Mini-game compilations are unfairly judged in the industry, often reviewed by people that played the game alone instead of with a group of friends. I couldn’t believe the negative reviews that Wii Party received after having played it for myself, and yet again, I am in disbelief that the sequel, a game that is almost as absurdly fun as the original, also has received poor reviews from the gaming public at large. Wii Party U is one of the most entertaining Wii U games to date, and the fact that it comes with a Wii remote with MotionPlus built-in is just icing on the cake.
Wii Party U streamlines everything from the original game into three distinct categories. There’s a section for TV play, which features mini-games that use a combination of the GamePad and the remotes. These are often board games or something similar in concept, using the multitude of mini-games to create a Mario Party-like vibe.
Not all of them are all that fun, but there are some that are exceptional. The highway board was particularly entertaining, but the ball game was great fun as well. The dialogue moves quickly to keep players constantly doing something, whether that is rolling dice on the board or partaking in one of the game’s many (high quality) mini-games.
The second category of games are off-TV. These use the GamePad in unique ways, such as putting it somewhere in the room and then using the Wii remotes to carry water from the GamePad to the TV. I found that this didn’t work all that great, but there other GamePad-only games that are a lot of fun for multiple players. Button Smashers is a super addicting Wii U answer to Twister, requiring a team of players to press and hold different buttons on the controllers are prompted by on-screen commands.
Finally, the third category flips everything on its head and turns the GamePad into a tabletop game. There’s classic baseball, foosball, and more traditional board games available. The selection is sparse, but what’s there is done exceptionally well and it turns out to be a really clever way to use the GamePad.
Games with simplistic visuals like the Wii series don’t seem like they’d benefit a great deal in the transition to the HD world of Wii U, but Wii Party U shows that HD goes an extremely long way. Everything in the game looks crisp and bright. There are no jagged edges around characters or objects. The game simply looks gorgeous despite its simplicity.
The sound effects can get a little annoying and the music is certainly not up to Nintendo’s usual standards of quality. Nintendo is known for creating catchy, highly memorable tunes to accompany their games but if you’re looking for that in Wii Party U, it’s best to look elsewhere.
Getting a few friends together to play Wii Party U is extremely entertaining. To sweeten the deal, the game comes with a Wii remote. I had a blast with it and I’m confident anyone that gives it a chance (and plays it in the environment that it is meant to be played in) will also have a lot of fun with this latest Wii U exclusive title.
Tested on Wii U. Final Score: 8.25/10