Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for preview by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.
Veteran publisher Hudson Soft has been partying for almost twenty years. In 1991, Hudson released Bomberman II on NES, the first in an onslaught of Bomberman games to feature a multiplayer mode. In 1998, Hudson developed the well-received, Nintendo-published Mario Party for Nintendo 64– and, just as with Bomberman, kicked off a series that has spawned eight titles to date, as well as a card game and two portable titles. With Oops! Prank Party, Hudson’s at it again, using its skills honed from Bomberman and Mario Party to create more minigame madness.
Oops! Prank Party features exactly one hundred minigames for up to four people to play, which involve situations ranging from dodging furniture in a haunted house to bumping into other people while rolling on a circus ball. If this sounds a little similar to Mario Party, that’s probably just Hudson’s pedigree at work– but nevertheless, some of the minigames do evoke some semblance of déjà vu, especially with many of the controls shared between games. Like Mario Party 8, also for Wii, Oops! Prank Party‘s minigames are motion-controlled using the Wii Remote. Unlike the minigames in your average Mario Party, however, the minigames in Oops! Prank Party might stump even a hardcore gamer at first try– one minigame in particular has players hit a swinging punching bag before it swings into them, and suffice it to say not even computer-controlled players ever manage to hit the thing. Fortunately, Hudson’s included a practice mode for those who want to win every game, every time.
In fact, it’s the winners who get to take advantage of the Prank Party part of the game. At the end of every minigame, the winner is faced with a screen depicting the other three players running around a spotlight. Whoever the winner picks to be in the spotlight gets saddled with a brand-new outfit– ranging from leopardskin bikinis to cheerleader outfits to fuzzy bunny suits. Outfits remain on players’ avatars until they’re changed again, so it’s rare for anyone to keep the same outfit he or she had on at the beginning of the game. Like the Sting Entertainment-developed, Atlus-published Dokapon Kingdom, pranking players is an integral part of Oops! Prank Party— and makes even the most tedious minigames worth at least attempting to win.
Though Oops! Prank Party doesn’t use Wii’s Mii Channel to fill its roster of players, it includes a surprisingly robust character customization system that in many respects far outstrips the Mii Channel. To be fair, the usual Mii-style customizations remain, with even the head sizes and eyebrow types identical to the Mii Channel’s offerings. However, Oops! Prank Party‘s customization goes even further, with aspects such as clothing and accessories filling out forty or more varied choices, whose sheer variety practically screams at players to spend just as much or even more time in the customization system as they do in the actual game. Of course, even the most painstakingly created outfit can be replaced in a flash with a Geisha outfit if its wearer loses a single minigame– which, points aside, should push the vain to win even more.
As it stands, Oops! Prank Party doesn’t do anything incredibly new, but then again, it doesn’t have to. Yes, it’s a minigame collection for the Wii, and yes, in that respect it’s in quite sketchy company– but Oops! Prank Party, unlike many of those games, has a pretty well-established pedigree. Hudson Soft’s Oops! Prank Party‘s costumes and lighting might not make the average “hardcore” gamer bat an eyelid, but its customization options and, well, pranks, might just make it an alternative to any Mario Party enthusiast. Prospective party animals (and pranksters) should watch for Oops! Prank Party on shelves come October 5, 2010.