A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this compilation of easy-to-learn mini-games is safe for the whole family. Most of its 19 activities are the sort of games that parents and their children might play in their backyard, basement, or local amusement center. Game Party 3 also promotes social gaming, with support for up to four players in some games and tournaments that can accommodate up to 16 players. The only activity parents might want to closely moderate is the trivia challenge. Many of the questions will be too difficult for younger children, and a couple feature references violent acts, including one that asks the player to name the body part that Mike Tyson bit off of his opponent during a boxing match.
What's it about?
GAME PARTY 3 adds eight new activities to the Game Party series, bringing its running total to 19, all of which are available on this game disc. New games include billiards, bumper pool, miniature golf, smack-a-troll, bocce ball, croquet, racquetball, and a remake of an old arcade game called Root Beer Tapper, in which players fill mugs with root beer and then push them along counters to knock down approaching picture cards. As in the first two games, most of the activities come with several variation. Billiards, for example, offers players a choice of 8-ball, 9-ball, or straight pool, while darts lovers can play 301/501/701, cricket, or baseball darts. As usual, players can create their own profiles and character avatars, earn tickets that unlock new avatar options, and enter tournaments for up to 16 players which can range from head-to-head competitions to simpler “loser-go-home” or “winner-moves-on” formats.
Is it any good?
Until now, the Game Party franchise has been one of the better Wii Sports knock-offs, offering plenty of variation, pick-up-and-play controls, and good multiplayer options. And, to be sure, all of these statements hold true for the series’ third iteration. Controls are boiled down to a simple illustration displayed while each game loads, and we’ve been given plenty of different ways to play each of our favorite games, alone or with others.
The problem with Game Party 3 is that it offers only a handful of new games, and most of these games aren’t very much fun. Billiards is too imprecise to let players do any sort of satisfying strategizing, smack-a-troll is too simple to be fun for more than a couple of minutes, and mini-golf is just plain glitchy. The two best additions are bocce ball and croquet, both of which do a decent job mimicking their real-world counterparts. But do two new games make a $30 upgrade worthwhile? Game Party 3 is a decent value if you don't own either of the previous games, otherwise not so much.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it takes to throw a successful video game party. This game offers tournaments for up to 16 players, but not all of those players will be playing at the same time. What could be done to keep people interested between turns? Perhaps they could play the real-world versions of some of the games and compare their performance? What sort of game-themed food and refreshments might you provide?
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