Review – Party Planet
Nintendo’s tradition of making great multiplayer-focused consoles has resulted in the constant release of party games on every single of their systems ever since the Nintendo 64 days. This is no different with the Switch, given the fact one of the launch titles of the console was a (disappointing) party game, the underwhelming 1-2-Switch. Mastiff’s Party Planet, a Switch exclusive, may I add, is the newest option for those looking for multiplayer-focused mini-games for the console.
Party Planet is that typical collection of classic mini-games every single console has. Despite featuring a few original concepts, like a pattern-following game featuring Thor and zombies, the collection is filled with typical titles, such as a Snake clone, a Balloon Fight clone, an Ice Climber clone, an air hockey game, and so on. The vast majority of the titles included in this package are far from unique. At the very least, the majority of them work well enough, and you can have your fair share of fun in short bursts, in a pick-up-and-play sort of way.
The most interesting aspect of Party Planet, besides its best minigames of course, is the fact that not all games are actually available at the beginning. In an era in which the word “unlock” is usually followed by a link to your Paypal account, Party Planet actually implements a progression system of sorts. A little less than half of the games are unlocked at first, and it’s up to you to earn enough starts in order to rank up and unlock more games. For some people, that might be a bummer. For others, that’s actually a somewhat interesting way to reward players in what would be just another collection of okay-at-best minigames. The progression system isn’t overly complicated, by the way: play a few games, either alone or with friends, and you’ll quickly unlock a new game for your collection.
Technically, Party Planet is sort of a mixed bag. It doesn’t look fantastic, as most games, despite being charming and colorful, look like a game you’d expect to find in a Flash-based website. Some of those titles, like Fennec Fox Tower (the Ice Climbers-inspired one) look like a game you’d find a decade ago on a website like Newgrounds or Miniclip. The soundtrack is also very hit-or-miss, as there are games with memorable tunes and games with bad tunes. One of my favorite songs from the game, however, was the main menu’s ukulele-driven tune.
Finally, there’s the issue with controls. Yet again, it’s hard to come up with a general consensus for thirty different games with thirty different control schemes, but I can safely say that the average gameplay in Party Planet is, well, average. Some games, like the aforementioned Fennec Fox Tower, have simple and responsive control schemes. Other games feature clunkier controls, namely Super Vegan Anaconda, the Snake ripoff. To make things even worse, the game features traps which result in inverted movements for a short period of time, making the confusing controls even more confusing. If you touch one of those potion-shaped traps, you’re done.
Party Planet is far from being the best collection of mini-games I have ever played, and it is a bit pricey for what it offers, even if it features thirty different mini-games, but the fact the good games slightly outweigh the bad ones makes this game a decent offering. It also helps that some of the mini-games included within this title play exactly like some eShop titles that cost around 10 bucks each on their own. While I don’t think it’s worth its current price tag, Party Planet is an interesting addition to your library if you can find it at a discount in a few months.
Copy of Party Planet provided by publisher.