“ Publisher: EA - Electronic Arts / Genre: Action / ESRB Rating: E - (Everyone) / PEGI Age Rating: Age 3+ / Max. Number of Players: 4 / Online: No Online Gaming Support „
When some one looks at the Wii's game catalogue they see game upon game upon game of "shovelware", games that have been released looking for a quick profit on the Wii's success. The sort of games that feature labels like "includes 25 fun games" and other such comments that may as well include the description of "Will keep children entertained for 25 minutes between them". Sadly with so few stand out video games for the console it's these sorts of games that you'll see a growth of and with EA's Playground you may actually end up with one of the better games of it's type. Despite the fact that EA are known, perhaps unfairly, for making sub standard games they are known as being one of, if not the biggest video game manufacturers in the world at the moment, so you know they have something good going for them (even if it is mostly licensed sports titles) as seen by their massive success.
So what is "EA's Playground"?
The game is broken into multiplayer and single player mode with the single player mode broken into several different parts of the playground with the difficulty of the games getting tougher and the environment changing as you get further on. The "Campaign" starts with you selecting a character (all little children pre-built into the game) and playing the various mini games to unlock more features to use. Though the campaign is relatively repetitive as you play the same games over and over it does have a few hours of life in it and works as a training mode for the proper fun part of the game, the multiplayer. The multiplayer mode sees up to 4 players playing the various mini games that are on the disk, either 1v1 or in teams (though some games are only 2-player) in what becomes a fun and innocently addictive short term entertainment filler.
The disk features 7 mini games for players to compete in and this is where the bulk of the game time is spent. We'll take a look at them in a minute, but as they are the bulk of the game lets look at the other bits of it, the sound and graphics both look limited, in a day and age where video games have CD level sound and near-realistic graphics this is a let down. The game has a more cartoon-like feel to it, which although graphically appealing for kids is a huge let down in the sound stakes limited little tunes and things like "beeps" and little squeals are pointless. So onto the games which range from racing to dodge ball this is where the game really steps ahead of it's rivals.
The games are:
Dart Shootout-A paint ball style game where the players play co-operatively to get through the level with a competitive scoring system.
Dodgeball-A none stop high action dodgeball game that can either be played in teams of players against the computer or 1 players team v the other. Enthralling and a great example of how mini games should be done.
Kicks-Similar to football meets volleyball in which players hit the ball over a net until it touches the ground. Can be played in teams or against each other and despite being fun it doesn't keep the player engaged like some of the others.
Paper Airplane Racing-A fun straight line race through a corridor in a school in which 2 players play head to head. Although not a rival to Mario Kart it's still relatively fun for a few games every so often.
Slot Car Racing-Similar to Scalextric meets Mario kart in which the players race around a small track like circuit doing several laps using weapons on the track to their advantage. A much more fun racing game than the previous one.
Tetherball-Swing ball style game in which a ball is tied to a pole and one person tries to make the ball go to the top whilst the other tries to make it go to the bottom.
Wallball-Similar so squash, a simple and fun game though one of the middling games from the disk.
Overall a nice collection of playable games that can be fun in short bursts for multiplayer activity, however the fact that the game won't last for hours may mean it won't be the most attractive buy. The games are all simple to play and for those who aren't true gamers you should be able to pick them up easily enough and enjoy them for a short time. With a small price tag that the game now has it may be an affordable family game for those with a Wii.
Frankly, I didnt like it at all. Thankfully I only rented it from lovefilm- phew. I suppose I am a bit old for it, a teenager, but I dont think it would be easy enough to play for anyone younger than about ten, my younger sister found it hard and she is nine. The thing I found was that it was boring to play. it did, however have plenty of colour and lots of different games to play. To progress though, you have to be good at all the games. Also, if you did happen to like it and were good at it- like my younger brother, (11), it is too easy and will not take very long to complete and is a waste of money. It took my brother less than a week. It seems it is a mixed opinion game. However it is, on majority a bad one.
I bought EA Playground as I enjoy playing the mini games and using the Wii controller to throw things or to move around with. However, with this game I was disappointed, it is definitely aimed at children and is very easy so I got bored quickly and haven't played it since. This game can be played in single player mode or you can play against friends/family in multiplayer mode. In single player mode you have to go around the playground and challenge other kids to play the games and win. Games include dodgeball, tetherball, slot car racing and paper racers. All of these are so easy to win but when you do win you earn stickers, which can be used to unlock new areas of the playground. The aim is to open all areas, win all the games and become the champion of the playground. Multiplayer mode you can choose which game you want to play and compete against others to become champion.
This game really isn't suited at the whole family and really is only for kids. I really didn't enjoy it and it didn't keep my attention for very long. As I said at the beginning I played it once and haven't played since.
This is a very colourful addition to the Wii game line up. It has lots of really fun mini-games with simple, but effective graphics. The sound is simple too, sort of like those sounds you would expect from an Ice Cream van. However, the games simplicity makes it very addictive.
There are lots of different types of levels, including one where you have to play the equivalent of the UK's Swingball. Swinging your Wii remote in a frenzy to win the game. There are lots of things to unlock and many different areas to explore.
This game is just as much fun playing alone or with friends. It has so far entertained me for over a month and I still feel as though I want to play it, so the fun will last you quite a long time. Bargain price now too, so I really recommend it as part of your Wii games collection.
When the Wii was released its unique control system allowed mini-games to be more fun than usual, as the highly successful Wii sports and Wii play proved. It was inevitable then, that other developers would try and get in on the act, and grab as much of the new market as possible. So here we have EA playground; and it is exactly that. A collection of mini-games supposedly designed to use the Wii remote in different ways to keep the player entertained.
For a mini-game compilation graphics don't tend to need to be spectacular, and these are pretty average. The graphical style is appealing, with vibrant colours and cartoon characters. Of course, this depends on whether you like this graphical style or not, just don't expect lifelike characters and realistic surroundings. Characters have rather small bodies in relation to their bigger heads, and it all adds fun to the game, which at the end of the day all games of this genre set out to do.
The mini-games are mostly a lot of fun, providing variety and are entertaining while they last. One such game is the Dodgeball game, which is made more fun when other players join in. You can flick the Wii remote to the side to dodge balls or take a gamble and try to catch a ball and resurrect an eliminated team member by pressing B. The controls need to be responsive for a game like this which can get very frantic and fun with 4 players, and thankfully they are. Despite this and another four enjoyable games, two do not work as well. These are Wall Ball and Slot Car Racers. The first is similar to squash the only difference being you use your hand instead of a racquet. The latter is cars on a Scalextric-type track, with power ups. However these two just don't seem to work properly and you won't find yourself coming back to them very often if at all.
Possibly the greatest danger with a mini-game compilation is if you will enjoy them enough to come back for them and how long they will last. Unfortunately, this is where EA playground really loses points. It won't last an experienced gamer for more than a couple of hours on their first time through. In the single player mode you have to unlock play areas and find hidden marbles while watching your percentage of the game completed figure rise rapidly. Coupled with this is the fact that this game is extremely easy to begin with, and remains the same pretty much throughout. The game may be aimed at children, but if you are older it will not hold your attention for very long at all. Still, if you fancy a multiplayer game the option is there, it supporting up to four players and can be very fun, but again will not keep you playing for hours on end.
The Wii remote is used in different ways for each mini game. For example, it is used in Dodgeball by flicking it as mentioned earlier. The D-pad can also be used to navigate your character when roaming the playground. The controls do exactly as they should, which is good as many developers try and cash in with mini-game compilations nowadays. Here however, the difference is these are actually half decent to play.
EA playground has no Wi-Fi mode. This is a shame as it would have added longetivity to the game which sorely needs it. It is a further indication that the game may have not been given as much attention as some of EA's other projects and is a bit of a lightweight.
This game was released at £40 but is no doubt cheaper today. £40 was at least twice as much as this game is worth, for the pure and simple fact it won't entertain you for long enough to justify the price tag. I would say pay no more than £24.99 for this game, and that is being kind.
It's a surprisingly decent mini-game compilation for a change, but it's not without its flaws. If you are a gamer who enjoys some challenging single player action, this is not for you. However its target audience are younger gamers who can play it with their mates, and what it sets out to do, it does fairly well.
Overall Score 7/10