players dislike

Cannot agree or disagree with the review until I see game myself in some video review, By the way it is a video game which you play and win or loose ( Competitive play) in this game unlike Journey ( Hovering ghosts in Sahara) or Beyond two souls ( Cut scenes and Cinematic with QTE)

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hiphops_savior

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@rIVAL_sWORD84 Those are legitimate complaints, and it is a good review that judges the game on its own merits. For what it is, however, it is a 5 dollar game thrown in with a Wii Remote Plus.

If you want to read a bad review, don't go any further than GTA 5.

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rIVAL_sWORD84

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@hiphops_savior GTA 5 is an excellent game, No doubt. But i like to know more about wii Party U because i liked the previous one so much on Wii. Regardless of disappointing review i will buy if i like what i see. I dint like the journey and beyond two souls w/o move controller will not be fun. I played heavy rain with move and i have to say i really enjoyed it with those controls. But beyond two souls i can only buy when the price drops because it is not looking like a 60$ game

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rennanvale

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@rIVAL_sWORD84 Gamespot is filled with noobs, they don't want to play games and lose, they wanna watch and win all the time.

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komuchen

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@rennanvale @rIVAL_sWORD84 that's why pay 2 win was invented

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andrescapo_

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I didn't expect much from this game. I won't call the review crap or anything cause I haven't played the game, and I never will since its just like some non-Mario Party-Mario Party. If the next Mario Party goes back to something like Mario Party 3 (or anything not like Mario Party 9) I'm sure I will pick it up day 1.

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uncha1n3d

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The Wii u game pad is the perfect opportunity to deliver on games like this. What the Wii u needs is a good Mario party game to fully explore the casual nature of the controller. I love my wii u, but damn they gimmick the crap out of hardcore games by using the gamepad for maps and inventory screens, and they fail to innovate in the party genre.

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Patohua1

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So basically it's a garbage version of Mario Party.

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jasonsmith96

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Edited By jasonsmith96

It got a 5 probably because it deserved a 5. I don't understand why everyone on gaming websites get so mad whenever something doesn't get an 8 or higher. You don't see this kind of whining for movies. If a game sucks or is mediocre than why does it have to get "at least a 7" like a lot of people say on these types of sites. Like that's some standard score every game deserves to at least get.

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Ra-Maxima

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Nintendo going down

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desert_thief

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Edited By desert_thief

Unfortunately, most reviewers in this website are negatively biased towards Nintendo games, whether they pretend to be honest or not. I was hoping that they would change the way they review Nintendo games in more professional way, just like they change the layout of the website but they let their fanboyism gets in their way. Shame on you, Gamespot!!

Proof, the highest score Wii U games has got so far was 8.

Example: Rayman legends: 8/10 (Wii U version) 9/10 (other versions), even though Wii U version was considered the definitive version.

Reason: Murphy stages are dull, what kind of excuse is this

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GameBeaten

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@desert_thief The Wii U port of Mass Effect 3 got a 9/10 at least...

Overall though, 8/10 is a pretty solid score for a video game. The Rayman Legends scoring does come off as unfair though.

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padako

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Edited By padako

@desert_thief the best example was ZombiU. it's a 77 on metacritc and the only "negative"review is the 4.5 from gamespot. "Heavy emphasis on dull melee combat" ... it's a survival game. you're not meant to be confronting every zombie you come across. you're supposed to be avoiding them to stay alive. it's like he played the game for half an hour and farted out a lame review. "Wii U gamepad adds little and hurts immersion" ... I can't believe the reviewer wrote that...

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hiphops_savior

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@padako @desert_thief ZombiU is also one of the most polarizing games ever released in recent memory. People either loved it or hated it, no in between.

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komuchen

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@padako @desert_thief well, I'm kinda happy that McShea is silent, but I have a bad feeling he will review new Batman game, or if not, it will get 5 either way with cons like "the same system as AC" and "misogynistic" or something equally stupid

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TomMcShea

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@komuchen @padako @desert_thief I'm not reviewing Batman, either version. That's all Caro and Peter.

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komuchen

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@desert_thief watch out, Kevin is grumpy today and he will verbally destroy you. And also add "8 for Lego City, Pikmin etc"

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desert_thief

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@komuchen @desert_thief Yeah, that too!

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b74kd3th

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Edited By b74kd3th

This folks is why Nintendo is garbage

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desert_thief

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@b74kd3th Yeah, we know who you are.

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phatsanta

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@desert_thief @b74kd3th what nintendo hasn't been garbage lately?

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phatsanta

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@IronyisBliss @phatsanta @abHS4L88 Sorry that the truth hurts man. Don't have to lash out like that with another usless statement.

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IronyisBliss

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@phatsanta @abHS4L88 What a shallow, and immature statement.

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DiverseGamer

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@phatsanta lol agreed

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phatsanta

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@abHS4L88 @phatsanta you have kirby as your pic your argument is invalid.

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abHS4L88

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@phatsanta

The 3DS and every 1st party game that has come out for it this past year. Also Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101, and Wind Waker HD are all considered great additions to the Wii U library.

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Wii Party U More Info

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  • First Released Oct 25, 2013
    released
    • 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.
    7.1
    Average Rating8 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Wii Party U
    Developed by:
    Nd Cube
    Published by:
    Nintendo
    Genre(s):
    Party/Minigame
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    Mild Cartoon Violence