Furu Furu Park
Genre: Mini-game collection
Release Date: 01/17/08
Mini-game collections are the hip thing to do now, apparently; ever since Wario Ware hit the scene a few years back everyone looking to make a quick buck has made some sort of game full of mini-games. Aside from the now five Wario Ware titles that are on the market, there a metric ton of others, from Hot Pixel to WTF to the Rabbids series of games and beyond.
And now we have another collection to add to the list with Furu Furu Park. The theme this time around is that FFP is A.) weird and Japanese, and B.) geared towards couples, complete with a Compatibility Test. I don’t know how playing mini-games together tests your romantic compatibility together, but after playing this game I now know that my friends and I are all romantically compatible, which is a wonderful thing to know if I ever wake up gay one morning.
FFP offers you several different ways to get your mini-game on, either alone or with friends. Both single and multi-player formats offer a “Free Mode”Â, where you (or you and a friend) play whatever games you want. There are three other game modes to choose from as well: Single Player mode offers you a Rank Mode, where Bogey the Pig ranks you as a spiritual being based on your performance in a series of mini-games (yes, really), while multiplayer mode offers you Panel Attack (take panels on a board by competing in mini-games) and Love Challenge (the aforementioned Compatibility Test, where AfroLove ranks your romantic compatibility, yes, really). In other words, there’s… enough to do to keep the game interesting, though according to reports the Japanese version of FFP contained a story mode that was excised from the final game; whether that’s the case or not, the game would have benefited from such an inclusion, as it’s only really fun with two players, and even then, it’s not as fun as, say, Wario Ware Smooth Moves.
Visually, FFP is a back-and-forth affair; any time we’re not looking at 3D characters the game looks fantastic, with bright and colorful sprites that are insanely high quality… but any time 3D models are on screen, the visuals suffer for it; they’re still bright and colorful, but they’re also low quality (as in, below Dreamcast 3D). In general, the visuals are serviceable even at their worst, so it’s hard to take exception to the 3D, even if it is poor. The audio is generally very clean, with upbeat music tracks and interesting sound effects, though in the end it’s not really anything exciting or special.
The gameplay in FFP is all over the place, as the controls differ from game to game. Some games require you to hold the Wii-mote vertically (the Umbrella), others require you to hold it horizontally (the Remote Control), and in others you hold it in horizontally in both hands (the Chauffer… sorry, I’m done), like a NES controller. Each game has its own control scheme, and while some do repeat across the total amount of games, there are really only so many control schemes you’re going to be able to get out of the Wii-Mote anyway, so that’s not a big deal. Most of the games play well enough and are generally responsive, and Taito represents their old-school roots with mini-games based on Arkanoid, Pockky and Rocky, and Bubble Bobble thrown in alongside games that involve cracking safes, solving puzzles and throwing chains of muscular afro-haired men across a field.
The problem is that while most of the games control well, not all of them do. The Arkanoid mini-game is a bit over-sensitive at times, Treasure Hunter (dodging bombs and jumping over holes in the floor to collect coins) doesn’t work very well with two players, Super Karate is… awkward to work with (you would think, “Oh, fighting game”Â, but instead you swing the Wii-mote in specific directions to do moves, which is strange and doesn’t work well), and Sushi (twist the Wii-mote to fill sushi orders) just sucks in general. Also, Pocky and Rocky? TOTALLY not like the old-school game, and seriously disappointing in general; apparently Taito made the mistake of thinking Rocky was a little kid in a Tanuki suit, as opposed to an actual Raccoon… I don’t know what to say about this thing. And honestly, only about half of the games have anything to them; more than a few amount to just twisting the Wii-mote in some direction or another or shaking it back and forth, which is fine for something like Wario-Ware (where games last five or ten seconds) but not so much here (where games last two to four minutes or more).
Regardless, FFP is meant to be a cute novelty title more than anything else and does this thing well enough; it’s amusing to play a few times and will probably keep you amused until you’ve played all of the mini-games at least once. It doesn’t have a lot of long-lasting appeal, though; aside from showing friends the absurdity of it all, FFP won’t be back in your Wii much, especially if you own any one of the other, more popular and amusing mini-game based products for the Wii. Most of the games are fairly simple to pick up and play, so adding in a second player is a relatively easy process (they’ll be able to jump right in with no trouble), though some of the games are harder to learn than others. And while the presentation is certainly novel (unless you’ve seen Cho Aniki), the idea is staler than year-old bread, and FFP doesn’t do nearly enough with it to make it new and different. You’ll probably like it if you like these sorts of products, but for people who are sick of mini-game compilations that do nothing new, this game is anathema.
Furu Furu Park is ultimately another mini-game compilation title, and all of the weird presentation elements and odd novelties in the world aren’t going to cover that up. As a value-priced product you could certainly do a lot worse than picking this up, and it’s certainly not bad by any means, but there’s really nothing spectacular here to warrant owning it, either. If you’re a mini-game addict or you have a significant other who is, you’ll have some fun with this; otherwise you’ll get about an hour or two of amusement out of it before putting it on your shelf and forgetting about it.
Game Modes: 5/10
Overall Score: 5.2/10
Final Score: 5.0 (MEDIOCRE).
Short Attention Span Summary
Furu Furu Park is an average experience, no better and no worse. A bunch of cute, amusing mini-games and some amusing stylistic elements make it worth checking out, but a dearth of content and an experience that gets boring after a few hours don’t make it worth much more than that. As a budget title it might not be a bad investment, but if you’re looking for something with a little meat on it, you won’t find it here.