Disney’s Guilty Party Review
It would be very easy to dismiss Disney’s latest family friendly game, Guilty Party, as just another mini-game filled party fest to be ignored. The problem is that if you do that you’d be missing out on one of the most fun party experiences to come along in a while.
Solid, Engaging Gameplay
Disney’s Guilty Party is an interactive version of the board game Clue. You, as the players, are tasked to solve a crime using interrogation and problem solving, in addition to playing over 50 different mini-games in a certain amount of time. Each player will choose one of six wacky characters that range from a fairly straight laced detective in a trench coat to the grand mother who is a martial arts expert or the son of the family who is dressed like a super hero. You’ll begin each of your turns with a number of tokens that represent the number of actions you can perform. Moving to a different room, or investigating a clue will cost you a token. You can take as many actions as possible until your tokens run out.
The game’s villain, Mr. Valentine will try to thwart you in any way possible by doing things like locking rooms in the house, stealing your tokens or sending you through trap doors. To counter this ability every turn you’re given a random card that can give you the ability to do things open locked doors or turn on lights to warping to a different room in the house or being given a clue for free.
Players will work together during the story to uncover the clues and interrogate suspects in crimes that range from the silly (finding out who kidnapped a singing manatee) to the absurd (discovering who ate someone’s bowl of pudding), but Disney has put these together in a story that fits well together and is a lot of fun to unravel.
For the more competitive out there you can play through the game trying to trip up the other detectives and giving them false clues, while you know what is really happening. It makes it a great way to be doing the same thing, but making it feel like something completely different.
The story mode of the game is relatively short, clocking in at between four and five hours. You’ll solve seven different cases in an attempt to apprehend the villainous Mr. Valentine. Based on the short length of the campaign alone it would be easy to give the game a low score and move on.
The good thing is that there is plenty more to do after you’ve apprehended Mr. Valentine. After a few cases you’ll unlock the game’s Party Mode and this is where the fun really begins. Every time you turn on the game it will generate new cases with completely new clues, suspects and mini-games for you to play. After you’ve unlocked everything through the story mode there’s plenty here to keep you coming back to the game for weeks. It’s especially good if you’re hosting a party and need a good game for a lot of people to play.
Guilty Party is designed with families in mind and because of that the game has multiple difficulty levels so that gamers of different ages can play together and have fun while doing it. The easy mode will give you clues that essentially spell out everything you need to know and make the mini-games as easy as they possibly could be. Crank up the difficulty to Super Sleuth and things get very interesting. The mini-games start throwing little challenges that change up the gameplay significantly and the clues become more and more vague meaning you have to use a lot more reasoning and problem solving to figure them out.
Solid Visuals and Sound
From the moment the game boots up you’re presented with some of the best presentation I’ve seen in a game for a while. The opening theme is catchy and will get stuck in your head for days to come. The menus are all big, colorful buttons and are easy to navigate and the voice work is top notch. The story is so absurd and funny and the lines the characters deliver add a whole other level of silliness. It feels like the developers knew the game was going to be a crazy, fun ride and went with it 100%. Because of that everything feels completely in place and it works to bring together the perfect Disney style detective story.
While the mini-games are easy to pull off and don’t take very long they feel a bit odd and repetitive. There are 50 different mini-games to play, but they’re all sort of variations on a theme; uncover clues by moving things around on the screen, plug in pieces of a circuit breaker, have staring contest with suspects or tickle them with a feather. The problem is that most of them are simply press and A and B, move something around or wave the Wii Remote in front of you. Luckily they’re no more than a few seconds in length, even on the hardest difficulty. Expect on some of the harder mini-games to lose coins when you have to play some of them over again. They’re repetitive, but thankfully they do very little to take away from this great party experience.
If you like classic boards games like Clue, or Guess Who then Guilty Party is something you must have in your Wii collection. It takes something that could have been disastrous (mini-game, party fests) and wraps a clever, cute and funny story around it in a way that hasn’t been seen very much on the Wii. The mini-games could have distracted from this title, but they’re such a smaller part of the game that it’s very easy to dismiss them as a simple distraction while you focus on solving the case. You’re going to find yourself laughing at the funny dialogue and almost wishing the Disney Channel would take this and make it a Saturday Morning series. All you really need to know is, “You’ve got to find the guilty party before the guilty party finds you.”
Final Score: 4/5 Above Average
Review Copy of the game provided by Disney Interactive Studios.
Played through the story mode. Played more than a dozen cases in Party Mode.
Total Play time: 11 hours