IGN Review of Block Party
Step into the shoes of a young child for a moment. Your redneck father decides he wants you out of the house for a while, so he takes a chain, ties up you and your friends, and hangs you upside down from a tree in the back yard. Just for laughs, underneath each of you he places a genetically altered, man eating cactus, closer to which you are slowly being lowered. Upon escaping, one of your friends is quickly eaten by the neighbor's giant dog. It's a terrifying experience indeed; and just a couple of the many bizarre mini-games found in Activision and Ivolgamus' Block Party for Wii.
Ok, so maybe my imagination filled in a few details there, but these games are most certainly strange. In one mini-game, you'll be spinning the remote to throw a bag of toxic garbage into your neighbor's yard. In another you'll shoot pastries at a boy rolling around in a tire. In "The Magical Fruit" mini-game, you'll shake the remote to drink soda. Upon finishing you'll be launch into the air with a release of gas, collecting toys along the way. In "Slobber Slammer", mentioned earlier, you have to save your friend who is trapped in a giant dog's mouth. You'll shake the nunchuck to hit it over the head with a teddy bear, and shake the Wii remote up and down to pry the beast's mouth open. I don't know if it was intentional, but this game had me laughing out loud more than once. I think the developers knew exactly what type of game they had on their hands, and decided to have as much fun with it as they could get away with.
Unfortunately, the silly themes are the game's only redeeming quality. As is customary with these compilations, most of the mini-games come down to flailing the Wii remote faster than the next guy. Some will have you making timed button presses, or shooting at the screen, but it's all stuff we've seen before, and it's not all that fun. There are 20 games, but you can easily experience everything the package has to offer in less than an hour. Young children could probably have fun with it if they play with a friend, but that doesn't say much; kids can have fun with anything.
The presentation is typical shovelware. The graphics fall somewhere between bad and awful, but for a game like this, I guess it doesn't really matter. The backgrounds are the worst offenders, with blurry textures and extremely simple geometry. Thankfully characters do look a little better. They're cartoony; colorful and shiny; reminiscent of old claymation in a way. They may not be fantastic, but it is nice to see a game not trying to rip-off Wii sports for once.
As another oddity though, there's also one mini-game that instructs you to do the wrong thing. In "Balloon Rescue" you are told to shoot the balloons of your opponents, when you're actually supposed to shoot your own. It didn't take long to figure out, but a mistake like this really shouldn't have made it into the final version. An odd oversight, but worth mentioning all the same.
While I'm on the topic of presentation, there's one last thing worth mentioning. The box art shows images of all sorts of games like horseshoes, Frisbee, beanbags, and lawn darts. Just to make something clear, not a single sport shown on the cover appears in the game in any way. If you're buying this game because you're a nut for a good game of beenbags, you might want to reconsider.
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