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MySims Party offers a young player minigame focused take on the Wii Sims franchise. It simplifies things by removing the complex fetch and building tasks in favour of shorter more bespoke activities. At the same time it introduces a multiplayer element to each game so that players cooperate or compete to win points.
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 relatively short time required to complete a level or two.
MySims Party is unique because of the combination of the MySims world and characters and a minigame focused experience. The original MySims Wii and MySims Kingdoms Wii both focused on a more involved and intermediate play style. This involved complex fetch, build and exploration quests that younger players sometimes found a little taxing.
Here, the Dream Festival mode takes the player through a series of games that can be played by up to four people at once. When there is only one person playing, the computer takes control of teammates or competitors. Players each control the action with just a Wii remote and each game is introduced with instructions beforehand to ensure that all players understand whether they need to point, gesture or press buttons to win. High scores can be uploaded to the central online score board (provided your Wii is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi), which also means you can check how you are doing with other players around the world.
As players progress they earn points that can be spent on improving their characters, extending their house or if they do particularly well on monuments for their town. The games are grouped into strength, speed, endurance and luck, although each task inevitably includes a variety of these elements.
The Minigame mode skips the character statistics or home improvements, taking players straight to the multiplayer fun. The same games are available here as in the Dream Festival mode although points don't have any lasting effect.
The game includes around 30 songs from all three High School Musical films, which are unlocked by scoring enough on each level. Along the way you can choose which dancer you want to control, and dress up with clothing that is won with good performances.
You can play alone or with one other player. The two player game provides both co-operative and competitive dancing. As you play through the songs each player is assigned separate moves and if they perform well enough they can trigger a special move that blocks out the other player from scoring - whereupon they have to shake their Wii-mote to break free.
It's the multiplayer mode that will attract most families to this particular MySims version. Get four people with a controller each and the competitive side of them soon shows. As each player frantically points, waves and gestures their Wii-mote some tight finishes emerge. Adjusting the game to even the sides using the handicap system made for some photo finishes in our family.
Players can choose to invest a little more time in the Dream Festival mode, or jump in for some quick fun with friends. Either way, because each activity only lasts a few minutes sessions can be tailored to the audience and available time.
Although the game is aimed at younger players it does have a little cartoon violence. This relates to some of the more combative minigames that involve whack other players to score points. This is both cartoon in nature and suitably mild. Weapons are cushioned or toy versions of the real thing (padded swords, pop guns and the like). Most players will find the game easy to pick up. Some activities involve some quite accurate pointing with the Wii remote that can take a while to get used to. The game also offers a "handicapping" feature that enables players of different abilities to compete on a level playing field.
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