The Nintendo Switch is tailor-made for couch cooperative and competitive party games. I jumped at the chance to review Party Planet in hopes for something similar to Mario Party but instead what I got was something closer to a collection of bad web browser-based games charging at a premium price.
For $39.99 USD you’ll net 30 mini-games, 12 of which can only be played by one player at a time, with many of the others locked until you grind scores by playing the un-fun games over and over. The collection features many shameless knockoffs of popular mobile, indie, and classic games like Zuma, Doodle Jump, Snake, Asteroids, and Balloon Trip. These mini-games might have familiar mechanics but play far worse than the games they are imitating with uglier graphics and grating sound effects to boot. You can also find such classics as matching flipped over cards, that have pictures of junk and toxic waste on them for some unexplained reason. Yay?
Out of 30 mini-games in Party Planet, there was exactly one that I enjoyed where you play as a fish with the goal of swimming head first into walls to score points. You literally just press a button to bob up and down much like the famed Flappy Bird while automatically swimming back and forth in a box. This is the best the developers could come up with, and they knew it, which is why it’s the first game on the menu. Everything else goes downhill from there.
I’m confounded why so many mini-games are locked from the start, other than forcing some sense of progression into what is supposed to be a party game. I could see if there were characters to unlock or a story to progress through, but Party Planet is nothing more than a menu filled with bad mini-games seemingly made to cash in on clueless shoppers hoping to pick a kid-friendly game up for their children this year.
The bottom line is, I can’t see this being enjoyed by basically anyone. Almost everyone has a smartphone or tablet these days with access to an unlimited number of free games with much better production value, graphics, and gameplay than this cynical cash grab. Party Planet is easily one of the worst games—and certainly the most overpriced—I’ve played on the Nintendo Switch since launch.
A retail version of the game reviewed was provided by the publisher. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.
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