Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade
Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade (known as Simple Series for Wii U Vol.1: The Family Party (SIMPLEシリーズ for Wii U Vol.1 THE ファミリーパーティー) in Japan) is a 2012 party game developed by Art Co., Ltd and published by D3 Publisher, released around the time the Wii U was released, with it being released as a launch title in both Europe and Australia. It is part of the Family Party series, which the series is also based on the Simple series, a series made by D3 Publisher focused on making budget titles for multiple consoles. This game is often considered one of the worst games ever made.
There are two modes, Challenge Mode and Freeplay Mode, to choose from. In Challenge Mode, you pick roughly around 10 minigames from the selection, and put them on a wheel, then spin it to see what minigame you’ll play next, You need to roughly beat all 10 chosen minigames to unlock the other worlds, more minigames, and more characters.
Freeplay Mode is just like Free Play in other party games, you choose 10 minigames, then play the minigames with no restrictions or rewards, then you can choose other sorts of minigames.
Why It Sucks
- Misleading title, at least on the North American and European versions: There are actually 35 minigames and not 30 minigames as the title says, which can be considered false advertising. It's almost like the developers added 5 more minigames without D3’s knowledge and lied to them saying there was 30 minigames and not 35.
- For an early Wii U game released in 2012, the graphics are very lackluster and literally look like a late 1990s game more than an early title for an eighth generation console; the environments are bland looking and the textures are sometimes lazy, like the sand in the desert minigames. Also, the very embarrassing thing about this 2012 game is that it lacks deferred shading, which made lightings and shadows more realistic.
- The character models are also awful and look like something from a indie game released through Xbox Live Arcade in 2007, with most of them looking soulless with their beady eyes which don’t have pupils, and the clothes that look like they are part of their body.
- The game focuses on motion controls with the Wiimote more than the GamePad for the Wii U, which is unfair considering that the GamePad is the Wii U’s main controller with the system. In fact, only 10 out of 35 minigames actually use the GamePad, with the other 25 using Wiimote motion controls, which is around 28% of GamePad minigames, and 72% Wiimote minigames, and you even need a Wiimote to navigate the menus. And what’s worse? Wiimotes never come bundled in with the Wii U, meaning if you want to access the menus and don’t have a Wiimote, you have to spend more money to find a Wiimote just to access more of the game.
- Not to mention, some of the minigames require a Nunchuk to play, but just like the Wiimotes, the Nunchuk don't come with the Wii U, so if you don't have a Nunchuk to play a minigame that requires it, then this is impossible.
- Absolutely dreadful controls, with the game mostly having a hard time reading your controls, with some examples being Balance Bridge, where you tilt the GamePad to balance, but you would constantly fall down due to the controls sucking, and Cloud Jumper, where you flick the remote up to the next cloud, either left or right, but the game sometimes throws you in the wrong direction, causing you to constantly fall down.
- The way of unlocking minigames is stupidly difficult for the wrong reasons. First off, you need to beat every 10 selected minigames to unlock more characters, minigames, and worlds, and if you lose in a single minigame, you have to restart over again. And coupled with the fact that the controls suck, this equates to making the adventure mode unenjoyable and maddening frustrating.
- Annoying voice acting, with the biggest example being Mike the Bear, because he never shuts up during the gameplay, heck, he sometimes can’t even go one second without saying anything to the player, and worse yet, you can’t disable his voice in the options, meaning you have to hear everything he says, to the point where it gets on your last nerves. The other voice-overs aren’t better either and can also get on your last nerves.
- Inconsistently programmed AI, which, for most of the minigames stands there like a statue not doing anything. Even if the AI tries, it plays miserably, but in some minigames, the AI can be literal professionals in minigames like Carpet Climbing, meaning the AI’s difficultly does not depend on the option, but on the minigames.
- None of the minigames are actually fun or worth playing a second time, with most of the minigames suffering the same issues, with the biggest one being that the controls suck.
- Some of the minigames can be literally unplayable, with the biggest examples being Obstacle Overun, where the game has a second delay input which is harder than it sounds. Carpet Climbing and Cloud Jumping, where the game has a hard time reading your jump inputs, which makes it utterly joyless. Sometimes, you can fall through a platform during these minigames, making them extra annoying. And in Slip Jump, where the camera only shows the player who’s first and no one else, so half the time, if you are in the last place and so far behind, you would have no idea where you are and what you are doing or when you have to brake when you get close to the end of the cliff, making the game even more unplayable.
- A few of them can sometimes barely even be considered “games” at all, and feel like ideas the developers came up with when they were crapping on the toilet, such as Chancy Crane, where everything you do is pick three diced, then roll it. Block Jump is way too simplistic as all you do is hop left and right to red or blue platforms without any differences. Horse Jump is basically just Obstacle Overun, but only jumping over fences with horses for all the minigame. Sky Diving is also easy without any challenge, all you do is move to the circles, rinse and repeat.
- Minigames feel like they go on for way too long despite them being 1-2 minutes long, mainly because they have little to no challenge in them that can classify worth replaying them, or maybe because they can be stupidly difficult that you would not want to play again.
- Forgettable soundtrack (except the main menu theme), with all of them sounding incredibly generic for a party game, that it would be easy to forget what the music sounded like after quitting the game or even after finishing a minigame and moving onto the next one.
- While the North American and European cover art are decent, the Japanese one is lazy and is made with the least amount of resistance line. It only depicts black background with screenshots of the minigames, and a plain and boring font. First off, this is an absolutely boring style of a game's front cover, which usually consists of a huge drawing, and second, it literally looks like it should be used for the back of the cover because of the many screenshots of the minigames.
- The name function isn't reliable at all, so if you call your character something like “Zack”, the game would call it other names like “Lucius” and “Chano”, it could be that they gave the bear limited voice-overs, but that does not excuse the laziness of the bear saying different names than the one you picked.
- Some of the in-game animations look a bit stiff, such as the jumping, where it looks like you took a small hop, but then you realise you need to take a bigger hop, and the walking animation in Magical Panels is also stiff and looks like a half walk more than a normal walk. For a game released in the new generation preceding consoles like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 or even the sixth generation consoles to a lesser extent, it is a massive embarrassment.
- While most of the soundtrack is largely forgettable, the title screen music is pretty decent and upbeat compared to the boring and calm soundtrack which makes it easy to forget.
- Some minigames do function properly, like Block Jump, Dot Image, Horse Jump, Fireworks, Sky Diving, Dino Panic and Magic Carpets, dare we say, Magic Carpets is the best game in the whole game and has lots of replayability.
Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade was critically panned by both critics and audiences and is often considered to be not only one of the worst Wii U games, but also one of the worst games of all time.
As mentioned above, The game holds the award for being the second lowest rated game on Metacritic, with a score of 11/100, behind Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, which has a score of 8/100.
NintendoWorldReport gave the game a 1/10, criticising the voice acting, graphics and gameplay/minigames, stating that the game “is the coal under the tree that is Wii U.