“It’s a Dead Man’s Party, who could ask for more…”
The Wii has no shortage of minigame compilations; between the Rayman Raving Rabbids series, Wii Sports, Wii Play, Carnival Games and Circus Games, the genre is well-represented on Nintendo’s console. Clearly, an upstart could do worse that mimic the Raving Rabbids trilogy; all three titles are exemplars of bite-sized game anthologies, with their amusing gameplay and wacky humor.
As the second collection of minigames in Ubisoft’s Family Fest line, Movie Games unabashedly imitates the Rabbids model. From the simple Wiimote gestures used in the title’s twenty games, to the parody of Hollywood epics, Movie Games has the distinctive feel of a Raving Rabbid game. Unlike most other compilations, it has much of the polish, but it also lacks the game’s diversity.
When players start the game, they are presented with two options: solo play and multiplayer; which accommodates up to four gamers. Later, a tournament mode is unlocked after winning ten gold statues in the solo campaign- the game’s ‘Oscar’-esque currency. Movie Games uses five popular film genres for level motifs- from a pirate ship to an Inca temple. Within each of these films are four minigames- three are available at the start, with one unlockable.
Each of Movie Games’ twenty diversions are conceptually simple and feature an intuitive use of the Wiimote. The goals of each minigame are overwhelmingly simple, although optional instructions are available for any uninitiated participants. While each of the games are enjoyable, there is a frustrating amount of overlap in the Movie Games listings. The disk contains four versions of Bejeweled; only one offers any actual gameplay variation, the other differ solely through graphical motif. Due to the similarity between diversions, Movie Games ends of feeling a bit shallow.
Walking the plank never looked so darn cute.
From the title’s variations on shooting galleries, rhythm-based music games, and shake the Wiimote contests, only two minigames presented any control difficulties. The object of ‘Marathon Mars’ is to position your on-screen persona between two moving laser blasts. By shaking the Wiimote, your avatar runs faster, while holding it still slows their speed. Regrettably, these binary speed controls were ineffective and caused a bit of frustration for younger gamers. While ‘Romancing the Lost Jewels’ instructed players to hold the Wiimote in a vertical position to remove a grappled gem, we found shaking the controller worked much better. With the exception of these two niggling quirks, control was otherwise precise and instinctual.
One of the title’s strongest suits is its art direction. Characters are drawn is a whimsical, cel-shaded style, and are complemented by the game’s charming backdrops. Nearly every character in the game is animated in an energetic style; avatars even dance during the title’s brief loading screens. Each minigame is bookended with short animation sequences, which while not memorable, are smile inducing. Even younger gamers may recognize Movie Games’ homage to the Pirates of the Caribbean, James Bond, and Indiana Jones films.
Overall, Movie Games is a capable family friendly diversion. With its thirty-dollar MSRP and uncomplicated gameplay, casual gamers may the drawn to the title. Potential purchasers should be aware that while the disk advertises, “20 party blockbusters”, the title feels like more four variations of five games. Still, the games offered on the disk were enjoyable and polished. Movie Games should keep mixed audiences amused for a few hours; in the end, it’s probably cheaper than taking the family to the real multiplex.