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Arts & Entertainment

Fun turns to frustration in '30 (not so) Great Games' titles

| Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The "Family Party: 30 Great Games" franchise has added two more titles in the last several months, and while there have been some improvements from the original, the games continue to be confusing and frustrating.

The "Winter Fun" and "Outdoor Fun" Wii discs offer 12 to 15 games initially. The rest have to be unlocked by winning challenges. We've had the original "30 Great Games" for more than a year now and have unlocked only three other games. I don't anticipate us doing much better with these.

The problem with all three versions is that the instructions for many of the games are confusing. You'll do exactly what it sounds like you're supposed to, and your avatar will either do nothing or do the assigned task very slowly.

For instance, in the "Outdoor Fun" game "Beach Flag" you're supposed to shake the Wii remote to get your character to run as quickly as possible to capture a flag before the other characters get it. Neither my daughter nor I could get our characters to run at any pace faster than a jog, even though I risked carpal tunnel with all the shaking I was doing.

It's one thing to understand the controls, but another to just not be very good at the game. We both enjoyed "Floating Island" in "Outdoor Fun," even though we kept landing in the water when jumping from one island to another. We knew what the goal was and how to get there, we just couldn't accomplish it.

The "Unicycle" game on the same disc had my daughter throwing her remote toward the TV (something I frown upon, of course). But I understood her frustration when our bikes were going nowhere.

That's not to say there weren't some games we enjoyed on these discs. In "Winter Fun," we liked "Slip Drop," where you had to time swinging your ax into the snow to keep from falling off a cliff. Plus, the "Luge" and "Figure Skating" games were entertaining.

And even though we could figure out how to run, throw and tackle in the "Quarterback" game in "Outdoor Fun," we weren't every good at it, but we enjoyed trying.

One plus with these games is that the challenge mode now can be played with more than one player. That way, we can try to unlock more games together. But because the games you play are preselected, you can't pick just the ones you're good at or the ones you like.

I think if you combined all three of the "30 Great Games" discs we own, there would be about 20 games we enjoy and understand.

Additional Information:

'Family Party: 30 Great Games Winter Fun' and 'Outdoor Fun'

Grade: D

Publisher: D3Publisher

Platform: Wii

Genre: Party games

ESRB: Everyone

Retail: $19.99 each

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