M&M’s Beach Party
Genre: Party Game
Developer: Digital Embryo
Publisher: ZOO Games
Release Date: 03/17/09
The average gamer is far too spoiled in this day and age. Every time you turn around, it seems like a good to fantastic game gets released. There are so many well produced titles like Super Mario Galaxy, World of Goo, Zack and Wiki, and so on that sometimes I have a hard time just catching up on games I’m interested in. After playing one great title after another it is easy to forget that it is hard to create a good game.
M&M’s Beach Party is not a good game.
That’s exaggerating the facts a little. M&M’s Beach Party is barely a playable game.
The outer package uses one of the biggest cons that developers use for selling Wii games to parents. It insists that there are actually six games inside. OMG! For the price of one game you are getting six! It doesn’t matter that all six are short mini-games that stretch out the definition of interactive entertainment – there are six of them!
The game doesn’t even give an explanation for WHY the M&M’s are hanging out at the beach. I guess the thought that you are helping promote your fellow M’s to be eaten by the mouthful is a satressful one; so much so that they have to take a vacation on a deserted island. When you start the game you are asked to create a profile and assign your favorite M as an avatar. Does anyone have a favorite M? Do you choose your favorite M by selecting how tasty you assume the M to be? I did. I went with Orange since I assume him to be the peanut butter one.
Then the game starts out on what is apparently a beach. I say apparently because the graphics of the game are so bad you’ve got to imagine that this stretch of off-white pixels is a beach. The graphics are something you would expect if the Nintendo 64 went on a tequila bender and puked this up. Seriously, is this a port of the DS version of the same game? The only way that you can tell this is a beach is because there some ugly trees and some jagged looking shells are littered everywhere. The island is surrounded by what I think is meant to be water. In actuality the island is surrounded by a flat surface of two different blue colors that shift around.
I’d recommend buying this game so the developers can afford some Lasik eye surgery.
Once you get over the dramatic attack on your vision, you can wander around using the beach as a hub to unlock the various mini-games. Unless you are playing with a friend, all of the games will force you to play against an AI opponent. These games include:
Skeeball: Everyone’s favorite boardwalk pastime. Remember Wii Sports Bowling? Imagine that with far worse motion controls. I had a hard time trying to figure out how far to move my arm back in order to throw farther. Oddly, arcing my arm all the way back seemed to cause the ball to go a shorter distance than arcing my arm partially back. I’m not sure how that works. This is an exercise in frustration until you can figure out exactly how far you are supposed to move your arm back. Once you have figured that out you just line up the same shot everytime without fail.
So it’s like Skeeball, but without any skill.
Ring Toss: There are buoys. In order to win this one, you just select the farthest buoy then make a frisbee throwing motion as hard as you can while holding B. That’s all this game takes to win.
Colornator: Hey, it’s a target shooting game! This game is all about shooting gray M&M’s with your color to turn them into red/orange/whatever colored M&M’s. The player with the most colored M&M’s wins. Mini-games like this are the reason why lightgun games like House of the Dead: Overkill come with a way to calibrate the onscreen crosshair. The aiming for this game just feels off. After a while you will just correct yourself automatically. From there, it’s simply pointing and shooting at the same area that a couple of gray M&M’s pop out from.
Mr. Runch Slam: You know those carnival games where you hit a ball into a cup? This is the M&M equivalent. Here you use the Wii remote like a hammer to knock Mr. Runch into different colored pads. This game would just be bland if the motion controls worked well for it, but they don’t, so every time you play this mini-game it becomes an interesting test to see what motions the game does register and what motions it doesn’t.
Volleyball: This is probably one of the worst games on the whole disk, if only because it lasts the longest. The motions for serving the ball in no way correlate to motions you would use while playing real life volleyball. As well, the game is sensitive about what motion you do use for serving, so even if you do manage to serve the ball, there’s a good chance it will never make it to the other side of the net.
Passing and setting the ball up are supposed to be two different motions along with different presses of the A or B buttons, but just shaking the controller works just fine. Actually just shaking it works better than attempting to follow the directions. While attempting to play the game using the instructions I think I made up a few new swear words that might not have existed before now.
During the game you can unlock more modes and one locked mini-game by collecting shells. There are twenty shells scattered in around the twelve feet of the island. It took me less than ten minutes to find them all. These extra modes include adding additional challenges to games like Mr. Runch Slam and Ring Toss by adding moving targets or for hitting specific color combinations. These do not make either of these games more fun to play. Considering the game has flawed motion control it sometimes makes these games worse. However, you need to collect all twenty shells to play the Kayak Race.
You know what? Even if you’re the type of sick person who likes to inflict pain on themselves so you decided to buy this game, don’t collect the twenty shells. Kayak Race is a broken mess of a mini-game that requires you to make a motion with the Wii Remote in order to paddle faster. Except four out of eight times the game will not register the motion, even if it’s the same motion every single time. Even if you do manage to move your arm in the correct motion, the computer manages to paddle in a way that gains more speed than you can.
If that wasn’t enough, there are a few other design ideas thrown in to piss a person off. Unless you pause the game and choose to save, the game doesn’t save your progress. This of course is not mentioned in the manual or in the game. It will take most people about an hour to play through all of the mini-games and find all of the shells.
After two years into the lifespan of the Nintendo Wii, you’d think that developers would at least have enough of a grasp of the system to create a poor mini-game collection that worked the way it was supposed to. Wii Sports is ten times the game that this is and it comes packed in with the system.
For the love of all that is holy, is it too much to ask that from now on that games released to the Wii system be better than the tech demo that comes with the system?
Final Score: AWFUL GAME
Short Attention Span Summary:
There is more entertainment value to watching a $20 bill burn than there is in playing this game. Buy it for your children if you want them to feel unloved. The game is so bad, I don’t like even eating M&M’s anymore.