Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Review: Vacation Isle Beach Party for the Wii
So I'm all in favor of games for kids that get them up off the couch, too. Which is why I was happy to agree to review Vacation Isle Beach Party for the Wii for the site.
Developed by FarSight Studios, creator of the highly successful Game Party series, Vacation Isle: Beach Party keeps the party going by letting families and friends compete in exciting land or sea-based activities. Along the way, players collect hundreds of Sand Dollars that can be used to purchase a wide variety of sports accessories and beach gear from the Surf Shack to uniquely personalize their Vacation Isle avatar.
The concept is simple. Up to four players can compete in eight vacation-style games, ranging from wakeboarding to surfing and even fire dancing(!). Kids can use the Wii Remote™ and Nunchuck, or the (optional) Wii Balance Board accessory for a more engaging experience.
Stand-Up Paddling was also a breeze after my workouts; no problem there.
Slalom Skiing thwarted me, though. Even on the EASY level, I could only get through two of the three levels.
When I also had trouble with the Ski Jump, I called on my seventeen year-old son to try it out. He is what the other kids call a "G" (kinda shorthand for godly)--pretty much masters the controls and the strategy for every video game the first time he plays it.
Though he naturally did much better than I did, he found the controls for this activity awkward as well. I think this one would be quite difficult for the younger kids, and I could see pre-teens really getting frustrated and giving up on it.
Needless to say, Stunt Park, which incorporates several of the activities, was beyond my ability as well. I think with practice, though, an adult could master all of the activities.
Families can play the game together.
Uses just the Wii Remote™ and Nunchuck, or you can (optionally) add in the Wii Balance Board to get your entire body in motion.
Customizable Avatars: With a variety of character profiles, you can select and accessorize a character that fits your style.
Awards and Sand Dollars (used to purchase beach gear and equipment) make challenges more enticing. I was able to outfit my (fit and pretty) female avatar with board shorts, matching tankini top and shoes by the time I was done trying out the game.
Accessible Fun: Adjustable difficulty settings help balance the fun for players of all skill levels. Although I disagrre with the assumption that "Even the tiniest beachgoers can join in the fun with the game’s easy pick up and play features," as advertised, I do think the adjustable difficulty settings mean older and younger siblings can play along with Mom and Dad.
Set on a fictional island, makes for a lovely virtual environment for the game.
Confusing controls. Even with the tutorials included in the game, some of the activities are, in my opinion, just too challenging for the younger kids, especially when you consider that the cute avatars and awards seem geared to this demographic.
I would have liked to have seen more than eight activities (Slalom Skiing, Wake Boarding, Surfing, Stand Up Paddling, Ski Jump, Stunt Park and Hula and Fire Dancing). Stunt Park is just an extension of the other seven, and Hula and Fire Dancing are basically the same thing with different accessories. I can think of lots more activities that would be a good fit for this game right of the top of my head: beach volleyball, jet-skiing, snorkelling or scuba diving are just a few that come to mind. I feel they missed the ball by just throwing a few together for the game.
RELEASE DATE: June 2010
PUBLISHER: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
DEVELOPER: FarSight Studios
ESRB RATING: RP
GENRE: Party Game
Viv's overall take: Vacation Isle Beach Party for the Wii offers activities the whole family can play together, in a great setting with fun, customizable avatars and rewards to keep the game interesting. You don't need to have a Wii Balance Board to play, but if you do, you can use your whole body and really get some exercise while playing. However, some of the activities and controls are just going to be too frustrating for younger players, and with only eight activities, the game's replay value is really limited.
I received a free copy of Vacation Isle Beach Party for the Wii to facilitate this review.
at 10:26 AM