Wii Party U is the sequel to the popular Wii Party but if you haven’t heard of that game before lets give you a quick over view. Wii Party U features a range of board games where you up and up to 3 of your mates move around the board and then play games to decide how far you can move next round. Theres also a bunch of smaller party games called House party in this collection giving you simple one off games to play with friends and unique to this edition are some Gamepad only games.
But before we get into all that, lets talk a bit more about the main feature of Wii Party U, the board games. The Game features 5 different boards, whilst each board visually is unique and may have a unique angle in how it plays they all at heart are standard boards with squares on to move and dice rolls telling you how far to move. In the original Wii Party the boards were a huge amount of fun with the main Game Island offering 45 minutes of fun and games. Sadly in this version the boards are no where near as fun and whilst the length is similar to the original they feel long winded. The main board in Wii Party U is a huge zig zag high way that plays must reach the end of with over 500 squares to pass by, this sounds a lot but when you can throw up to 10 dice at a time it makes most of the board a waste of space. Gamepad Island is the only one that actually uses the gamepad fully, whilst some mini games will use the gamepad, the actual game practically ignores it and even then Gamepad Island only uses it as different ways of getting how many spaces you can move. On the games we played we actually spent more time rolling dice than actually playing games, something the original avoided.
The mini games themselves are just as fun as the original with over 80 games to play, theres some repeats from the past in a new look and a whole load of brand new games but we can’t help but feel that 80 games really isn’t enough. Why didn’t they give us the original 80 games as well?
House Party has a range of larger mini games that play for around 5 minutes and use the game pad extensively. The games range from pictionary to picking up water from the game pad and taking it over to the TV. Some of these games are a lot of fun, especially the pictionary style game which has 3 of you draw the same object and someone else draw something slightly similar and then getting you all to guess which is the odd one out. Again sadly some of the games fall a bit flat either by being a bit dull or requiring a large amount of space for 4 people to move around. For example the water game requires you to place the gamepad on the floor far from your TV and then gets you to pick up water and carry it egg and spoon style to the TV. The implementation works well but a stupidly large space is required for it to work well.
Finally you have the gamepad only games, in a rather odd decision these are all placed into different directories so on first glance there looks to be far fewer than there actually is. But these are all pretty fun, ranging from mini track car racing to a screwball scramble rip off. Table top football gets our vote for the most fun but again we still have complaints with this mode as many of the games are over far too quickly.
This game is made for multiplayer, not got 3 friends? Probably best to ignore it as whilst the computer puts up a challenge the fun comes from playing with 3 friends. But to be honest we can’t help but feel disappointed by this release. The original Wii Party was a classic in our games room, seeing a lot of plays and fun evenings but Wii Party U feels like that sequel that can’t quite beat the original. The boards are not as fun, the house party stuff is hit and miss and whilst the gamepad only games are great fun they are a bit too throw away. For us though the biggest disappointment is that very little of the original game has been carried over. Where is pass the bomb game from the original? Actually where are all the house party games from the original? And the mini games? Wii Party U should have been an evolution of the original, featuring all the original content plus everything more. Instead it feels like Nintendo wants you to own both games and swap out depending on what you want to play, which is never going to happen and makes the loss of the originals best games even bigger.
The only saving grace for Wii Party U is that it costs the same and sometimes less than a Wii Remove and actually comes with one in the box. So much like the original Wii Play, many people will be buying this just to get the free Wii Remote which is no bad thing, its just a shame that it could have been so much better.