IGN Review of Six Flags Fun Park
My memories of Six Flags involve roller coasters, Warner Brothers characters, and more roller coasters. According to Six Flags Fun Park for the Wii, my memories should consist of mini-games, child labor, and a lengthy family feud. I'll opt to keep my own memories, but let's talk about what Fun Park forces on players.
Essentially, Six Flags Fun Park is another entry into the plethora of mini-game compilations for the Wii. Fun Park features over forty mini-games, none of which bring anything new to the table. Ski ball, whack a mole, and shooting gallery deviations abound but it has all been done before.
What separates Fun Park from mini-game compilations like Carnival Games (not necessarily in a good way) is its quest system. The Six Flags park is filled with odd characters ranging from goth kids to ghosts of former Six Flags janitors. Interacting with said characters will reward (or punish) you with one of Fun Park's many fetch quests.
The strange thing about these quests is that the vast majority of them do not include any form of a mini-game. Simply tell Planting Pete that Dark Debbie said this or that, rinse and repeat. At the beginning of Fun Park, the end of a quest is usually only a few feet from where it started.
That being said, as you continue further into Fun Park the quests become lengthier. Instead of walking ten feet you'll have to trek across the park to tell a pirate in Hurricane Harbor that the lady in Hometown Square is done with his candy. Every once in a while a quest will require you to play a game to win a certain prize, but rest assured that this is a rarity.
You may find yourself wondering what purpose quests serve in a game devoted to sub par mini-games. The answer is that they are the cheap glue holding a mind numbingly generic story together. Turns out the Mayor of Fun Park had a big falling out with his dad, Fun Park's founder. They haven't spoken to each other in years, and through an unbelievably long series of "talk to this person" fetch quests, you can help heal their relationship.
As tedious as all of this may sound, there is some relative good to come out of the questing. As you delve further into the missions, you unlock new areas of the park which in turn are filled with more run-of-the-mill mini-games. It's a vicious cycle, but at least the quests show some semblance of progression.
Like Carnival Games, tickets are required to play games. Fun Park takes a confusing approach to the ticket system by including an economy based on tickets AND coins. Some games require tickets to play, others require coins. Some games reward you with tickets, and others with prizes. Why not one or the other I'll never know. Both coins and tickets can be found by digging through trash cans, pulling weeds, or performing other menial tasks (all with a few waggles for good measure) throughout the park.
Another way to earn some bank is by working at a food booth. Whether you're fixing pizza or ice cream be warned that the process is lame. Kids walk up to the counter, what they want on their pizza flashes quickly and you have to assemble their pizza as per their request. Use the d-pad to highlight an ingredient, and waggle the remote to put it on the pizza. The same lazy concept is used for the ice cream.
Clothing and accessories can also be found throughout the park. Besides being a way to customize your avatar, clothing plays a role in a handful of quests. If you need some info from the goth kids, you'll have to dress like one. If you want to translate the Merman's gibberish, you'll need the fish translator hat. Developer 7 studios had a chance to tap a semi-interesting vein here, but like everything else in Fun Park, it doesn't add up to much in the execution.
Speaking of characters, Fun Park's cast look like sloppy extras you'd see in the background of a Tim Burton film. All of the children are short, tubby, and bug eyed. There's nothing wrong with going for a distinct look, but Fun Park makes children look like unhealthy, unintelligent zombies. Insert whatever comments you like about the actual state of America's youth, but Fun Park is not doing them a service.
As for the park areas, they manage to play their part. The different areas are appropriately themed: Fright Fest looks like a county fair/cemetery amalgam, and Hurricane Harbor is filled with nautical nuances like pirates and sharks. The layout of the areas however is a blessing and a curse. There are no load screens between park areas, so you can walk from one end of the sprawling map to the other. However, this causes a lot of frame rate issues as areas packed with NPCs will cause the game to momentarily spazz out or worse, freeze up altogether.
While the park itself may be free of loading, accessing any of the carnival games takes up to fifteen seconds to enter and another fifteen seconds to exit. As if the rest of the Fun Park package wasn't depressing enough, imagine the heartache you'll suffer as you wait at an ugly load screen only to find a game that isn't very fun and watch that same ugly load screen on the way out. No wonder the characters in Fun Park look like lethargic undead.
To make sure you're not the only one to suffer through Fun Park's "games," a multiplayer mode has been included. Up to four players can select from individual games, or queue up to ten for back to back plays. The queue system is a nice addition to Fun Park, but you'll be hard pressed to find ten enjoyable games.
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