Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Word Party (Wii U eShop) Review

Thanksgiving is tomorrow in the United States, where SuperPhillip Central is headquartered. The next game to be reviewed seems like a perfect one for casual and core gamers and family members to sit around the TV after a big turkey dinner to enjoy together. It's Word Party, and here is SPC's review.

A party game that's true to its words

From the creators of Word Search by POWGI, Lightwood Games is back with another word-oriented wonder for the Wii U eShop. This time the studio's offering moves away from the single player experience of playing word searches and goes towards the mayhem that is known as local multiplayer with Word Party, sporting 28 unique mini-games for up to six players to enjoy. Does this party disappoint, or does it deliver beyond words?

Word Party sports a robust amount of mini-games, and as you can probably suspect, all of them relate to words in some form or another. All games utilize the Wii Remote as the main controller for inputs, and you use the IR functionality to point at the screen to choose from menus and make selections.

Take turns changing letters to spell new words. The pots with
more flowers in them will earn you more points.
The games have great variety to them. Some games task you with clicking on the right bee among a horde of them with different three letter combinations on them like "ill" or "uoy", making sure the one you click on forms a word that begins with the letter "B". Other games have you pointing at magnetic letters on a refrigerator door, creating words up to six letters; competing in a word search where the player that finds the most words is deemed the winner; and a multiple choice game where you click the word the definition in the center of the screen is describing.

In Spelling Bee, point and press the A button on the bees
that will spell out a word beginning with "B" to earn points.
Starting off, you have a selection of 14 mini-games that are randomly chosen from in the standard play mode. The play mode chooses a handful of mini-games in a random order for up to six players to play. Points are earned each round based on each player's position in a given mini-game. For example, 1st gets 10 points while 2nd gets a little less, and so forth. The winner of the multiplayer match is the one with the highest number of points at the end of all of the randomly chosen mini-games.

If you wish to just play mini-games from YOUR choosing rather than the game's own selection, you can play practice mode. This gives you the opportunity to replay mini-games however many times you want without waiting for them to pop up in the game's rotation in play mode. That notwithstanding, if you want to unlock mini-games, you'll have to go through the somewhat tedious process of playing multiplayer games in play mode over and over again. It's unfortunate because half of the mini-games in Word Party is locked up content that you have to satisfy conditions to open up for play.

This robot building game is one of the more challenging ones in Word Party.
Furthermore, each round in Word Party in play mode is rather short, lasting at most 30 seconds. Many times our multiplayer fun would be short lived because the round would be over before we knew it, making us want more. It would have been nice to see options allowing for beefing up or selecting the time limit for the mini-games, so our word party wouldn't be over so fast each round.

Word Party sports a charming art style and a pleasant user interface. The ability to use Miis for player icons make for an additionally nice touch. By no means is what is shown on screen during menus or mid-mini-games mind-blowing, but the art direction and cute style gets the job done, adding to the festive personality of the game. The music is suitably bouncy and upbeat, though it's nothing that you'll want to listen to outside of the game.

Each round sets aside points for each player based on
their position in the last mini-game played.
If you like word games like crossword puzzles, word searches, definition games, etc., don't mind the double digit price tag, and you have at least two players to share the experience with, then Word Party is an enjoyable game. It's decidedly not for everyone, but it's also a game that serves its niche well. If you like to party hearty with words, it only makes sense to look into Word Party.

[SPC Says: C]

Review copy provided by Lightwood Games.

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