When a game gets a title like Calvin Tucker's Redneck Jamboree, it can be hard to tell what to think. I mean, that could be totally awesome, right? I'm not a big fan of Jeff Foxworthy, but I can appreciate loving jabs at poor Americans living in rural communities. It has potential.
Once you know it is a collection of mini-games for the Wii, however, it is much easier to assume that the game will be utter trash, no matter how intriguing the name might be. You would not be wrong. So, the question becomes not, "Is this game any good," but, "How awful is it?"
Read on for our review.
Calvin Tucker's Redneck Jamboree
Developed by Humagade
Published by Zoo Digital Publishing
Released on December 19th, 2008
Each year, the residents of Redneck County gather together at ol' Calvin Tucker's place and participate in games of skill to demonstrate who is the white trashiest of them all. The family which wins the Jamboree earns the right to live in the "Big Trailer," where, according to the game's manual, "fabulous redneck luxuries await". It's kind of like the Special Olympics, except all of the handicaps are mental and there's absolutely nothing positive you can say about the experience.
There are eleven mini-games in the package, with six available from the start while the remaining need to be unlocked. Some of the games are straightfoward in nature, such as target practice (there are two versions, both mediocre) and tractor racing. More complicated events involve maintaining a still to produce as much liquor as possible or finding an outhouse in the dark before your bladder explodes. This game is obviously the pinnacle of class.
Poor taste would be acceptable if anything about Calvin Tucker's Redneck Jamboree was actually fun. And some of the ideas would be entertaining if they managed to be executed well. The concept of throwing dynamite into a lake to make fishing easier has illicited a chuckle from me in the past, and the game offers that. But the controls fail to be responsive most of the time, which results in mad flailing of the Wii remote followed by tears of shame as you realize what you are spending the little time you have on this Earth on.
These problems aren't limited solely to Dynamite Fishing, either. The shooting range games require a godly level of accuracy but feature a large cursor that makes it difficult to determine if you are going to hit or not. The still operation game does not always recognize your movements with the remote and even the tractor racing feels sluggish when attempting to change lanes.
To their credit, Humagade does try to make use of the full range of capabilities on the Wii. One particularly awful game has you trying to identify animals based on the sounds that they make. As you move a cursor across a landscape, various animal noises can be heard through the speaker on the remote and the goal is to pick out the specific animal requested. As if to destroy any glimmer of hope for the game, many of the animals sound very similar and it can be hard to differentiate between them. In a lot of instances, it also seems that the animal the game wants you to find is not actually one of the sounds you can find, forcing you to select the wrong animal just to progress the game.
There are two modes of play available, Jamboree and Quickplay. Quickplay, as you probably guessed, allows you to select a specific game to play. Jamboree strings together a series of games (you can play four, eight or all events) with a running score total based on performance. Each mode allows you to select from three difficulty settings.
The Jamboree mode is also how you earn bottlecaps to spend on unlocking more features of the game. In addition to new mini-games, additional characters can be unlocked and packs of "Fun Facts" (which appear in the loading screens) are available for purchase. With costs ranging from 25 to 150 bottlecaps for some of these items, it can take a considerable amount of time for a single player to unlock everything, far more than I suspect anybody without unfathomable masochistic leanings would actually want to play.
And let's not forget the music. There is one piece of background music in the entire game. It is heard in every game that does not require you to be able to hear noises in the background and on every menu. If the song had been "Dueling Banjos" by Charlie Daniel's Band, that might have been acceptable, but I suspect the licensing costs for that song are higher than the total production cost of the game. Instead, it's a generic, twanging banjo track which may have a jug in the background. After hours of playing this game for review, I would rather listen to the tortured screams of a thousand kittens who have been hit by a car than hear one more second of the song.
Another aspect of this horrid, horrid game that shows an utter disregard towards humanity on the part of the designers is the results screen after each event. Instead of simply presenting a table that displays each player, what their score was in the event, how many bottlecaps are being added to their overall score and what their new total is, there is a screen for each of these things which must be progressed past to continue the game.
I honestly think that Calvin Tucker's Redneck Jamboree was designed to replace waterboarding as an interrogation technique for the United States military. But don't take my word for it. Here is a direct quote from my fiancé after playing one round with me:
"You're on your own. I do not love you enough to play this game with you any more."
I don't think of this as a review of the game, so much as a warning. I have played some truly awful drek on the Wii over the last few years, but Calvin Tucker ranks among the worst gaming experiences I have ever had. It is sloppily designed, has largely uninspired gameplay, a terrible interface and hideous graphics. I would not sell a copy of it to my worst enemy and, if I saw someone attempting to purchase it for themselves, I would have to seriously consider setting the store clerk on fire because they are obviously a terrorist.
Score: 1 -- Epic Fail (1s are the lowest of the low. There is no potential, no skill, no depth and no talent. These games have nothing to offer the world, and will die lonely and forgotten.)
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reviewed by Conrad Zimmerman