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Wii Review - 'Calvin Tucker’s Redneck Jamboree'

by Dustin Chadwell on Feb. 15, 2009 @ 2:58 p.m. PST

Zoo Games' Calvin Tucker's Redneck Jamboree is a multiplayer party game featuring a comic, cartoonish art style, a healthy dose of redneck humor, and a series of ludicrously slapstick competitions.

Genre: Party/Mini-Game
Publisher: Zoo Games
Developer: Zoo Games
Release Date: December 19, 2008

Calvin Tucker's Redneck Jamboree for the Wii isn't misleading you with the title. It is, in fact, one of the worst mini-game compilations I've played on the Nintendo system, and that's saying something considering how many there are available at this point in time. Everything from the art style, music, graphics and most importantly, gameplay, is either bland or absolutely ugly, and it was hard for me to find many redeeming qualities in the title during my play thru. Even worse was trying to sucker a few other people into playing with me to try out the multiplayer aspect, which in the end ended up being a waste of time anyways.

Redneck Jamboree is a series of mini-games that are at least mostly original in how they play out, but the overly rampant potty humor takes a lot of the appeal out of the fun. Additionally, most of the mini-games end up being a chore to play because of some lackluster control schemes or controls that don't feel responsive enough to pull off the design.

When the game begins, you're given the option of playing the Jamboree mode, which can either consist of four mini-games that you select beforehand, or you can opt to cycle through every available game. There's also a quick play mode that allows you to take on one mode at a time, and finally an in-game store that allows you to unlock a few more of the mini-games, provided you have enough of the in-game currency to purchase them.

Once you make your selection, you then select the amount of players; Redneck Jamboree supports up to four players with local play only. Also note that the title doesn't take into account whether each player has his or her own Wiimote/Nunchuk setup, so you're apparently forced to switch one controller back and forth between each player. None of the mini-games involve any kind of 3-on-1, or 2-vs.-2 action, so you end up playing every single game by yourself and just comparing scores. Like I said, the title isn't particularly fun, and its approach to multiplayer just underscores that shortcoming.

Finally, players can select their on-screen characters to control, starting with four initial variations and a few unlockables. They really, really try too hard to hammer home the whole "redneck" theme, so every character seems annoying and way over-the-top, including their names (one is actually called Billy Bob). They also share animations depending on whether they're female or male, and the whole design just feels lazy and cheap. Granted, this is a budget title, but they haven't even bothered to mask the fact that this was made on a shoestring budget.

Once the entire preliminary setup stuff has been taken care of, it's time to start the game proper. The first player will take his or her turn, and the mini-games are played out in the order in which you selected them. Each player takes a turn, and depending on the game being played, you'll either try to beat the previous player's score or time. Once all of the rounds are finished, the winner is determined, and then the end round points are divided up. Like in other mini-game titles, or even racers, the most points are given to the winner, and then you subtract two points for each player until you get to last place. It's a system used to keep things fair, and it works as well here as it does anywhere else.

What types of games can you expect to be playing in Redneck Jamboree? Obviously, they're all "redneck" themed, and the majority of them employ juvenile humor. For instance, one mini-game is a variant on traditional horseshoes, but this time you're in the middle of a trailer park lot, with a plunger serving as the pole, while you toss toilet seats instead of horseshoes. There's a small red circle drawn out across the dirt surrounding the plunger, and if you manage to at least get the toilet seat within this circle, then you score some points. The Wiimote is used to control this mini-game, but others may also require the use of a Nunchuk. This game requires you to make a movement similar to throwing actual horseshoes, but there isn't really an accurate way of figuring out how hard or soft you need to make your movement. The use of an on-screen meter would have been useful here, since the animation your character provides is apparently just a default movement and doesn't mimic your actual throw, as you'd see in Wii Sports. Instead, you must make guesses about how you should throw or how to adjust your aim, and the lack of any feedback (other than where your toilet seat lands) is so frustrating that it prevents the game from being fun.

Obviously, there are more mini-games than just toilet seat-tossing. You have one that puts you in control of a lawn tractor as you accelerate along a track from an isometric view. You're only allowed to move into the left, right or middle "lanes" to avoid a variety of obstacles. If you manage to hit a small animal, you shed a little bit of time, but hitting any object will bring you to an instant halt. In a small attention to detail, I found it funny that they used rabbit and turtle symbols to show how fast your lawn tractor's going (anyone who's operated a riding lawnmower will understand the reference).

Another event has you tossing dynamite into a lake to try and "catch" as many fish as possible, while another puts you into first-person view with a flashlight equipped as you try to find the local outhouse in the dark, all before your urine-filled meter runs out. Along the way, you can encounter a few different animals that will scare the … well, y'know, out of you, causing the meter to run down even faster. Also, your flashlight isn't particularly reliable so it will occasionally flicker and go dark, causing you to shake the Wiimote to turn it back on again.

While the mini-games might actually sound decent or inventive on paper, the reality is that the majority of them are a chore to play. A lot of this has to do with the control scheme, which is too cumbersome for certain events, and sometime the on-screen actions don't seem to match up very well with what you're trying to do at home. Bundle that with some really poor visuals, a pretty awkward art style, and some of the worst fake banjo music I've ever heard, and you're hard-pressed to even give the title a try, much less be motivated to rack up the bottle caps (awarded after each jamboree) needed to unlock all of the mini-games and extra character content.

If you enjoy playing the various mini-game titles available already on the Wii, then I highly suggest you avoid Calvin Tucker's Redneck Jamboree. The gameplay is abysmal, and the overall content isn't particularly inspiring or funny, beyond some goofy references. There are far better mini-game titles available on the system, and while this game is budget-priced, this is definitely an instance where you get what you pay for.

Score: 3.0/10

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