Squeeballs Party is a new video game starring the Squeeballs, a dozen ball-shaped sentient toys that are (at least in the game) manufactured on a mysterious island. But before they can be sold on the mass market, they must be tested. Thoroughly tested. Excessively tested. That’s where we, the game’s players, come in.
Conveniently, the Squeeballs are shaped like, well, balls — this makes them ideal for catapulting, rolling, and so on. You can play golf with them or bowl using squeeballs as the pins, or smash them with tennis rackets. But that’s not the limit of the little guys’ torture testing: they have an arch enemy, a bloated, cannibalistic Squeeball called El Toro who enjoys dining on his fellows — and it’s up to the player to feed him.
Let’s check out the mini games that make up the Wii version of Squeeballs Party:
Bowling: The Squeeballs are stuffed into the tops of bowling pins. Listen to their screams of fear as the ball rolls into them, or their mocking laughter if you miss.
Feeding Frenzy: Sate El Toro with Squeeballs or get eaten yourself.
Cannon: The Squeeballs are shot at you and you must deflect them with a tennis racket, leaving them smacked senseless on the ground.
Cooking: El Toro wants food! Prepare Squeeball dishes the way he likes it — grind, simmer, etc. the little guys while a timer ticks down. The image above shows one of the Squeeballs, Bully, getting ground into sausage!
Paint by Squeeballs: Fling squeeballs at a paint-by-numbers pic and watch their colorful splats.
There are several others, with the entire Wii version of the game comprising over 150 challenges, some of which must be unlocked by solving earlier tests. I’m not sure how the Wii version differs from the others — the Nintendo DS doesn’t have the awesome Wii controller that gives the game many motion-based solutions. For instance, when you grind Bully into sausage, you have to whirl the controller around like you’re turning the grinder’s crank. How could this effect be achieved on a DS? Dunno.
Speaking of which, true to the Wii’s promise, the game uses very natural motions to play — none of this up-down-left-right-A-B nonsense that characterizes other game systems. As a result, people outside of video games’ core demo will find this game a lot of fun. My five-year-old scored four strikes in the initial bowling game, despite have very little idea of what to do.
Despite its kid-friendliness (mechanically, anyway) the game is rated E10+ presumably because of its anti-Squeeball violence. To be honest, I had a niggling and probably silly feeling that showing the gleeful slaughter of Squeeballs was a bad thing. What if we substituted puppies and kittens for the Squeeballs? But they’re not puppies and kittens, or any real-world entity, they’re made up creatures. Despite my misgivings, the kids loved the game and didn’t think anything was odd or wrong about grinding up cute little spherical beings using a cheese grater.
Squeeballs Party is a fun and accessible game that provides an extremely diverse number of mini-games with low learning curves and a lot of comic gore.
ESRB Rating: 10+ (Cartoon Violence)
Platforms: Nintendo Wii and DS $29.99, iPhone/iPod Touch $2.99
XBox 360 version coming out early next year.