The game likes to make you press arbitrary buttons, show you all the cool things that those button-presses did and then reward you for a job well done. Like “Skyrim!” (It doesn’t have a 6,000 page script of made-up words, 11 voice actors or the kinds of graphics you’d like if you listened to a lot of Dragonforce, though, so it probably won’t get a 9.5 or whatever on Metacritic.)
The real creepiness starts when it begins chirping words of encouragement at you, personally, before every turn. You get ready to roll the die, and Toad pops up on the bottom of the screen. “If you roll a 5 or a 6, you’ll get a bunch of stars!” Alright! What? Thanks for letting me know. I still rolled a 2. What’s going on?
Sometimes you get a “lucky” space, and get tossed to another part of the board. On one board, landing on a lucky space sends you into a pipe, and then you’re alone with a stretch of bonus spaces in front of you. That giant die pops into the space above your head and starts spinning and squealing. You press A. You jump and pop the die. Your number pops out. You move that many spaces. You get whatever number of stars that space was holding. You go back to the regular game. (You are so lucky.)
Every time you hit a button, a bunch of nonsense happens. You move some spaces, hit a space that adds another few minutes of nonsense-happening to the game (or at least get told how close you were to getting some nonsense to happen), and then maybe get a minigame or a totally random item out of nowhere (usually a Special Die that guarantees you’ll roll either a zero or a one). Eventually the players reach the place where the board just weirdly ends, play one more minigame, and then mercifully call it a night.
Yeah, the minigames. Once every 3, 5 or 7 minutes (it’s impossible to tell), everybody gets violently thrown into some little contest. Sometimes, these feel like walking Sonic uphill on an upside-down TV; other times, they feel like cheating at a shell game. Occasionally they start to approach fun, but then they’re over, and you’re back to mindlessly punching dice while the game alternates between reading from the Recreational Pyrotechnics Safety Manual and setting off fireworks in front of your face.
Buy your kid a copy of “Little King’s Story,” instead.
0 stars (out of 4)
Ben Hornsby doesn’t eat candy or Mario Party.