Mini-game compilations are nothing new to Wii, but the prospect of having thirty different types of games in one budget-priced package is still alluring. In Family Party: 30 Great Games, you compete with other players in mini-games in varying styles such as track & field, playground games, coordination games, carnival games, “strength” games, and brain games.
You play Family Party: 30 Great Games using the Wii Remote only, which is great because it means that the game’s controls will be relatively simple, but it also means that you will be doing a lot of waggling, even through events that don’t seem apt for them. For example, running by waggling the Wii remote seems unintuitive, while other games like the balance on a cushion mini-game make more logical use of the motion controls. The biggest problem plaguing Family Party: 30 Great Games is the lack of precision on some of the mini-games. Even after you’ve read the sparse instructions (there are no tutorials), you will have difficulty figuring out exactly how you’re supposed to play some of the games. In fact, there are still some games that I cannot win at because I’m not sure what the optimal way to use the Wii remote.
Thankfully, there are also mini-games that feel perfect in their execution and provide a lot of simple fun, especially when competing against human opponents. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to select which mini-games you’d prefer to play in succession for tournaments, instead relying on how developer Tamsoft chose to group the games depending on their theme. As you compete in the main challenge mode, you unlock additional characters (which are initially representative of family members) and eventually you unlock all of the thirty games and all of the game’s themed environments.
Family Party: 30 Great Games features graphics typical of mini-game collections on Wii. In other words, they’re mostly simplistic and don’t contain any environments that will impress anyone, even for a Wii game. That’s not to say that the graphics are as bare as those in Wii Sports, however. The environments and characters are all rendered in 3D, and are thematically separated according to the zone in which you are competing. The character animations are competent, and so is the polygon count for the most part, but the game suffers from tons of jaggies and the occasional bad texture. The audio in Family Party: 30 Great Games is predictably cheery pop music. None of it ever really stands out or is memorable, but it does fit in with the rest of the game’s presentation.
In the end, Family Party: 30 Great Games doesn’t achieve what it sets out to, and that is to create a party game that the entire family can play. The lack of a good tutorial, clear instructions, and spotty controls means that newer players will have difficulty having fun with some of the mini-games in this collection. Still, Family Party: 30 Great Games does have some moments where it all comes together and you can have some real multiplayer fun. Of course, this is the type of game that gets exponentially better as you add players to the mix, so gamers who can get other family members to join them will find some fun despite the limitations. The final consideration is of course that Family Party: 30 Great Games is extremely budget priced, so the amount of fun you can have for the price makes the game a much more attractive proposition.