101-in-1 Explosive Megamix Review
Posted by Peter Willington
101 reasons to avoid this
One hundred and one games. It's a tempting proposition isn't it? It's unlikely that as an average consumer you will play, let alone purchase, one hundred and one games in a whole year, so when Nordcurrent comes a-knockin' at your door and offers you exactly that many titles for the low, low price of 700 Points, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's a Billy Bargain. But when not a single game in 101-in-1 Explosive Megamix title manages to struggle above "palatable", when its inherent structure is broken and when the release has all the charm of influenza, the Lithuanian publisher's latest becomes one to avoid at all costs.
The fundamental issue is one of laziness. Starting out life on the DS and made with the stylus in mind, Nordcurrent have attempted to mimic the input of the handheld for the big screen and it simply doesn't work. Take the basketball minigame for instance: the action required is to point and hold the ball and chuck it into a net over and over again until the time runs out. While this is a tedious task that never changes or throws up any sort of a challenge, it's made worse by this emulation of direct control. Where you would touch and hold to pick up the ball and throw it with a simple swipe of the DS console's lower screen, here you're required to directly point at the object, hold the A button, flick your wrist inaccurately at your TV, let go of the A button and hope that it heads towards the net. It's so much more fiddly and imprecise, though no concession has been made for this lack of fidelity.
Maybe that was a duff game though? Maybe the other hundred are fine? Another, in which you must guide a skydiver through hoops until just before you hit the floor, at which point you must release your parachute, is even less suited for the control style on the Wii. Holding A and pointing in the general direction you would like your character to move about the screen is fine, when you then need to open the 'chute you must – with the accuracy of Billy The Kid in a quick draw scenario – immediately press an on-screen button to execute the move. Again, on a DS this is less of a problem, but on the Wii when the button is so criminally small on screen, it's almost impossible. The developers seem to have realised this issue and so implemented direction pad controls as an alternative. The trouble there is that this is clearly such a rush job, they forgot to include how to open the parachute with this other scheme – it turns out it's B. That's just sloppy design.
To go back to the earlier analogy, if someone offers you 101 games for 700 Points, you'd expect you could play them immediately. Not so. Here each title will cost you in-game coins to unlock, gained through successfully completing the other games on offer. The cost of some of the "top tier titles" is so staggeringly high that players will have to grind other minigames to access them, though they'll rarely change up their format to offer a different experience. As some titles, such as one in a lift that never successfully conveys to you how to play it, are so ludicrously difficult to finish that just accessing the content that you have already paid for becomes a massive chore. If there's one thing games should never be, it's a chore.
The music on offer and sound effects that accompany aren't dreadful but they're repetitive and low frequency. The eye candy though has definitely gone sour, with a soulless design of hotchpotch themes, usually with about as many frames of animation as a drawing on a piece of paper. It's so bad in some places that objects that should have movement — such as curling stones when they knock against one another – simply don't animate at all, apparently the creators couldn't be bothered to include it. In short, Word 97 has more interesting clip art to look at than anything on offer here.
No games in the compilation are fun to play, all of them have been done better elsewhere (such as the delightful WarioWare series), so the sole selling point is that the title crams so many of them together into one package. Something only has value in bulk if the individual items have worth — no matter how small that worth might be – in and of themselves and sadly this isn't the case with a single offering in 101-in-1 Explosive Megamix.