Minigame compilations weren't born on the Nintendo Wii, but over the years, it has become a genre that has thrived on the family-friendly console. Despite the sheer number of available minigame compilations, publishers keep pushing them out because the market seems to be willing to pick them up. Hudson Soft, a veteran of these minigame compilations since the Nintendo 64 days with Mario Party, wants to add another entry with Oops! Prank Party.
The preview build had quite a large portion of the game ready to go. Before any games can be played, the player must select an avatar to use. Players can select from a random assortment of generated avatars, or they can create one of their own. The avatar creation process is similar to the one used to create a Mii on the system. You can mess around with a slew of facial features, from the eyes to the nose to the wrinkles on the face. Hair styles and basic head shapes can also be applied, and while the Mii creation system stops there, the avatar system in Oops! Prank Party goes a little further.
You can add different accessories to your avatar's head, including earrings and glasses. Your body also gets some attention, as you can choose different shirt styles, pants and shoes. The other interesting thing about the accessories and clothes is that there are several spots filled with question marks, indicating that more accessories and clothes can be unlocked. It is a pretty deep creation system, and while it is missing the ability to edit your avatar height, it would be nice to see if the game allows for Mii integration instead of limiting users to avatars.
There are a few modes of play available in the preview build, but Board Game mode was unavailable for selection. In Master mode, you take on three other CPU challengers in a series of games centered around a theme, such as acrobatics or balance. Each master challenge takes place across five different games randomly selected to fit that theme. Like any minigame challenge, the objective is to prevail over your opponents by either lasting longer than they do or scoring the most points in a challenge.
The big twist is that there are always consequences for the loser, usually in the form of wearing an embarrassing costume. The level of embarrassment is subjective, though, since some costumes are pretty bad, like a bee outfit, but others look fairly cool, like the Power Ranger-like suit. At the end of the challenge, if you beat any of the masters, you get extra customization pieces for your avatar. The preview build only had three unlocked Master mode challenges, but there are slots available for nine challenges.
The other major mode is Party mode which, like Practice mode, lets you play with up to four people against any of the 100 available minigames. Only 30 are unlocked in the preview build, but they show off a good amount of variety. There are a few standard ones, such as knocking other people out of an arena while riding on large inflatable balls, but there are also some unique games. One of them has you dressed up as bowling pins, and you must try to move out of the way of a large bowling ball. Another has you trying to slice a log in half as it falls down from the sky. The games are unusual but quite fun, as they show off just how much Hudson has learned from its work on the Mario Party series.
Oops! Prank Party will hit store shelves this October. Its biggest competitor is Nintendo's Wii Party, which is coming out around the same time. Wii gamers always seem to be up for a minigame compilation, so we'll see if they have room in their homes for two this fall.
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