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Big Family Games continues the good work of Big Beach Games Wii with an expanded set of activities and controls. The same ambitious puts it in the company of other titles like Sport Island Wii and Sports Party Wii and Wii-Sports itself. These games all create an experience that relies on the analogue wonders of the nuanced gestures picked up by the Wii-mote.
Mini games come in a variety of shapes and sizes. What unites the genre is the speed with which players can pickup the games and the relativley short time requried to complete a level or two.
Big Family Games takes the action from the beach to the back yard. These games are played in the American back yard and street so take on a more urban feel. Again, these related activities that can be played by up to four players - ideal for those looking for something to play with friends and family.Here though, the action skews older.
The previous game from THQ Big Beach Games was famous for aiming high at some proper Wii controls. Here too players can achieve more nuanced control of each action because the game picks up on even slight adjustments to the Wii-mote and nun-chuck motions. Unlike other games in the genre which often use the controls in place of button triggers, Big Family Games uses the full range of control on offer.
This means that activities like beach cricket, darts and volleyball feel more like Wii-Sports events than those of the young friendly EA's Playground Wii. Players will find that investing more time results in improved performances and ultimately enjoyment - something that enables genuine competition to arise amongst your nearest and dearest.
Players will be attracted to the simplicity of the events on offer. Indeed, each is self contained and quick to pick up. But its not long before the more savvy (or experienced) players soon twig there is more to this than meets the eyes. Although there are an impressive array of events on offer, it's fascinating to see groups become fixated with one particular event and spend whole evenings perfecting their hand at it. Best here is when they realise how gentle you can be to finesse the shot or throw home. Then the game opens up to a wider audience - those with a deft touch rather than video game experience get their moment in the sun. Wonderful!
The game can be played in a spare half hour, although as we have said above an evening in with a few competitive friends often turns into a marathon gaming session.
Novice players may find the flexibility of control a little much to handle at first. The extra flexibility means there is an inherent risk of miss-shots or foul-throws. Given some time and guidance though and most will rise to the challenge. My six year old soon took to the experience, although the four year old lad continued to find it frustrating.
Intermediate players are best placed to enjoy the game on its own merits without decrying the average visuals and game play. They are the ones who will enjoy inventing their own tactical interpretations, and squeezing every last ounce of control from the Wii.
Experts may think this a game that is a little beneath them, but those that persevere will find they have their work cut out to keep up with the rest of the family.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: