A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Family Party: 30 Great Games Winter Fun is a collection of Wii mini-games. The array of real-life Winter Olympics style events are mixed together with fantasy games. For younger children, it might be important to make the distinction between the genuine possibility of a sport-like luge or speed skating and a made-up game that involves rolling snowballs or sliding penguins. Plus a few were be dangerous if tried in real life. Parents should also be aware that the mini-games in this collection can be very difficult to master and often have complicated, hard-to-follow instructions. It is best played in groups of four.
What's it about?
FAMILY PARTY: 30 GREAT GAMES WINTER FUN is a collection of seasonally themed mini-games. Many are winter sports (bobsled, giant slalom, figure skating, ski jump, curling, and more); others are real winter activities, but not necessarily Olympic sports (snowball fighting, ice climbing, and so on); still others are completely imaginary (knocking Arctic animals off of ice floes, mining Ice blocks for treasure, etc.). The choosable avatars are designed as members of a large extended family.
Is it any good?
Family Party: 30 Great Games -- Winter Fun has play controls as cumbersome and complicated as its overlong title. Mini-games work best when the action is handled by one or two specific buttons or movements, but many of these events have three screens worth of instructions. A prime example: In cross-country skiing, you use the B and Z buttons to steer while going uphill or on flat ground, but you steer by tilting the remote and nunchuk while going downhill. Why two forms of steering in the same mini-game? Some of the more interesting sounding events, like "Penguin Drift," "Santa Claus," and "Wish Upon a Star," are locked and may never even be seen unless someone can get good enough to win the Challenge modes and unlock them all -- which is a tough proposition. If you can handle the difficulty, though, there is a generous selection of events available, and the game has a fun concept and really nice look to it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the mix of fantasy and reality in this game. Which sports can kids try in real life? Which would be too dangerous? Which could never even really happen? Does the mixing of real and imaginary make the game better? Or is it confusing to young kids?
Families can also talk about the avatars used in the game. Do you always choose an avatar that represents your place in the family (mother, son, grandparent, etc.)? Or do you like to put yourself in someone else's shoes when you play?