As my colleague SeanNOLA has repeatedly stated, players should keep a close eye on Disney Interactive Studios. Over the last year, the publisher’s output has shifted from middling children’s games to refined titles with the capacity for enjoyment by a much larger demographic. Currently, Split/Second, Toy Story 3, and Disney Sing It: Family Hits transcend the youthful appeal which often accompanies an E-rated title, offering experiences which are just as gratifying for adults as they are for kids. The release of Disney Guilty Party elegantly maintains this trend, offering a clever modernization of the classic game, Clue.
in lieu of a flat game board, Guilty Party offers venues such as an Victorian mansion or a double-decker locomotive, all viewed from a cut-away perspective. Up to four players move from room to room, interrogating patrons, and collecting clues hidden through the manor. Cleverly, the Wiimote’s on-screen cursor doubles as a lie detector, alerting players to the truthfulness of each testimony. Gradually, players uncover four attributes which are used to revel to the culprit of each crime- hair length, gender, body build and height. Once the four traits are uncovered, players accuse a subject by clicking on clues and statements. Sporadically, the allegation requires a bit of deductive reasoning- such as when a piece of evidence if found on a tall shelf inaccessible to diminutive denizens.
Each bit of clue collection involves playing one of the Guilty Party‘s over fifty mini-games. These micro-diversions range from simple tasks such as using the Wiimote’s IR function to move a stack of bills into a bribe recipient’s hand to scouring a stack of papers for a specific item. Smartly, Guilty Party keeps these mini-games from becoming too lengthy and from repeating too often; load times for also compassionately quick. At the game’s easiest level, each of these challenges are easy enough for my six-year old niece to complete. On higher difficulty settings, even WarioWare veterans will be tested.
The game’s main campaign offers eight chapters, with each case bookended by a pair of charming cinematics. Additionally, players can unlock a mode which randomizes clues, locations, suspects, and yes- the Guilty Party, for supplemental playability. As with the similarly executed Mario Party series, Guilty Party enjoyment is in direct correlation with the number of participants. While the solo experience is somewhat enjoyable, the ability to stymie other participants by stealing movement tokens, locking players in rooms, or making interrogations more challenging is the perfect catalyst for a competitive case.
Considering Guilty Party forgoes any licensed characters, developer Wideload has carefully crafted a game worthy of the Disney moniker in the title. Each of the game’s seven characters offers a distinctive personality articulated by the game’s cinemas as well as the sporadic (and overused) sound bite. The game’s antagonist Mr. Valentine recalls classic Disney villains- he’s cartoonish enough to not stir fright, yet still undeniably sinister. Kudos must be given to the game’s title song, which abstains from the typical electronic touches to offer a catchy, vocalized ditty.
Guilty Party is one of those exceptional diversions, which exhibited the capacity to enthrall a thirty-something male just as much as my twelve and six year-old nieces. Although solitary players won’t experience the game’s well-engineered rivalries, Wii-owning households are encouraged to bask in the title’s charms. With a few more well-polished crowd-pleasers like Guilty Party, Disney Interactive Studios success will refuse to remain a mystery.