Developer: Taito/505 Games
Release Date: January 17, 2008
It is time to accept the undeniable truth: The day of the compilation has arrived. So many companies have decided that their past successes are good enough for them, so they've taken the easy way out by putting together a series of old titles and packaging them for the nostalgia gamer. Some of them, like Atari Classics for the PSP, are excellent efforts that bring the experienced gamer back to yesteryear and draw newer players into a time they never knew; such offerings build upon the established appreciation with new and innovative ways to play the older titles. Some are merely decent, like the 18 trillion Namco Museum titles; they do nothing to grow the company's portfolio, but they are largely accurate ports of older titles and offer a fairly pleasant pastime for a fairly decent price. And then there's Furu Furu Park ....
It is important to note that Furu Furu Park wants so very, very badly to be Wario Ware. Most of the games that are available for play are fairly brief, especially if you make a mistake, but whereas the aforementioned Nintendo hit managed to capture the gamer's attention, Furu Furu Park utterly fails to captivate. Lazy design, poor production values and lackluster performance on every level are all factors that are sure to make this abomination go down in history as one of the worst titles produced for the Wii. This is true for a variety of reasons, each of which saps some of the fun out of your gaming experience.
First of all, Wario Ware was full of microgames. They generally took five seconds or less and offered very little opportunity to recover from one game to the next, keeping players on their toes and helping them to ride an adrenaline rush for as long as they could sustain their reflexes. Taito's fractured little gem offers minigames, many of which last up to 90 seconds. This would not be a problem, except that one key element was forgotten: Minigames are generally not satisfying enough to warrant play for an extended period of time. They're usually constructed as a means by which players can escape the standard gameplay of a full-fledged title for a minute or three, breaking up any sense of monotony and improving the overall quality of the game.
Wario Ware's solution was masterful, allowing the player limited exposure to one of an enormous variety of microgames for a few seconds at a time, then rushing on to the next one with barely a second given to catch one's breath. Furu Furu Park, on the other hand, frequently forces players to slog through 90 seconds of an arduous game with shaky controls. By the time 30 seconds of frantic flailing have gone by, you will be pleading for the minigames to end in order to spare you further suffering.
Secondly, Wario Ware had excellent controls. Regardless of how quickly the game might be moving, you had complete and accurate control over your hand, character, stick or what have you. This unfortunate spiritual successor's controls are, on the other hand, shaky and inaccurate. Whether enduring the poor response time (death to a rhythm game) in "Rev the Engine," the shoddy pedal motion detection of "Bird Man," or the utter failure of the game to accurately tell you when to launch your teammates in "Hammer Throw," each individual minigame seems to have some dire flaw in its control scheme that siphons out any potential joy.
I was really looking forward to "Arkanoid" and "Camel Maze," having enjoyed the former as a child and the latter in one of Taito's more recent compilations, but ... they don't work. No amount of wiggling the Wiimote in the manner described onscreen — or in any other manner, for that matter — has any effect whatsoever. That's right, some of these games simply don't work. I can forgive unreliable controls to a certain degree, but when some of your games are absolutely unplayable in any way, that speaks of a lack of quality that will grate at even the most patient of gamers.
"But Istanbul," I hear some of you saying, "surely this game has some redeeming qualities." How about the graphics? Well, they look right at home on an early-generation PlayStation 2 game … and that's in some of the better-illustrated games. Many of them would have been entirely plausible on the Super NES, a system that came out before a good portion of games was even born. The sound is marginal at best, with weak design and endless repetition, often with the same effect being used in a bunch of different minigames. The only music that stands out is in the five-game mode, and even that is irritatingly repetitive enough that you will find yourself frantically speeding through the text in order to make it stop that much faster.
As for replayability, there are really only three modes of play. One allows you to pick your game and play it, giving you up to a minute and a half of setting a high score. One pairs you with an irritating and condescending pig that forces you to choose five minigames, and then runs you through them and judges your score in what appears to be a completely arbitrary fashion and assigns you a species based on your performance ... or the phase of the moon, I could never really be certain.
And then there's the two-player mode. I assure you that if you manage to coerce, bribe or otherwise force a friend into playing this game with you, you are not being any kind of friend to the person in question.
Between painful gameplay that runs the full gamut from "marginally responsive" to non-functional, incredibly shallow options for play, and a fundamentally flawed concept that should have been left in shreds on a meeting room floor somewhere, Furu Furu Park manages to disappoint on every level. This game's price point is $20, and I think it's an abysmal value even at that price. Leave this one on the shelf, or you are part of the problem.
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