hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Wii Party U

2:00 PM on 10.24.2013 // Chris Carter
  @DtoidChris

A modest get-together

Nintendo has a storied history with multiplayer games. Back in the days of the Nintendo 64 and the GameCube, its power to get four people in a room together was unrivaled. Now, every console supports four or more controllers, and the online arena makes it easier to play together than ever before.

But sometimes, there's just no substitution for getting a bunch of people together in the same location, and rocking out some fun, old-fashioned minigames. So long as you're not expecting a life-changing experience with Wii Party U, I'd say it accomplishes exactly that.

Wii Party U (Wii U)
Developer: Nintendo (Nd Cube)
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: October 25, 2013
MSRP: $49.99 (with Black Wii Remote Plus - physical release only)

Wii Party U is basically Nintendo's crack at a Mario Party-like IP (although Nd Cube did recently handle Mario Party 9). Under the helpful watch of the absolutely adorable Muppet-like Party Phil and Party Penny, you'll take your personalized Mii on a journey across three modes: board games, a party mode, and activities played entirely on the GamePad. Yep, just like Mario Party, there are a few boards to travel across that basically serve as a delivery mechanism for minigames.

The design feels a bit odd for sure, because in some ways the in-game mechanics are superior to Nintendo's famous party franchise, and in others, it feels more bare-bones. For instance, I love the rolling system in Wii Party U, as it's mostly based on skill rather than luck. Depending on the board, you'll either earn more dice for performing well in minigame challenges, or the dice rolls themselves are tiny microgames.

So instead of simply rolling a die and moving that many spaces, you may have to shoot a blowgun dart at a numbered balloon by blowing into the GamePad's microphone, or quickly tap a procession of numbers flying across the touch screen. But while I found that minor mechanical tweak to be a unique change of pace, the boards have a distinct lack of personality. Instead of the clever tricks and traps found in most Mario Party boards (the Monopoly and Ghost Mansion maps really stand out for me), most boards in Wii Party U are very bare-bones, and offer generic mishaps like "go back three spaces."

At the crux of the entire experience are the minigames, of which there are over 80. In a setup similar to Mario Party, you can access all of these individually from the main menu, as well as set up micro tournaments that consist entirely of skirmish after skirmish with some gimmicks involved to mix things up. The games range from luck-based endeavors like "hide from the ostrich!" to one of the most enjoyably competitive (albeit simple) Pac-Man clones I've seen to date. One really cool feature is the ability to "rate" games after you've played them on a five-star rating system, which is then collectively applied to games on the list via the internet.

As an aside, the vast majority of these games are played with Wiimotes, so you'll need four of them to accommodate a full house. Thankfully most of them didn't go overboard with waggle, and there's a decent mix of old-school NES-style controls alongside some shaking. Effectively, you could call Wii Party U "Minigames: The Game," which would be both a compliment and a slight -- but in general I was having fun, even if I've seen most of it before.

Party Mode is a bit more out of the box, offering activities like "rate your friends," to Pictionary, to a Twister-like free-for-all, where everyone is trying to grab certain buttons on the GamePad, and four Wiimotes laid out on the floor. You'll need a party of three or more to play the majority of these, and depending on how active your group is, your mileage will vary. For some of these games you'll need a special stand, which is included in the box to help prop up your GamePad. I wasn't too impressed by these, but with the right group you'll make your own fun.

The final piece of the puzzle is a small collection of GamePad-only games. This portion is restricted to two players, since each person will be taking up one end of the controller, using opposite analog sticks to control the action. These are more like tech demos compared to the rest of the Wii Party U, and include things like foosball, baseball, and marble games. It can be a bit annoying to find a perfect spot that's in range of the Wii U to accommodate two players on the same screen -- but with an enthusiastic partner, at least half of these adversarial and co-op-enabled games can serve as a minor distraction. In short, it's more like an extra than a full-blown feature.

Outside of the sheer amount of minigames and modes on offer, there isn't a whole lot to unlock in Wii Party U -- what you see is basically what you get. In terms of replay value you'd be hard pressed to be entertained for more than a week by yourself, and with two players, you may get another week or two out of it. But with three to four player engagements constantly, you're going to get a ton more mileage.

In some ways Wii Party U feels like a more refined Mario Party, albeit with a lot less heart and charm. It constantly straddles the line between tech-demo and full-on experience, but after playing it extensively, my brain tends to gravitate towards the latter. Although it isn't the be-all-end-all of party games, I'm pulling for Party Phil and Party Penny to be in the next Smash Bros. -- because after all, Nintendo could really use more Muppets.



THE VERDICT

7

Wii Party U - Reviewed by Chris Carter
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

MeeGhoulz avatarMeeGhoulz
Playing UNTIL DAWN 1st time:I'm alright with QTE,but an option to use direction as choices instead of buttons poppin' on screen would be welcome!Also:NO SHINY ITENS TO INDICATE CLUES!LET ME DISCOVER THEM!All in all,it's fun enough...
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
If I was to play through the NES library, besides being madness, what order do I do it? Alphabetically or Release date-wise? Whats the Dtoid universe think?
Gundy avatarGundy
Maybe someday I'll finish Natural Doctrine AKA Natty Doc...
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
You've got guts, a powerful soul You've got guts, sweet and sour You've got guts, do the guts A man sweats, he really does, go!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Finished Xenoblade Chronicles for the first time in about 107 hours. Got tired of attempting to clear as many sidequests as there were left available. Maybe in NG+...
techsupport avatartechsupport
Woah. I consider myself a nerd and all, but the trophy hunting community is next level. Is there a biopic about the people at the top of these leaderboards? I'd find that very interesting.
Paul S avatarPaul S
GeoHolmes [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/ntf3p5PqS2GteYfXUH33[/img]
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
I have no idea what this game is about but if this isn't the best goddamn cover art ever, I don't know what is. [url=http://imgur.com/3yw3G8S][img]http://i.imgur.com/3yw3G8S.jpg[/img][/url]
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
#thanksnintendo.
Shinta avatarShinta
Xenoblade X limited edition on Amaxon now. Will probably sell out very fast like usual. http://m.neogaf.com/showthread.php?t=1103729&page=1
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Just got a Vita with a 16GB card for super cheap. What games should I be looking out for?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
So the XCX Special Edition was marked as in stock for 20 seconds and I got a copy! I am disproportionately excited considering what it comes with. Hopefully the art book and packaging are high quality. WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Surprise, Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition has already sold out on Amazon.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Just a heads up, the Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition is up for preorder on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Xenoblade-Chronicles-Special-Edition-Wii-U/dp/B014LNTVGK I think it'll be available elsewhere but you know. Nintendo. Love em but hard to find.
Clicks Clacks avatarClicks Clacks
Picked up Valkyria Chronicles for $5 in the Humble Store, figure I'd advertise that for anyone that doesn't have it yet. Sale ends in less than 42 hours after this post yo. https://www.humblebundle.com/store/p/valkyriachronicles_storefront
gajknight avatargajknight
My copy of National Geographic came today. Best subscription I've paid for, worth it for the lovely pictures alone. This one has a story about elephant poachers and ivory tusks with spy chips in 'em. James Bond shit man.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
If someone used the blog reply feature to just divide a somewhat long blog into easier-to-digest chapters that could be consumed at the leisure of readers, would that be kosher?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
[youtube]https://youtu.be/7bzKWOeSVn4[/youtube]
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
@Barry Kelly It looks like it will get pretty difficult later on. It even has instafail stealth sections according to @Chris Carter #neededanexcuse to #tryouttheatfeature
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
I hope MGS V manages to have some sort of challenge to it. I just replayed MGS 4 for the first time since release and wow that game just practically plays itself. And that's outside of the long sections it is playing itself!
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
Wii Party U


  Nov 09

Wii Party U dramatically increases Wii U sales in Japan

Minigame collection and new bundle drive hardware sales


  Jun 11

Wii Party U releasing later than expected

"Tabletop" multiplayer on the Gamepad


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -