For those of you who are familiar with Nintendo's Mario Party series (the latest of which being Mario Party 8), Nintendo's latest foray into the party/board game/mini games genre will seem very familiar. Indeed, for those of you like us, who spent many, many afternoons wandering round the brightly-coloured, themed boards, collecting coins and stars, and playing (in my case very badly) the mini games it threw at you after each set of turns. In short, Mario Party - along with Super Smash Brothers - became one of the staples of our Nintendo gaming sessions.
Wii Party proves to be very similar to Mario Party - but without the lovable Mario, Peach, Donkey Kong and friends, preferring to use your Nintendo Mii instead. Featuring 13 different modes and nearly 80 different mini games, Wii Party has plenty to be going on with - some of which are House Party, where your living room becomes as much of a part of the game as the Wii and TV; Pair Games, where you can work together with a friend co-operatively and Party Games, which include (but aren't limited to), the very Mario Party-esqe Board Game Island.
The House Party games try to use your living room as well as the Wii console - the Hide 'n' Hunt game is pretty much Wii Remote hide and seek - one person hides the Wii Remote somewhere in the room, then the remaining people must search for it. Helpfully (or maybe not so helpfully), the Wii Remote periodically makes noises to try and help your friends locate it. Time Bomb involves passing the Wii Remote round without shaking it too much, so that the bomb doesn't go off - I'm sure I'll be really good at this one... Not...
Party Games is heavily inspired by Mario Party - in Board Game Island and Globe Trot, players navigate a board and play mini games along the way. There's also a version of Bingo, with the numbers replaced by Mii characters.
If you prefer to work co-operatively rather than competitively, then the Pair Game mode is for you. Work together in Balance Boat with a friend to place Miis on a boat so that they balance and don't end up going for a paddle, or play a mini game together in Friend Connection to see how well you perform as a team, and get a rating for how close the two of you are.
If we've piqued your interest in Wii Party, you'll want to know that it launches in the UK on the 8th October - until then, stay tuned for when we return from the gaming expo Gamescom in a week's time, when we'll have a hands-on preview.