EA Playground Wii Review
EA Playground is perfect for those who only drag the Wii out for Christmas and other social occasions, which is to say the casual gamer. On the other hand those who obtained all 120 stars on Mario Galaxy with their eyes closed, yeah those of the hardcore variety and probably you reading this, well this most likely won’t appeal to you, let us explain.
If you haven’t already guessed by now (and if not, you’re probably one of those lowly casual types, elitist? Us?) EA Playground is one of those damn mini-game collections that many a Wii owner is sick of the sight of.
The disc contains seven mini-games, none of which are bad and all of which are at their most enjoyable when played with at least two players, though there is a fairly substantial single player mode if you really have to play on your lonesome, which makes you a bit weird.
But to be fair the single player is actually a rather good effort, that for once isn’t just all the games chucked together. The mode gives you a mini sandbox to explore, finding and winning marbles from other kids to purchase additional moves for each of the games,and catching bugs amongst other things. It’s certainly got enough incentives to play it solo, but it doesn’t have enough games to prevent repetition from eventually setting in, so it’s hardly enough of a real reason to buy the game then.
If there’s any reason to buy EA Playground, it’s unsurprisingly the multiplayer, which is rather flimsy in its options but there are tournaments that can be played up to twenty rounds for the real competitive people out there.
The all important games, how do they fare? Ask a lot of voices in this writers head.
Well for starters, the most advertised game Dodgeball (which for some inexplicable reason is the only game to get its name on the front of the box) is amongst the most enjoyable games in the collection and involves throwing balls at each other (get hit by one and you’re out!) by thrusting the remote forward and dodging them by flicking it right or left. It’s also possible to catch incoming balls and doing so can bring back previously eliminated team-mates.
Kicks is also rather enjoyable. This is like Volleyball and football combined and of course the objective of the game is to score a goal, by kicking the ball past your opponents. With all of the moves unlocked, Kicks is certainly one of the deepest games in the collection and perhaps one of the few games that will have any staying power for the more serious of gamer.
Tetherball is also one of the deeper games featured in EA Playground, but also one of the most stamina draining, so that throws that “one more go” appeal straight out of the window for us lazy and unfit types then. The idea of Tetherball, sees a ball attached to a rope and you attempting to hit it successive times as it comes round to your side, but hoping that you opponent misses enough times for you to secure victory. To aid you in your cause are different shot (which is to say smack) types that allow you to send the ball on a higher or lower course. Fast and furious fun.
Slot car racing, whilst mildly enjoyable is easily the worst game in the collection. This is basically a Scaletrix knockoff that tasks you with navigating a car (by tilting the remote) around a track and trying to get past your opponents, by using skilful driving or sneaky power ups.
Wall Ball comes only second to Slot Car Racing on the worst scale and sees you yes, hitting a ball against a wall. Powerups add some spice to proceedings and range from portals that allows you to bring the ball out of a random area in the hope that it will confuse your opponent enough so as to make them miss the shot on their turn, and another that just simply gives your hits of the ball more clout, ouch!
Paper Racers is one of the best uses of the Wii Remotes motion sensing capabilities in this package. You control a paper aeroplane by gently tilting the remote, riding through coloured rings, avoiding obstacles and battling against the time.
Dart Shootout is fairly enjoyable and as the name suggests you shoot things .. with darts. It’s basically like an on rails light gun game. You shoot targets and kids and whilst doing so, you rack up the points.
EA Playground features little in the way of depth, but saying that, the game is obviously aimed at a younger and perhaps more casual audience. The more avid gamer may find that’s it’s not substantial enough for their more demanding needs, and more games would have certainly been nice too. So there you have it, EA Playground is pleasantly enjoyable, if not ocean deep.