Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Vacation Isle: Beach Party

Vacation Isle: Beach Party

Fall 2010 Video Games
Ages: 8 - 34 yrs.
Price: $29.99

The steel-drum soundtrack sold me from the get-go. But if that's not enough for you, its laid-back collection of animated, frolicking-in-the-sun sports at the beach should do the trick. Granted, Wii's track record with these multi-sport kid videogames is mixed at best, but by comparison this one's a day at the beach.

So get ready to shout "Dude!" Yeah, not much schoolin' stuff in this game but sometimes you just gotta' chill and go with the flow. Start by choosing your beach-attired avatar at the Vacation Isle Surf Shack. Then step into the resort's main lobby and scroll through the map to choose an event. The games include slalom water skiing, wake boarding, surfing, stand-up paddling, ski jump, stunt park, even hula dancing, among others.

We dove straight into the deep end of slalom skiing without reading instructions. So we had to figure out on the fly how to use the controller and nunchuk to guide that slalom at radical angles to catch point-scoring stuff while missing the bad crashes into barriers and booeys. Then, we went aerial while surfing a big wave, and with all sorts of random stuff flinging at us a gnarly wipeout finished us off. The hula dancing is pretty girly, so we skipped out after a few embarrassing hip thrusts and headed for a totally righteous stunt park where we hit some awesome jumps and ran headfirst into piers.

Each activity offers three different courses and three difficulty settings, so there's plenty to come back to as you master the skills. You need the Wii nunchuk attachment to your controller, and if you have a Wii Balance Board all the better 'cause you actually get on your feet and get a little active (though don't let anyone tell you this is a workout). The water sports handle up to four competitors, so the more friends the merrier at this beach party!

And if you're into beach bling, the sand dollars you win add up so you can return to the Surf Shack and "buy" beach gear and flashy equipment like new surf boards and wake boards to match your avatar's new island shirt.

Don Oldenburg   ©2010 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Toys R US
Major, Specialty & Online Retailers
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Target Stores

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