A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
There's a positive message here about families playing together and including everyone, regardless of age or experience. Note however that among the realistic sports, there are a few make-believe events that would be dangerous in real life, like sliding toward the edge of a cliff to see who can stop the closest without falling off.
Positive Role Models
These characters are positive role models in that they represent all members of an extended family, from young children to older grandparents, demonstrating how everyone can be active and have fun.
Ease of Play
NOT EASY! These mini-games are very difficult to play, and that is the game's biggest flaw. The instructions are often overly complicated, with multiple button presses and Wii-mote gestures to remember for each mini-game. It's very easy to forget one or more of the controls during an event. The game's AI (Artificial Intelligence) is very good, making it very difficult to win in challenge mode and unlock the 18 (out of 30) events which are hidden at the start. If you want to unlock hidden events, playing with four players is your best best.
Violence & Scariness
In many events, characters can fall down with a yelp, sometimes caused by crashing into one another. One event is a snowball fight; another is a biathlon (combo of skiing and target shooting). In one mini-game, "Penguin Drift," players shoot cannons at drifing ice mounds to knock off polar bears and seals riding on them (no animals are hurt).
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.