I know, it’s blasphemy for a Geek parent to admit this but I don’t often play video games, with or without my kids. I’d rather read or write and leave the gaming to them.
When we bought a Wii a couple of years ago, I was finally on board, at least with the sports games, and I’ve been on the lookout for games I can enjoy. So I was pleased to get a review copy of Disney Guilty Party, a Wii-only game. It reminded me of my board game favorite, Clue. Here was a chance to play another version of it with the kids.
After testing it out with my eleven-year-old twins, however, I think I’d prefer to go back to the board game.
Guilty Party has a nice setup. The Dickens family of detectives gather together in a house to solve a mystery. In that, it is very much like Clue as the detectives move from room to room to uncover clues to solve the mystery. This includes finding hidden objects, interrogating suspects, and keeping a notebook to track clues and solve the crime.
I loved the range of detectives available, from the smart and savvy Phoebe to the younger kid detectives to the Miss Marple analogue and, my favorite, Max–who I promptly dubbed Harvey Bullock.
There’s a prologue to the game that teaches various interrogation techniques, such as tickling, bribery, and following a suspect’s eyes, an introduction to the notebook and the basis of how to move the characters around. I enjoyed the prologue and became absorbed in the mystery. There’s also a fun moment when you can accuse your suspect.
So far, so good.
Unfortunately, the mini-games that you must to play to uncover the clues were a sticking point.
Some of the mini-games are very, very simple such as picking a character’s favorite food. But some of them seem almost impossible, such as opening a safe, which did not respond well to our efforts to manipulate the Wii controller. We just kept getting an error message. Initially, my twins complained there wasn’t enough time to do any of the mini-games but I discovered that the time limits could be adjusted and I highly recommend that, especially when playing with kids. Still, even with that problem solved, we also found it’s easy to get stuck in the game by not having the right card. For instance, I needed a particular card to unlock a room that held the final clue and it took forever. I It wasn’t very enjoyable either as I had to do the same thing over and over again.
I realize there’s a fine line between a challenging game and a frustrating game but that went over the line for me.
If you’d like to try this game, especially since it’s received glowing reviews in other quarters, I’d recommend that it be enjoyed with multiple players as it’s not much fun alone. It t could turn out to be frustrating to younger children so be prepared to help them.