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 enjoyable chaotic party game is effectively one big commercial for Home Depot. The home improvement chain's logo and slogans appear incessantly throughout Our House: Party!, as well as messages about what great sales the store has. This extreme product placement has no direct effect on the gameplay, which is generally quite fun. Parents should also be aware of the game's materialistic goals: Build the grandest, most expensive house, and you come in first place. Richest-player-wins is a long-standing goal of many games, going back to Monopoly and other classics, but in today's economic climate and housing market, it may pose more of an issue for some parents.
What's it about?
In OUR HOUSE: PARTY!, four players compete in a series of home-improvement themed minigames in order to beautify and raise the value of their virtual houses. Before each project, players will race through the aisles of Home Depot to beat each other to deals on tools. Then they will act out, with motion controls, tasks such as painting walls, connecting pipes, wiring electronic equipment, moving furniture, mowing lawns, etc.
Is it any good?
Our House: Party! can provide an entertaining multi-player experience, as long as players are comfortable with incredibly unsubtle marketing throughout by Home Depot. Minigame collections for the Nintendo Wii are a dime a dozen , but the competitions in Our House feel fresh and different. And unlike many other collections of this type, each of the minigames in Our House actually leads toward one central goal. How you perform on each individual project will effect the appearance of your virtual house throughout the remainder of the competition. The ramifications of losing a round can actually be quite comical. For instance, if you come in fourth place in the porch-building challenge, your otherwise beautiful Victorian home will be stuck with a ridiculously ramshackle entryway, including dangling planks of wood and random holes in the porch floor.
One other big gripe: there are random events that occur between rounds, which will either raise or lower a player's score, and could potentially decide the winner of the game in a very anti-climactic way.
Online interaction: Players can share their saved houses with registered friends.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about product placement — why a certain brand name appears in a game or movie, and whether or not that means the brand is better than any other. Why would Home Depot want to market to kids?
Families can discuss good sportsmanship, and how they can compete against one another in games without hurting feelings or building resentments.
They can also talk about importance of taking care of one's home. Why are some home improvement jobs necessities and other not?
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