There are a lot of party games coming out at the moment in time for Christmas, probably to relieve the boredom of watching another Queen’s Speech or episode of Only Fools and Horses on the big day. I’ve played a few recently and the latest one to come through my door is EA Playground. Now let me get straight to the point and tell you this one is just for kids. It’s not even as if adults will find something they like here because the game works on two levels like the Simpson’s. The basic premise is you select your big headed character, then walk around the school playground challenging people to different games. Win, and you collect stickers to go in your sticker book, letting you unlock new special games to play and characters to play as and against.
There are 7 games to play in total and these vary in enjoyment. A quick list of them is slot car racing, dart shootout, dodge ball, wall ball, kicks, paper racers and tetherball.
These games all involve a combination of button presses and shaking your controller about to play the games. Dodge ball is just like you saw in the movie with three players per team trying to hit each other with their balls – tetherball is basically swing ball, kicks plays like volleyball but with the feel and goals at each end of the court and paper racers lets you steer a paper plane round obstacles by tilting the Wii remote.
Up to four players can play at once and like most party games, it’s playing with others that will probably be the most fun, even for the kids. Playing alone lets you walk round the playground and gives you extra tasks and small missions to play out but playing the mini games alone is boring at the best of times. It’s not even like there’s any humour to keep you going like in the Raving Rabbids games.
However, young children will like this game thanks to the big, colourful graphics and marble and stickler collecting to be found in the single player game. I can also see them using the remotes to hit each other on the head if they lose like kids do when they’re being unruly.
The highlight of the game is Dart Shootout, which plays like a lightgun shooting game and this, as well as the paper racers game, is the only time the Wii remote comes into its own. The rest of the time, a simple button press would do for most of the controls.
Still, kids will like it but this is definitely not one adults will enjoy playing too. If they’ve got friends or siblings, great, just don’t get involved if they ask you to join in unless you can stomach it. EA Playground gets an average 5 out of 10.