While you may imagine from the name that a lot of the games would at least be fitness related, you'd be mistaken. Yes, there are a fair few sporting mini games, and all the character wear tracksuits, but unless you count getting balls into boxes at the bottom of the screen by tilting a Wii remote as fitness, then there's nothing of the sort.
Instead, Family Party Fitness Fun is a number of motion controlled mini games, ranging from skydiving, to dodgeball, and from fencing, to a mine cart riding target game, that, while fun, aren't all that easy to get the hang of. Before you begin each mini game, you'll be presented with a screen that prompts you to press 1 for more information. Press it, and you'll be presented with a few paragraphs of text explaining what you've got to do. The only problem is, it doesn't tell you how to do it. If you want to get that, you'll have to press another button, to be taken into the tutorial mode, which has you actually playing the game while it attempts to explain the controls at the side. The problem is, rather than explaining them simply, the side has a list of the various inputs this mini game uses (shaking the Wii Remote, pushing the +Control Pad, etc), and slowly, slowly scrolls through them, telling you what each one does.
It's not the greatest of starts, especially as a lot of the minigames are intrinsically confusing. A helpful tutorial or explanation before you got going would have gone a long way, but instead you're left practically floundering. It doesn't help that several of the minigames seem completely illogically designed. One game, which sees you controlling a board that's strapped to a giant rotating wheel, as you attempt to angle your board to guide a number of balls that are falling from the sky into various buckets at the bottom of the screen is particularly confusing. With blue, red, green and yellow boards representing the blue, red, yellow and green characters, and a collection of blue, red, green and yellow buckets at the bottom of the screen, you could be forgiven for expecting you'd have to guide the balls into the buckets of the same colour at the bottom of the screen. Nope. Instead, it doesn't matter which bucket you get them into at the bottom - the only thing the colour represents is the amount of points you'll net from each one.
Causing further problems is the way that while certain games require only a Wii Remote, others require a Nunchuck as well, but the game doesn't bother making the distinction between them. All this means is, if you don't have enough Nunchucks to go round, but still want to play, you'll often find your progress coming to a halt, because instead of greying out the minigames you can't do, the game lets you choose the minigame, loads it, and then refuses to go any further, or let you do anything, until you plug in a Nunchuck - which you may not have. The only way to get round it is to remove the batteries from the controller, and for that player to sit out.
It's not that Family Party: Fitness Fun is a particularly bad game, either. The mini games, once you get your head around them, are fun, but there's nothing that makes it stand out, and the problems make it more than a little bit annoying. Once you've got your head around the glitches and problems, you can have a pretty good time - and we quickly decended into laughter, but you really need a Nunchuck each if you don't want to have a play session that keeps getting disrupted. With Wii Party offering 80 mini games to Fitness Party's 30, the number of mini games on offer also initially seems a bit disappointing, until you see that the game comes with an RRP of £19.99, and can be easily found for £15 online, which makes a bitter pill that much easier to swallow.
If you have enough Nunchucks to go around, and are willing to sit through the initial steep learning curve as you figure out what to do, you may get some fun out of this. Those with a single nunchuck, or little patience should steer clear.
- Mini games are fun when you get into them
- Budget RRP
- Another use for the balance board.
- Doesn't tell you when you need a nunchuck.
- Poor explanations.
- Mini games need unlocking.
Recommended for: 6 and up
For more information, please see the parental perspective
Fun mini games, let down by poor explanation.