i had to put up a quick post of one of the most mediocre video games i’ve ever played that i just ran through tonight, which is cranium kabookii for wii. i’d had only a passing familiarity with the cranium board game, which seemed more like a mix of well-known party games such as pictionary, charades, and general trivia, as opposed to anything really new. the original game seems harmless enough and possibly fun, but there are so many things about the wii version that flat out offend me as a fan of video games. for one, the design, including the artwork and sound, is incredibly minimal and has absolutely nothing to keep one’s interest, which wouldn’t be a problem if the gameplay was rock solid, but that’s where the game truly fails. the challenges fall into four categories, but the games are all repetitive: drawing with virtual spray point is hardly any different than drawing with virtual chalk, and the trivia and word games are also given pointlessly similar variations. as for my other complaints, i agree with the majority of the review at nintendo world report, namely: the game requires a minimum of four people, which is severely limiting; motion controls for the miming game don’t work well; the lack of options, even for something as basic as setting the number of turns, is appalling; the game seems geared towards kids but a fair amount of the trivia and clues are clearly focused on adults; and the game doesn’t even tell you how many points an activity is worth until you win it. i’m also going to have to agree with that reviewer that this was “a wasted opportunity to make the video game more than just the board game”. as it is the game actually feels significantly worse than the board game and i can’t think of any reason why i would recommend it over the non-digital original. the only minuscule advantage i can think of is that if you had a large number of people and played this on a large screen it might be marginally easier to keep track of what was going on, but even that’s a pretty big stretch of the imagination.
this game has the distinction of ranking at the absolute bottom of my list of games i’ve “finished”, although somewhat surprisingly its ratings on gamerankings.com aren’t rock bottom. maybe the other reviewers’ desire for social entertainment of any kind outweighs the fact that this is just not a good game. this is a prime example of shovelware, that blight that plagues the wii’s library and that i’ve only had limited exposure to up until now, and it makes a game like carnival-games look like a classic. to put it bluntly i can’t believe the publishers had the gall to charge $40 for this, as it’s worse than the average flash game. stay far, far away.