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

Wii Party

Wii Party

Spring 2011 Video Games
Ages: All Ages
Price: $49.99
Gaming System: Nintendo Wii

Party games are exactly that-party games. Some are better than others. This one probably ranks among the best, largely because it's huge. Packaged in this one Wii disk are more than 80 games-ranging from whacky racers such as Derby Dash (little Mii characters racing ponies) and Flap Hurdles (Mii characters in a footrace leaping rolling barrels and logs) to more traditional sports-like games such as Goal Getter (Mii characters do fast-paced soccer goal shots) and Quicker Chipper (golfing Miis chip up to the pin).

The games feature good graphics and surprisingly smooth animation, but what makes this videogame such a winner is the gigantic variety of games. Face Flip, for instance, will hold the attention of players who love traditional matching games. Smile Snap is a strange little game where players try to take a group photo of several subjects all smiling at the same time. And there's nothing traditional about Chop Chop, in which watery-eyed Miis race to see who can chop the most onions. In Clover Hunt, players search for the four leaf clovers in a field of clover. And in Banana Blockade, players move boxes of bananas around to unblock pathways through a warehouse. And then there's About Face, a really cool game requiring players to rotate blocks of four faces in a field of 64 faces until blocks of the same face align and score points.

Nintendo set this great party title up so there are 13 different game play modes (four players, one-vs.-one, one-vs.-three, challenge mode, etc.) There are even games that use the Wii remote in new ways. In one game, players place their remotes on a table and race to be the first to grab the remote making the animal sound that matches the animal illustrated on the screen. In addition, the Pass the Bomb mode is a clever new use of the Wii remotes, sort of a cross between Hot Potato and Twister.

This may not have much educational content, other than learning about your competitive side, but there's something to be said for good not-so-old-fashioned, family fun, which is exactly where Wii Party specializes.

Don Oldenburg   ©2011 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:
Nintendo of America
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