Why is it that every third Wii game has to have the word â€śpartyâ€ť in the title? Is it so potential shoppers see the term and automatically assume the game is going to be fun? Thankfully, despite all of the trash the Wii console manages to haul in, Squeeballs Party is relatively decent. In small doses.
Firstly, even the most hardened of fully-bearded lumberjacks will agree that the Squeeballs themselves are pretty damn cute. It turns out that Squeeballs are toys made on a secret island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean (itâ€™s true, I read it on the Internet). But before they can be sold to kiddies they have to be tested first. This is where the sadistic part kicks in. Each one of these cute and cuddly little critters have to be sliced, minced, inflated, electrocuted and tortured by you, the tester.
To make matters worse, the developers of the game have even gone to the effort of giving each Squeeball a name and persona in the manual. The end result makes you feeling like youâ€™re actually making sausages out of your neighbourâ€™s cat. And yes, there is a cat-like Squeeball. His name is CatSlab or MeowFace or something.
Itâ€™s all pretty grim stuff really, but the developers of Squeeballs Party know their target audience well. Eight to twelve year old boys are most likely going to love this game, flailing their Wii-motes around with a twisted grin on their facesâ€¦ and that vacant look in their eyes that parents wanting ten minutes of peace will all love and cherish. Although the horrible background music that blares out of the game continuously will most likely drive anyone within a three block radius insane.
Squeeballs Party is basically a collection of waggletastic mini-games, and the box boasts it has over 150 of them. At first glance youâ€™d be impressed, but the game really only has around a dozen mini-games and then a ridiculous assortment of variations on each. Some of them weâ€™ve all seen before, such as bowling, where you roll poor innocent Squeeballs into each other in a similar fashion to Wii Sports. Other modes are like tennis, where you hit Squeeballs that fly towards you into designated areas, taking care not to hit explosive ones who are called CrabBooms or something equally mad. The list goes on with golf clone #26 (yep, you hit Squeeballs in this one), one where you shoot Squeeballs at other Squeeballs and so fourth until you just want the pain to end for both yourself and these poor tormented little dudes who just want a home.
But then there are some gems amongst the horror that make Squeeballs Party bearable in parts. One of which is particularly sick and twisted and involves you preparing and then serving up your Squeeballs to a hungry ball that reminds me of a Cacodemon from Doom. Following instructions you might chop him into slices with a knife, roll him out with a rolling pin, throw him into a mincer, season him with some pepper and salt, turn him into sausages or just fry him with some onions. One of the more disturbing scenes involves you throwing a whole live Squeeball into a boiling hot casserole dish before using tongs to pluck out his skeleton before serving. Not only is it worrying to think that there is a group of people out there who dream this stuff up, itâ€™s worse when you consider these same people are paid to make videogamesâ€¦ for children.
However, slicing and dicing your Squeeballs is a lot of fun, especially in multiplayer, where you'll race your friend to serve up your meal first. Each preparation involves a different use of the Wii-mote from shaking, cranking and basically whipping your controller around like an idiot. The other interesting games include â€śShockâ€ť where you must keep a steady hand to move a ring around an electrified track in order to shock your Squeeball until he turns into a fine powder with eyeballs atop. â€śSqueeball Testing Beltâ€ť moves defenseless Squeeballs in front of you on a conveyor belt where you must copy the gesture on the screen at the right time in order to pummel, dissect and fling them to death. After that you can try â€śPaint by Squeeballsâ€ť which presents you with a slingshot and a canvas that you must paint with a Squeeballâ€™s brightly coloured blood.
Pretty sick stuff. But apart from teaching children to become sadistic pet torturing horrors, Squeeballs is a good time waster and young male players will most likely enjoy getting through the main bulk of the 150+ mini-games on offer over a rainy afternoon. As players progress through mini-games they unlock variations on each one that add in different elements to make the game harder. If youâ€™re planning a party (thereâ€™s that word again!) then this game would be a good rental, but hide the Coca-Cola and lock up the family cat before letting them play it.