Critter Round-Up (WiiWare)

Game Review

Critter Round-Up Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

The animals aren't the only thing that stink in this mediocre WiiWare release.

Critter Round-Up has been branded by many people as an animal-themed version of the classic arcade game Qix. While that description isn't too far off the mark, there's more to it than simply boxing in area on the screen, but unfortunately it's not enough to keep this quirky WiiWare title from feeling very bland and way overpriced.

The main game in Critter Round-Up is the Adventure Mode, in which you take control of a character who has the unique ability to build fences at an unusually high rate of speed; your job is to use these fences to separate the various types of animals into groups of the same kind. The only problem with this is that these farmyard inhabitants tend to be uncooperative. To make matters worse, you can't allow them to touch your character or you'll lose one of your lives (they must be man-eating animals, we assume), of which you have a limited number to complete each level. Once you've separated all of the different animals in the main area, you'll be given a score and a grade on your overall standard of performance, ranging from Bronze to Platinum. You can even go back and play through levels again at any time in order to earn higher scores and better grades, although we can't imagine that you'll want to.

The control in Critter Round-Up can be very sluggish at times and it's often frustratingly difficult to connect pieces of fence together when you get in a tight spot. The animals also become more uncooperative and erratic in their movements in later levels, but thankfully the game will toss you a present every now and again to help out. These range from speed boots, which allow you to move around a lot faster, to bait, which you can use to distract some of the more aggressive animals long enough for you to fence them in. The ability to jump over fences will allow you a chance to get away from some of these aggressive animals, but you'll generally have to rely on your fence-building abilities if you're to have any hope of completing the levels.

There are several other types of games to choose from as well. You can bring in up to three other players to help you out during the Adventure Mode in what's called the Cooperative Mode. You'll still have just one set of lives per level, so no matter who loses a life, it comes off of that single tally. The only downside to this mode is that it tends to make an already easy game that much easier.

You can also choose to play the Critter Games, which are basically mini-games thrown in to mix things up a bit. Snowball Soccer allows up to four players to take part in a soccer contest in which each player tries to kick the snowballs into the other player's goal. It's very simplistic and the sluggish control saps what little enjoyment there is out of the experience. Chicken Catch lets you go up against up to three other players in a chicken chasing contest with different coloured chickens awarding various numbers of points; the first player to reach the set score wins. Fence Trap plays a lot like the Light Cycle level of Tron: your characters will automatically be putting up fence and you have to try to box in your opponents so they'll run themselves into a fence wall and the last player left standing wins. Predator Rampage is probably the weakest mini-game of the group and basically pits up to four players in a contest to see who can avoid all of the animals running around in the small pen for the longest amount of time. If you're touched by an animal, you're automatically eliminated, with the last player left winning the game. These mini-games, while a nice change of pace from the main game, feel like more of a tacked-on afterthought and don't add much to the overall experience.

The visuals in Critter Round-Up are quite colourful, but the cel-shaded look tends to make everything feel flat and there's not a lot of depth to the playing field in most areas. The animals are the highlight of the game and most of them move around quite realistically. It's just a shame that the same can't be said about the main characters as they tend to resemble Lego men by the manner in which they waddle around. At least they're good for a laugh when you see a close-up of them during the short cut scenes in between each area of the Adventure Mode. There's good variety between the different areas in the game, but these backdrops tend to get less detailed as you progress, which doesn't give you an awful lot to look forward to. The visuals certainly could have been better, but they manage to get the job done.

There are some very realistic sound effects in this game, which is a good thing considering the lacklustre musical score. The music tracks are not that bad, they're just extremely short and have to be repeated over and over again during each level. In fact, the tunes are so infuriating that you'll find yourself hurrying through the levels just so you can stop listening to the current song. Thankfully, there is an option to turn down the background music and leave the sound effects cranked up. Unless you want to send yourself insane, this is really the best option, especially for the later levels that tend to take a lot longer to complete.


There will be some gamers who will enjoy the offbeat gaming experience that Critter Round-Up has to offer, but not many. The simple fact of the matter is that this game is just too sluggish and doesn't offer up enough gameplay variety to keep most people's interest for more than a few minutes. The mini-games and multiplayer features add a little value to the package, but certainly not enough to warrant 1000 Wii Points. Konami is one of the more respected video game publishers in the gaming world, but they've got quite a stinker on their hands with this WiiWare release. Download it at your own risk.

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User Comments (54)



Dazza said:

I am glad that Corbie felt the same way as me about Critter Round-Up. I downloaded it by accident (don't ask!) and tried my hardest to like it. Frankly it is just too sluggish to be considered to be a good game. Before long it just gets hopelessly repetitive and the scenery changes do little to break up the monotony. I would be tempted to go one lower and award this 3/10 even!



Bass_X0 said:

Lets hope Volfied gets put up on Virtual Console sometime soon. I really enjoyed playing it on the Taito Collection on the PS2.



That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

Graphically this game looks real crappy! Unbelievably charmless cellshading. And if it plays this bad too i won´t ever have to play it, horray!



thewiirocks said:

@Corbie sez... The animals aren't the only thing that stink in this mediocre WiiWare release.


IMHO, Konami overpriced this game. If it was 500 point, I imagine the review would have been a lot more positive - even if the reviewer didn't like the game all that much. Especially given that Corbie repeatedly harped on the price.



DEMON212 said:

Ah, I was about to say typical, the review finally goes up AFTER I review SSR for the Cast, but now that I've seen the score, I don't think I'll complain, lol.



ChocoDK said:

Yay for the barnyard game =P. Nice review on the game. I don't see how a barnyard game can be $10 though. I am suprised at Konami for charging so much but I guess it also has to do with royalties and contracts with Nintendo. But still with Toki Tori coming next week which will be a superior puzzle game which costs a $1 less then this I don't get how they could charge so much.



Corbs said:

I tried to find some good in this game, I really did. Daz can vouch for me on that. He even slapped some sense into me when I considered giving this game a 5. (I do personally think he's just telling people he accidentally downloaded the game and actually finds the game a blast to play.) But that's a story for another day.



ACK said:

My gal saw this game yesterday and had to have it. Like any self-respecting gentleman, I immediately threw down 1000 points and declared to my Wii, "the lady wants Critter Round-up, pronto!"

...Well, maybe that's not exactly how it went down; however, she rather enjoys rounding herself up some critters. I've yet to try the multi with her yet, but I can certainly see why many people would be disappointed with the singleplayer. It's a random collection of levels with no sense of progression or reward (beyond a somewhat obscure scoring system). That said, she's gotten a few late-night hours of enjoyment out of it so far. And, oddly, I'm kind of looking forward to playing a few rounds of multiplayer with her at some point...



Corbs said:

I got up this morning and it was the first game I played. Sad, isn't it?



Objection said:

Screw this, MLAAK and even DYC have more depth to this and just about every other game is faster-paced. Konami...you shame yourself more and more.



Boringman54 said:

Oh god, this was made/published by Konami!?

Anyways, it's their first truly negative review and from what they said, it makes sense. I'd kill myself playing this.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

4? Wow, that IS harsh. The game is worth WAY more in my books. I got it for my sibling and I really enjoyed it.

But honestly, 1000 is a TAD overpriced. I got it for that price because my sib wanted it badly and I didn't pay personally for the 1000 points so I didn't mind as much.

You guys make the game seem so HORRIBLE when it's really not. Then again, it's very opinionated. If I wrote the review, I'd certainly take a different spin on it. I still wouldn't award it a 4. That's just ...



AlexSays said:

great review of a bad game
i played this at a friends house and decided to save my 1000 pts.



Corbs said:

Well it was 3:30am, I took the review when a fellow reviewer had some personal conflicts come up that prevented him from reviewing the game. If they had priced this baby down at 500 Points, I'd have given it a slightly higher score, but there's not much here for 1000 Wii Points. I think it's the pacing that hurts the game more than anything. It feels like playing in molasses. On the other hand, I'm still playing it for some sick and demented reason. Maybe Critter Round-Up is an acquired taste.



roland13x said:

So let me get this straight...you give the game a terrible review, yet you continue to find yourself playing it? What does that mean to you?



Corbs said:

It means my wife likes it and won't let me stop playing it. So now that she's gone in to work, I'm "accidentally" deleting it from the Wii.

Oh, and a terrible review would have been a 1 or 2. I gave this one a "Below Par" rating.



Zelda_Guy said:

@ Corbie "So now that she's gone in to work, I'm "accidentally" deleting it from the Wii."

Haha that made my day. Hope your wife doesn't go on this site.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

Sure... "accidentally" deleting. xD
I'm telling you guys, don't judge it off so quickly. It's a pretty good game but as I told someone else already, I wish my sib didn't want it so badly, especially not for 1000... I WANTED LOSTWINDS!!!



Serpent said:

I say this score is too low...I would give it atleast a 6/10.
Its fun for a while when playing multiplayer. Would have been better for 500 wii points.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

Serpent: I agree wholeheartedly. It IS too low. I duno if maybe he righted it off to quickly. It should've been 6 or 7, yes. And yes, it is a fun game. I like how challenging it is sometimes in Adventure (still not done). And the multiplayer is good for some laughs too. But I think they would've gotten better recognition and succes if it was priced for even 800.



Dazza said:

I think to be fair Corbie's review did take into account the price for this game. When you compare what else 1000 points could buy you I think our rating makes a lot of sense. It really should have cost 500 points in which case it almost certainly would have been rated a point or so higher. This really is not good value for money as it stands.



Slionr said:

Sereiosly Konami, WHY this? Why not give WiiWare a good game such as a Gradius-game, Contra-game, Castlevania-game or any such good titles? It is ok if you want to try something new, but com on.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

@Dazza: Agreed. And THATS where I see his line of reasoning. You could buy Critter Round-Up or Lostwinds or TV Show King or, now, Dr. Mario. Critter has the least value, according to him, of all the titles priced at 1000.

While I do not personally agree with that and I tihnk it was a pretty good effort on their part, I think the pricing was where Konami went wrong which greatly surprises me. And yeah, it's good value, not great. Agreed there also.



Quimby said:

@Corbie - Hey don't feel bad about having a strange attraction to a game you don't actually like- it happens all the time to me. I forget the name of it but I once bought this horrendous hoverboarding game for the 64 second hand, tried to give it a chance but to no avail, so I sold it. Then about 2 weeks later, I ended up having to track it down again and paid $25 AU for it. I then played it for 2 - 3 months solid before selling it for $5. lol (I got over it for good)
Also you brought up a good point re: your rating for the game.
People are acting like 4/10 is a terrible score, where it really just lived up to less than half of it's potential. If anything, I feel some of the other reviewers have been a little bit generous



KnucklesSonic8 said:

Wave Race 64?

But Quimby, the title deserves mroe than a 4/10. At least a 5, at least. I'm not being generous, I've actually PLAYED the game unlike you.



Corbs said:

Well the price was the main point in my final rating. The game does grow on you a bit, and I know that there are some gamers that will enjoy this unique title and I understand that. Right now we're trying to establish a bar for these games so that we can try to remain consistent with it. The service is very new and it might take some time to gauge these games as a whole.



Quimby said:

@SonicKnuckles - No, not Wave Race, it was some third party "Tony Hawk" style 'extreme' hoverboarding game. It sucked but grew on me.
Also, I wasn't attacking the game, (because as you said I haven't played it) I was only saying that 4/10 isn't as bad a score as everyone seems to think.
To me the score Corbie gave it says "Have a very good look into this game and make sure it's your kind of thing before downloading" instead of "This game is dog crap and the developers should be rounded up and shot".



Jona said:

this game sucks!!! only a baby wud want 2 round up critters in2 a barn or wtvr!!! 4/10 is way 2 good 4 this game!!!



Twilight said:

@Corbie- i do hope that your wife doesn't know or find out that you can redownload the game for free after you have already bought it and it has been deleted.



Corbs said:

Thanks Twilight, that's very kind of you to say. I've been reviewing games for over a decade and I love it as much now as I ever have. It's very rewarding to hear that people enjoy listening to my rambings.



ICEknight said:

To anybody saying this game deserves a better rating... just one question, how old are you guys?



So the game has some similarity to Qix? When this came out, I completely ignored it and had no idea what the actual gameplay was supposed to be like at all aside from the fact that you are supposed to round up animals.

Well, my opinion isn't changed, I couldn't have any less interest in this. I just thought it was a bit interesting that some attempt at QixJezzballetc. style gameplay has been attempted on WiiWare.

As it stands though, I have Qix, Super Qix, and Volfied on Taito Legends 1 & 2, so I'm pretty darn set in terms of that sort of thing.



Super_Sonic said:

I could go on and say "Hip hip BOO." and "BOO CRITTER ROUND STINKS." but I'll be reasonable. We should avoid this title at all cost.



mastersworddude said:

I was gonna download star solider R but I was just going to check Critter Round -ups Blocks and accidentally pressed yes to download.
wasted money.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

Well, that sucks. It also sucks that you feel it's a COMPLETE waste. I agree, 1000 was too much but there are elements of the game I find quite enjoyable, surprisingly.




It deserves at least a 6..

If you must know, the average universal rating of this is 7, so i just thought...

Plus, i don't own this.

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