The holidays are fast approaching and, if you’re anything like us, you’ll likely end up being thrown into some form of endearingly awkward family gathering wishing that there was something fun to do as everyone starts to fall asleep. Party Planet aims to shine in this very situation; a collection of mini-games that can be played by up to four players is the sort of thing that could well tick all the boxes. Is it worth picking up, then? Let’s find out.
Upon loading the game, you’ll be presented with a handful of the 30 mini-games that this collection offers. Each time you play a game you’ll increase what is effectively an experience meter, eventually seeing it rise through levels to unlock the next group of games until you end up having all of them ready to play. Each player can use either a full controller or a single Joy-Con on its side, and swapping between these different combinations is easily done on the game’s main menu.
Most of the games included can be played by anywhere from one to four players, although there are a few which are single-player only. There are a decent variety of game types available; you’ll be playing co-operatively for some, competitively in others, and – as is usually the case for games of this genre – you’ll likely get the most fun out of each game if you can recruit a full roster of players.
The great thing about the majority of the games is that their concepts are nice and simple to instantly pick up (especially thanks to descriptions and controls being shown each time you jump into one). It really could work nicely for families with differing levels of gaming ability – you may find that some players grasp the controls quicker than others, but none of the games are so tough that more reserved players will feel intimidated to have a quick go.
Unfortunately, though, the designs of the games themselves (which are, of course, the most important part) are sadly lacking in imagination. Whilst this doesn’t apply to all of them, many of the games you’ll see are simply re-made versions of other, classic games with a fresh lick of paint. You’ll find yourself playing Snake, Pairs, Zuma, and a Pong-like hockey game, as well as various others that are simple ideas often seen elsewhere. Whilst the number thirty gives the impression that you’ll have a lot to do, you’ll likely have already done most of it before.
Also, while many of the games are good fun initially (there are some that use interesting mechanics or offer addictive levels of challenge), we can’t imagine Party Planet being the sort of game that you’ll play for a particularly long time. Once you’ve played most of the games a couple of times there isn’t really any urge to go back to them again. You can work towards high-scores and getting a gold star rating on each game if you like, which is definitely something that any solo players will want to do, but realistically it seems unlikely that entire families will be so riveted that they’ll want to keep playing.
In all other areas, Party Planet is really nicely put together; everything is charmingly presented with bright and colourful artwork throughout, the music is upbeat and fun, and the games all control really well for the most part. Likewise, in an area where some other party games have fallen flat on Switch, Party Planet manages to make the process of altering each individual’s controller set-up nice and easy, adding to the sleek and smooth performance of the package as a whole. If all of the games were more interesting and gripping in their own right, rather than just having a couple that stand out from the rest, we could have had a great release on our hands that may have truly justified the game’s cost.
Party Planet looks wonderful on the surface with a bright, colourful, and slick interface that suggests you have a top-quality game in your hands. Unfortunately, though, a series of mini-games that vary from being good to disappointing may well start to feel rather stale after a short time; everything is nice and interesting at first, but there’s little reason to keep playing once you’ve seen each game a couple of times.
If you’re looking for a game that can successfully get the family gathered around the TV to play together, Party Planet will definitely be able to do that – how long for is another matter, however. We fear that this particular title isn’t for life, it might just be for Christmas.