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Last month, we selected the seven best games of the year (so far) and, although only halfway through 2011, the competition was already intense. Many outstanding titles had to be cut and many editors’ feelings had to be hurt.
But that was the easy part. Now comes the true torture – the week in which I reluctantly delve into the dank, dark sewer that is the bottom of Metacritic’s review rankings to bring you the extreme opposite end of the spectrum. For every Portal, there’s a Party Megamix. For every Zelda, a Thor. These are their shameful stories...
Platforms: Wii / DS
Average Review Score: 41%
What the press release promised: “Simple to play, hard to master, and utterly addicting, these games will keep players engrossed in competing head-to-head with friends, scoring goals, earning medals, winning races, and beating high scores. There is practically no end to the fast-paced sports action!”
What the game actually delivered: Read a little further in the press release and this bullet point has your honest answer: “Tens of hours of pure fun.” Yes, even with such a stupid number of minigames stuffed into one supposedly generous package, the PR person – whose job is to hype and exaggerate – didn’t feel comfortable going with “hundreds of hours” instead of “tens.” Probably because nothing included here is worthy of more than a minute of your time, or of more than a single play. The activities may range from the mundane (bowling, darts) to the exotic (hang gliding, scuba diving), but the controls inevitably boil down to the same boring button combinations.
Special acknowledgement for that foul mouthful of a marketing-driven title as well, which could only encapsulate the laziness and cynicism of Wii and DS’s third-party library better if it also managed to squeeze the words “baby” or “pet” in there somewhere.
The nicest thing anyone had to say: "The Wii does shovelware better than anyone.“ – NGamer UK
The most scathing review quote: "The archetypal example of a game released to cash in on the unsuspecting parent or grandparent.” – DarkZero
Average Review Score: 40%
What the press release promised: “Utilizes technological advances in gaming to break down the living room walls and put gamers into a truly authentic recreation of thrilling television.”
What the game actually delivered: You know, Wipeout on Kinect sort of does provide an accurate representation of the TV show – both are built in a way that guarantees players will fail again and again and again. While the real-life obstacle course is purposefully designed to deliver as many hilarious and humiliating pratfalls as possible, however, the videogame version is just poorly designed. Period. It has trouble recognizing the most obvious of motions, often translating jumps into ducks or frantic running into standing still. And when you tumble into the water (which will be all the time)? Unlike the show, you’ll also hear the same announcer joke again and again and again, complete with stuttering audio quality.
The nicest thing anyone had to say: "Mercifully brief.” – Game Informer
The most scathing review quote: "I have no clue how this got past the testing phase to be a full price retail release.” – Gaming Age