Review: Wii Party U

Wii Party U has finally arrived on the Wii U, and whilst there are a number of party games available for the system now, this seems to be the first retail game specifically aimed towards 4 player mini-game action.

Wii Party U flings you straight into its Mii-obsessed world as soon as you fire it up with a parade of out-spoken Mii characters on the start screen spurting their opinions from Miiverse and Mr. Flappy Head himself (the host who returns from Wii Party and Wii Music) giving a few hints about the game.

So what does this new title have to offer? One thing is certain, this isn't going to be a revolution in local multiplayer gaming as it's very similar to the original Wii Party. That's not exactly a bad thing though, as Wii Party did a lot of things right, things that even to this day Mario can't seem to grasp.

Much like the original game, this title is split into 3 main sections. TV Party is the classic Mario Party-type mode whilst House Party and GamePad party focus on having fun with Nintendo's new tablet controller.

TV Party is where you'll be spending most of your time, as it plays host to the classic board style gameplay seen in the previous title. The goal is to get to the end of the board first, with mini-games determining what kind of dice (or how many) you'll get. There are of course a bunch of ways in which things can go wrong, such as landing on a pesky UFO that will abduct you and toss you a few spaces back (after a bit of unnecessary probing, no doubt).

Each board has its own unique play-style and rules. Highway Rollers is the most simple, where you'll mainly use Wii Remotes to play mini-games and have to get to the goal as fast as possible. Mii Fashion Plaza has you waltzing around a board, collecting a bunch of clothes with which you can show off at the end, bagging bonus points if you have a matching outfit.

Wii Party UGamePad Island is probably the most interesting, a remake of the board-game seen on Wii but with added GamePad fun. You'll have to pass the GamePad around, and each player will have to do a short single player game on the GamePad, such as popping a numbered balloon by blowing into the microphone and aiming with the gyroscopes to progress, as oppose to just rolling the dice. It's very interesting and makes a nice change but can sometimes make the gaps between 4-player minigames a bit too long.

The actual mini-games on offer are a mixed bag. There's a load of really fun games, ranging from riding a Mii type rhino around a race track, trying to hide from an angry Ostrich or tilting the Wii Remote from side to side, trying to walk along a progressively thinner cliff edge. Sadly though, there are some games that aren't exactly bad, they're just not all that fun. From finding all the love hearts in a note book to matching the right picture to a speeding car, some of the mini-games are quite clearly just there to bring up the total number of games on offer. For the most part though, the games are fun, inventive and use the Wii Remote in a bunch of interesting ways.

Perhaps the biggest gripe I have with this mode is how the GamePad doesn't really play a huge role. GamePad Island uses it in a bunch of fun ways, but all of the other modes barely use it at all, apart from 1 vs 3 mini-games, most of which seem as though they're trying their best to include the GamePad, rather than it being a great or integral addition.

Outside of the main board games you'll find House Party which, whilst it won't last you as long, is by far the most fun part of Wii Party U. The games in House Party play more like games from Spin the Bottle and Game & Wario. For example, one game will have you all surrounding the GamePad holding hands, dancing in a circle and raising or lowering hands based on what's happening on the GamePad screen. Another called Water Runners has you scooping up water with the Wii Remote from a stream on the GamePad, you then have to run to the TV where you'll have a bucket that needs filling. You have to race the other people playing to fill it as fast as possible whilst not spilling any of the water on the way. It's this kind of silly, yet wildly inventive idea, that brings this game to life.

Wii Party UAll of the games in this section are very inventive and a whole lot of fun, and certainly put some of the mini-games found in TV Party to shame. It's almost a shame they didn't ditch the usual board-game premise altogether and make a whole game filled with the kind of fun and inventive GamePad games seen in House Party Mode. But then, that's part of the Wii Party U problem, it seems to be doing so much and offering so many different modes that it's often hard to tell what direction the game is trying to go in, as proved by GamePad Party.

GamePad Party is the calmer, slow paced paced section of Wii Party U that offers up a bunch of small and quirky games that can be played with just the GamePad, with no TV involved. These games are usually played with each person holding one side of the GamePad, using the analogue sticks to throw and hit a baseball or to play tabletop football. These games are certainly interesting but for the most part aren't innovative or deep enough to warrant too much of your time. These feel more like a few Wii U tech demos thrown in for good measure than actual Wii Party U games and as a result do feel slightly out of place compared to the rest of the package.

Away from those main 3 modes are a bunch of extras, such as a 1-player dojo mode which has you taking out a group of 30 people by completing mini-games, like a slow paced WarioWare, or a tournament mode that lets you climb the ranks as you complete mini-games.

Wii Party UThere's an awful lot on offer here, and whilst none of it is particularly bad, it does sometimes feel as though they went for quantity over quality. With so many different modes on offer, using all sorts of different controller combinations, Wii Party U can sometimes feel a bit lost and can certainly be a bit overwhelming when it comes to choosing something to play. The original Wii Party never had this problem, it had a bunch of core, main modes, all focused on getting the most out of the Wii Remote. Wii Party U, at times, feels like a slightly confused mash-up of three or four different party games, never quite sure what visual style or even controller to make use of.

With more direction and perhaps less content, but more time spent on certain modes, this game could be amazing, as it is though, the sheer amount of content on offer is actually a slight hindrance. Despite this, Wii Party U is still a fantastic title, and one that you'll be playing for many months to come, as the modes that are great really do shine bright and offer some of the best mini-game multiplayer mayhem since the early days of Mario Party.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Wii Party U offers a huge amount of content, but the end product is a mixed bag. The use of the GamePad ranges from great to demo-like, but Wii Party U is still one of the best four-player experiences on Wii U.

  • Gameplay3
  • Playability3
  • Visuals4
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



A bunch of all new mini-games that, for the most part, are a blast to play.
New GamePad uses bring a breath of fresh air to the Wii Party name.
With a large focus on 4 player gaming, this game is a lot more fun with a group of people compared to the likes of Nintendo Land.


The game is slightly too bloated with so many different modes on offer
Some mini-games can be dull or feel as though they're ripped from the Wii game and given a quick lick of paint
There's generally more focus on the Wii Remote than the GamePad.

© Copyright 2024 - Independent Nintendo Coverage Back to the Top