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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Go Vacation is a casual sports game for the Nintendo Switch consisting of a number of mini-games and exploration activities. The game was originally released on the Nintendo Wii and has now been ported over to the Nintendo Switch with a slightly enhanced presentation and updated controls. The game promotes friendly competition and teamwork while also encouraging outdoor activities. The controls are simple to pick up for gamers of nearly any age. Although there's plenty of competition between characters, there's very little violence; it's limited to things like snowball fights and water gun battles.
What's it about?
GO VACATION gives players the chance to escape the daily grind and take a trip to Kawawii Island, home to four unique and beautiful resort locales. Play solo or with up to three friends as you compete in more than 50 different activities across these distinct settings. Whether you're looking to ride the crystalline waves of the sunny beaches, ski down the slopes of the snow-covered mountains, skate your way through the city streets, or saddle up for a horse race in the country, there's something for everyone here. Players can earn stickers for high scores, collect fun new outfits and collectibles, and even take a break from the activities just to take in the sights or to search for treasure. This is your vacation, after all, so enjoy it the way you want.
Is it any good?
This updated collection of mini-games manages to pack in a lot of fun, but players have to be willing to put in some exploration before they uncover all of it. Go Vacation is the latest game to make its way from an older Nintendo platform to newer machines. In its heyday, the Wii was home to all kinds of casual mini-game collections that used the system's unique features to get gamers more involved in the experience. The original Go Vacation was one of the better collections, bringing friends and families together against the backdrop of a fun island getaway. Now Switch owners get the opportunity to check out everything Kawawii Island has to offer. But is this a vacation spot worth revisiting after years away, or has time passed it by? The answer to both questions, oddly enough, is yes.
Go Vacation is best described as a slow burn. While you might want to dive right in to the action and play some of your favorite mini-games with friends, you first have to unlock each individual activity. This means visiting each nook and cranny of the island to find them. Considering there are over 50 mini-games spread out over four parts of the island, that's a LOT of ground to cover. The game also feels a bit awkward. For starters, despite the enhancements to its presentation, it still looks a lot like a Wii title. Also, making the jump to Switch meant ditching certain control schemes, like the Wii Balance Board, which results in oversimplified controls that start to feel boring over time. That being said, the game does get better as you progress. Not only do you get wider access to the activities, which can be much more fun with friends, but you also unlock side missions that give you an excuse to further explore the island for treasure and photo ops. This can be surprisingly relaxing and feels more like an actual vacation. Ultimately, Go Vacation can be an entertaining place to unwind ... just expect to put some work into it first.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about positive life skills like teamwork and sportsmanship. How do you strike a balance between competitive play against other teams and being a good sport?
What makes for a good family vacation? Are there any particular places or special activities that would make for a particularly fun vacation?
What are some of the ways that video games can encourage players to take part in more physical outdoor activities?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.