Family Party: Fitness Fun

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Family Party: Fitness Fun Game Poster Image
Poor controls mar lackluster mini-game mix.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game's positive message is one of family togetherness -- parents and children (and grandparents) can have fun playing active, physical games as a group. Some of the particular games sampled here, though, are a bit aggressive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters are mostly harmless, though they are sometimes depicted as looking a bit too sad when they don't win. One character displays poor sportsmanship by shaking her bottom in a taunting manner when she does win. Beyond that, these characters seem to be in it for friendly competition.

Ease of Play

The controls are a real mixed bag. Some mini-games are very easy to handle, other have controls that don't seem to work at all. The tutorials are a chaotic jumble of animated visuals and often unclear text, which makes figuring out just how to play each mini-game the most difficult aspect of the whole experience.

Violence & Scariness

 

In paintball, players shoot guns loaded with paint pellets at one another. In dodgeball, they throw ball at each other, knocking other players to the floor. In another game, one player tries to cross a shaky bridge while the others shoot cannonballs at him. Other games let players hurt one another in cartoony ways, such as a game in which one player rolls a giant ball over her opponents.

Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Family Party: Fitness Fun is a collection of motion-control mini-games. Despite its title, this is not a fitness game. While many (but not all) of the mini-games center around a sport or other physical activity, you don't necessarily have to move a lot to play them.

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What's it about?

FAMILY PARTY: FITNESS FUN is a collection of mini-games that is ostensibly based around family fitness. Many of the activities are sports-themed (volleyball, dodgeball, squash, trampoline, etc.), but some have nothing to do with fitness (like a counting game in which you race to put numbers in order or a game in which you tilt a board to let balls drop into a bucket). The characters are all depicted as members of the same family (you start with a mom, dad, brother, and sister, and can unlock other relatives as you go along).

Is it any good?

Family Party: Fitness Fun is the latest in a franchise of mini-games collections that have all been somewhat lackluster. The amount of games is good -- more than thirty. And the price is nice -- only twenty bucks. But the activities themselves are very blah. Many of them are rather dull and the ones that could be more exciting are marred by frustrating controls. For one mini-game -- in which your avatar eats a lot of food and you are then supposed to shake your controller to exercise your character and burn off the calories consumed -- four players wiggling their remotes like lunatics didn't manage to score a single burned calorie for anybody. Our testers wondered if we were all doing something wrong, but the tutorial was so unclear that we had no idea. This is not to say that the mini-games are all that bad. Some work just fine and even have the potential to be entertaining. But there are far better mini-game collections on the market.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about active gaming. Are motion-controlled video games a true substitute for physical exercise? Does this particular game really promote physical fitness?

  • Also, how often to the parents and children in your family play video games together? Can you use gaming as a chance for family bonding? Do video games help bridge generation gaps?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo Wii
  • Price: $19.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: D3Publisher of America
  • Release date: September 28, 2010
  • Genre: Mini-games
  • ESRB rating: E10+ for Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence

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