Cats Aren't Very Good at Go Vacation
Friday, November 18, 2011 at 7:07PM
Ernie in go vacation, namco bandai games, nintendo wii, reviews

Written by Colby Sites

As a crazy cat man gentleman living alone with two felines, a game like Go Vacation is an odd choice. You see, kitties are notorious for having neither thumbs nor attention spans for video games. Despite this egregious setback, we embarked on our journey to Kawawii Island to let the vacation begin.

Let me say, first off, that I have never liked the Mii faces. In my humble opinion, approximately 80% of all Miis inspire some level of fear in me, like clowns, spiders, or Superman 64. Luckily, Go Vacation’s avatars keep the cartoony style of Miis but add in facial features that are much more appealing to view. Not once in this game did I find myself getting the heeby jeebies from one of the characters. You can also either use your own Mii or create an avatar using Go Vacation’s system. Though most will probably forego creating a new character, I certainly found it useful and surprisingly customizable.

The game is built on the concept of Kawawii Island being a vacation destination with one of four resorts to visit--Marine, City, Mountain or Snow--each with their own theme of activities. Within each of these resorts, the player can get around to different events via various modes of transportation. This features proves to be both a strength and a weakness, as it ties together the idea that this is an island and there are different resorts on the island, but getting around can be a pain. This is another game suffering from Wii-waggle syndrome, a pitfall in which developers feel that because the Wii has motion controls to offer, they are appropriate in all situations. The worst example of this is driving any vehicle, since the player has to move the Wiimote and Nunchuck like a steering wheel in order to drive. Not only is this inaccurate because most of the vehicles have handle bars, but the Nunchuck has a joystick that has much finer controls and is less frustrating. Getting a vehicle to turn where you actually want it to turn is an exercise only trumped by skiing, which has difficult controls as well.

Other than getting around inside the resort, some of the minigames are quite fun, especially with friends. Granted, I always won because Catticus and Olivia are terrible at water gun fights both in real life and on the Wii, but for a short burst of entertainment, this game hits the mark sometimes. Go Vacation includes fifty mini-games, each with its own merits and challenges. Some even allow for use of the Balance Board, which will further justify you buying Wii Fit and never using it.

With that many mini-games, some are bound to be great and others boring. The ratio of fun-to-not is about 50/50, with my complaints mostly having to do with the controls or length of the games--though that number is a bit skewed as well, as a large portion of the games are single player. The downside is that potentially fun games with friends are left out, but the upside is that you don’t have to travel between resorts in search of friendly action, since multiplayer activities are available from the game's start screen. When all is said and done, Go Vacation offers about fifteen fun multiplayer games. This number places it firmly in competition with Wii Sports Resort, though Go Vacation's offerings are admittedly less polished and, in most cases, less fun.

Another interesting feature of this game is Villa Creation. After playing twenty games, you get your own villa on the island, which you can deck out however you’d like. It comes with stock furniture and a few ways to customize when unlocked, though accessing new pieces of furniture or house styles require you to play mini-games to earn silver or gold keys. This feature is sure to keep those of you with an inner interior decorator playing for a while, though the thought of having to go back and play the bad games until a key is netted made me hesitant to do so.

Overall, Go Vacation is a neat time waster, and is a relatively fun multiplayer experience. Kids will definitely enjoy this game and families will like playing together, though Wii Sports Resort is most likely a safer bet as these games tend to get staler more quickly. If you already have that game and are craving less creepy faces and more flip-floppin’, flowered-shirts wearin’, resort-flavored fun, then Go Vacation is your best bet.

Colby regularly writes sophisticated game reviews for AristoGamer. Go check 'em out!

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