Itâ€™s never a good sign when customizing your character is more fun than playing the game itself. Guinness World Records the Videogame falls short of the bustling, hilarity imbued mini-game romp mark it seems to have been aiming for â€“ but damn, you can be sure you look good.
Warner Brothers Interactive at least tackled the right part of the Guinness dynasty: weird. When a kid gets his or her chimp-like little hands on a copy of the Guinness Book of Records, they donâ€™t want to know how long the longest long jump was, they want to see the picture of the most tattooed man, or find out how long it took some schlub in Idaho to pop a hundred balloons.
Roaming the gameâ€™s interface with your freshly named and nicely kitted-out avatar, you can rock along to various continents and countries on the globe, even walking the mighty Atlantic with little more than a splash, seeking out opportunities to set records. Each location has three records, two locked down until you can afford to open them later on. With each record you set, based on your time or level of success, youâ€™ll earn currency that can be used to buy new records, or shell out for goodies with which you can adorn your character.
The game asks you to set your country and location within, giving you the option of North, East, South, West and every half-way point between. Defining your nationality means more than just representing NZ while youâ€™re ripping phonebooks in half or chowing down on cockroaches, though. Using Nintendo Wi-Fi, you can get online and test your scores against other record setters around the world. The online table shows your name, score and your country of origin.
Your character appears first of all standing on the USA. Nearby are a couple of locations where you can start, but being a good Kiwi, I leapt into the Pacific and ran for New Zealand. Godzone, unfortunately, has nothing attached. Across the ditch, I began the game with shearing sheep.
The game is simple. Use a shepherds crook to grab your sheep, then shear it with upward strokes of the Wii Remote. Whipping the wool off takes a couple of seconds, then youâ€™re on to your next one. As you go, youâ€™ll notice screen pop-ups that tell you how your attempt is progressing. At first, youâ€™ll set a console record â€“ this goes without saying. The game has inbuilt regional and national records that you can break, too. Of course, setting a world record is a big deal.
The controls differ marginally depending on the kind of record youâ€™re setting. Shearing sheep, as above, is a basic upward flicking motion. Throwing the most plungers in one minute (at a hapless girl on a spinning wheel) is a forward flicking motion. Setting a record videogame score â€“ in a game not unlike Asteroid â€“ requires even less effort again: point and shoot using the A button.
The game extends itself slightly during your BMX high-jump attempt. Hold the Nunchuck and Remote facing each other and wind them as though youâ€™re using your arms to pedal. Hey â€“ wait a sec, the Nunchuck doesnâ€™t have a sensor to tell it which direction it's facing, and it doesn't know if you're making a pedaling motion or kicking it about on the floor. You don't even need the Nunchuck. Drop it and swirl the Remote like a maniac to achieve the same effect.
Eating cockroaches will delight the kids and gross out the parents, but the agony will be short lived. The method by which you chew after dropping the bug into your mouth requires you to shake the controller up and down vigorously â€“ a set of mechanical teeth munching down sludge show your progress. The problem is, the motion required is so vigorous, the remote often loses its connection with your TV-top sensor, leaving you to try and get the thing to zero so you can pick up the next â€˜roach. This is a major flaw. Screwing up the controls in creating a game for the Wii is unforgivable. Another example is tearing phonebooks. The idea is similar to the BMX interface, but instead you twist in opposite directionsâ€¦ and if youâ€™re anything like me, you'll find it woefully unresponsive.
It has to be said that the range of unlockable content is pretty good, and the fact that you really have to earn your way into playing game two and three at each location should give Guinness World Records the Videogame the boost it needs to keep from being a complete waste of money. The gameâ€™s not easy, either â€“ not too easy anyway â€“ even when the controls work properly, so if somewhere among it all you find a couple of records you want to really bang away at, youâ€™ll probably find that you wonâ€™t best it straight off.
The music is annoyingly repetitive, but the sound effects are pretty well put together. The mix of cutesy graphics engine and bubbly sound will certainly appeal to children, and by all accounts, Warner Interactive havenâ€™t been confused by who theyâ€™re targeting. My main concern is that the enduring battle of controlling the thing will be too much for child and adult alike. On those cutesy graphics â€“ theyâ€™re pretty cool for what they are, but nothing we havenâ€™t seen before.
My first impression was that this was going to be a pretty nifty little title. Mini-games arenâ€™t a unique idea, but certainly this is presented in a way weâ€™ve not seen. It was easy to imagine a shallow if not entertaining single-player game, with a certain amount of multi-player appeal, not unlike Mario Party. Unfortunately, it undershoots by much too much. Luckily Christmas is on the way, and even bad games will manage to shift a few units, but I wouldnâ€™t be surprised if December twenty-seven sees as many returns of Guinness World Records the Videogame as the Paul Holmes CD had in 2007.
An ammendment was made to this review on the 2nd of December in regards to the use of the Nunchuck.