IGN Review of Neighborhood Games
There are two things that younger skewing games shouldn't have: they shouldn't control poorly, and they shouldn't revolve around games that would only appeal to their grandparents. Neighborhood Games has both of these. THQ's casual effort features more than 15 games – or rather, three variations of five different games – that aren't fun mostly due to bad implementation of Wii motion controls. These outdoorsy challenges are bad enough that it'll encourage the kids to ditch the Wii in favor of going outside to play. If that's what you want to do with your youngling, then brother, you've got yourself a purchase.
Each of the five different core games – shuffleboard, shooting hoops, horse shoes, bocce ball and the suicidal lawn darts – use the Wii remote in exactly the same way: line up your shot, take a backswing, and then lob the remote forward while releasing the button. Nintendo's proven this control works and works well in games like Wii Sports bowling, but even to this day third party developers struggle to mirror Nintendo's implementation in its pack-in product.
Neighborhood Games' problem is that it's incredibly inconsistent in registering the throw. You may think you're lobbing it the same way over and over again, but the game begs to differ: many times your throws are harder or softer than the one before it even when you're convinced that nothing changed. There's a power bar on the left to show just how firmly or gently you flicked your arm, but good luck trying to repeat the same throw over and over again. Even worse, unlike other games that attempt to match the Wii Sports model and provide practice swings, it's all or nothing in Neighborhood Games. Every throw counts.
The worst culprit is the basketball challenge – the fact that your position constantly changes all over the court means you can't even use the same throwing motion as the one that might've been successful. It's a constant mess trying to lob the ball into the hoop, so much so that you simply want to toss the Wii Remote in a bin and go outside to do it for real. Not that that's a bad thing at all, but it certainly doesn't speak well for Neighborhood Games' design.
If the controls weren't so damn wonky the game itself wouldn't be so bad. Each of the five games have two other variations that aren't too shabby. Bocce's competitive "throw balls at a giant beach ball" challenge is pretty cool, as is the "sink the other players' ships" mode in Horse shoes. But there are stinkers, like the second mode in Bocce where you have to squash vermin like raccoons, turtles, and skunks with timed throws. But even with the solid game designs, everything comes crashing down thanks to the poor handling of motion sensing.
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