Going to the amusement park is a great way to spend time with your friends and family, but it's quite the expensive trip. Majesco is now offering a way to bring the amusement-park fun to the confines of your living room with Wonder World Amusement Park for the Wii, promising 30 minigames and five unlockable "rides." However, once you partake in the dullness that this virtual amusement park has to offer, you'll likely end up wanting to overspend on the real thing.
Wonder World Amusement Park is broken up into five different themed areas, each with six minigames. As you play through these games, you earn tickets (which are good only for the area in which you earned them) for prizes and passes that unlock the other areas. Buying every prize in an area unlocks its ride, which is effectively another minigame that gives out more tickets for a good performance.
The assortment of minigames is dominated by Whack-a-Mole variants and different point-and-shoot activities. Some games require that you pump the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in alternation to win some kind of race, whereas others will have you pointing to fish, frogs, or piranhas out of water. There's even a version of Memory buried in the sandy beaches of the Pirate-themed area. If all of this sounds entirely mundane, that's because it is. To be fair, the control is mostly adequate, and there are at least a few exceptions to the mostly unmemorable minigames. Bag-a-Bug has you maneuvering a honey-covered stick with the Wii Remote to attract as many insects as possible while avoiding those that will destroy your progress. Where the Heart Is requires you to throw a stake into a vampire doll's heart in the dark, with only its glowing eyes to guide you. But by and large, you'll be fed up with the deja vu that you get when you stumble across your third shooting-gallery variant.
Wonder World Amusement Park's rides, though they initially appear to offer something different, don't do much to pull the whole experience out of the doldrums. In the majority of them you're still either pointing and shooting at things or pumping your arms alternately. What's more irritating is that you have to earn a significant amount of tickets to purchase every prize in an area first, all to unlock something that ends up being as tedious as what you've just put yourself through.
The presentation could have at least brought some amusement and life to the repetitive proceedings. Instead, you're given a deadly cocktail of muddy textures, sparse detail, and an intolerable cacophony of sound effects. Characters have an aging, plastic air about them, and there's absolutely nothing crisp about the colors or modeling. Your ears will suffer an even worse fate than your eyes. For instance, Shut Your Trap, a Whack-a-Mole variant in which you zap angry Venus flytraps, gives way to some of the most vile, ear-splitting screeching you'll ever hear for 60 straight seconds.
As if the shoddy presentation wasn't enough, there are bothersome little things that make the experience lag on more than it needs to. In Story mode, every time you step up to a minigame, the attendant takes a few seconds to do a jig and greet you with a pointless quip before you're allowed to choose whether to see the instructions. Similar scenes play out after you finish your chosen game.
After unlocking an area, you can play its games in Quickplay mode, where you can avoid all of that nonsense. Alternately, you can choose to saddle up with a few friends and queue up several games in Party mode. Other minigame collections can benefit greatly from being played with friends, but that's just not the case here. The vast majority of the minigame catalog is so very uninspired, especially compared to the Wii's other multiplayer offerings, that not even your pals can save you from this boredom.
Even in the unlikely event that you're a Wii owner in need of yet another minigame collection, and you're already tapped out on offerings such as Wario Ware, Rayman Raving Rabbids, and Wii Sports, there's sadly nothing interesting--or amusing--about Wonder World Amusement Park.