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Welcome to kawawii Island ! where everything you wanted in a perfect vacation not only is it here, but it has so much more ! ride up the waves or take a relaxing cruise in the Marine resort, skate in the park or just chill out in the streets in the City resort, have fun in the snow or slope down in the island's biggest snow mountain in the Snow resort or ride a horse or enjoy the beauty of nature in the Mountain resort ! It's the perfect place to be if you're looking for a perfect vacation spot, so come on down, have fun and relax where paradise awaits you !
Uhh... there is no story, you go on vacation on Kawawii Island... and that's it, but I feel that this game would be great without it since it is what it's trying to be, an experience on how a day in vacation feels like, it would've been silly (or maybe cool) to have a very complex story for such game, but you can also find a lot of people in which some of them you can talk to that have some sort of personality reflecting on what they're interested in doing or seeing, while others... well, let's just say they have business they mind on their own. (one interesting thing to mention though is that this game is sort of a pseudo-sequel to We Ski and We Ski & Snowboard, two similar games that the real difference is that these two games focuses on skiing and snowboarding, they even take place in the same snow mountain !... sort of)
Go Vacation is some sort of sim variety party game that uses the Wii remote, Wii remote and Nunchuck and also supports Wii motion plus, Wii zapper, Wii wheel and Wii balance board. After creating a profile by choosing a character by either including a mii or selecting an original character from the game's selection, you can go straight into the game, starting with a tutorial that explains the controls of the game, and once done, you are now put in the marine resort. The controls in this game are really badly implemented, sure you can move appropriately with the control stick, but how you jump is by holding the B button and shake either the Wii remote or the Nunchuck (However, I was told to shake both for some reason...) and the way you drive motor-ridden vehicles, is by accelerating with the B button and brake and reverse with the Z button which is fine... but you turn by twisting the Wii remote and the Nunchuck left and right at the same time, otherwise you will turn slowly, and it just feels very forced to use, (in fact, the way the tutorial shows you how to do it is extremely strange, since it shows the character showing you how to control the game twisting it's arms in an unnatural way !) but that's not the worst part ! when riding in some non-motored vehicles such as boards (snowboard, surf board), skis, horses and even skateboards and skates, you must shake the Wii remote and Nunchuck vertically to go forward while at the same time you must twist them as well to turn left and right ! the main controls for this game, for the most part, just feel very forced and unnatural thanks to its bad implementation of the motion controls, and while some of them are not very forced or understandable (like controlling a race car), it just hurts the experience on what this game represents although while I got used to them somewhat, this is definitely not for someone who hates or even dislike motion controls a little bit ! however the camera that you can control by holding the C button and then moving the control stick is fine (although a little bit weird to control) and the A button that can be used to interact with something nearby (be it talking to a person, check an object, etc.) and the minus button to mount or dismount a vehicle or such are all fine, but there are some others that is not used very often, like the whistle that can be used to call your dog with the 1 button, the Z button when you are not driving anything you can hold it down and that can make you walk slowly and each direction of the D-pad makes your character cheer, wave it's hand, be angry or tired, I didn't know the true reason for the D-pad's function in this game, as it feels like this sort of feature looks appropriate when you're in an online game, which sadly, this game doesn't support online multiplayer of any sort.
The different types of controls that I've mentioned before can be used depending on what game are you playing, you can play some games with the Wii remote and Nunchuck but there's also some that uses the Wii remote only, be it upwards or sideways, and there’s also the peripherals that are used just to have a different feel of the game which is unnecessary but harmless (Wii wheel that is used on car based vehicles), a new type of controlling the game (Wii balance board in some games such as skiing, snow tubing, etc.) and the Wii motion plus can unlock some exclusive games for its control type in which it does it well (such as the sword fighting) and also you can control the game with the Wii remote while in a resort but it is pretty useless since it takes some control options specially driving your vehicle because you can't even brake and reverse anymore ! all of them work fine aside from the issue with turning with the vehicles, but there's one thing that I want to mention regarding the way you do tricks, in a right vehicle, you can do them while being mid-air, and execute them by either pressing a button or doing a certain gesture with the Wii remote and Nunchuck while also holding a certain button, but one problem I have with this is that I had a feeling that the gestures didn't register well in the game, where I needed to do three different sort of complex tricks, I experienced some delay in the gesture making me loose over and over again, eventually I got it sort of adapted to them since I saw that I needed to do them in a sort of timed manner, but I can see that it will give a lot of people trouble if they're not used to the motion controls and/or aren't patient enough.
One thing that is kind of disappointing seeing on how much freedom you can have in this game, when starting the game you first start at the marine resort and you can't go to the other resorts just yet, since believe it or not this type of game has a main objective where after you are done with the tutorial, you are tasked to collect stamps and you can gain them by winning a game that each dedicated resort includes, the game actually recommends you what stamp to collect first, but you can collect them from any order you want, and you can gain them by completing a requirement depending in each game (be it get a higher score than the recommended one, win a race in first place, etc.), and when you've collected them all, you will be rewarded with a house for you located in an extra resort ! and you can decorate it with a large selection of cosmetic items for your preference both in style and in color as well and you can even choose a type of house that you want to live in and the amount of rooms that the first floor can have (but only the first floor since the second one has a wide room that you can't modify due to its unique design)... and I will admit that this is an amazing reward just for beating the main objective... however one problem I have with this game is that in order to unlock these cosmetic items, you must unlock them by using the silver keys, and you unlock them by pretty much complete the many modes that each game may contain (be it beat every level in one mode, win every single race in a designated challenge, etc.), in which some might take a short while... but some feel that it takes so long that it feels that getting the silver key for that game isn't worth it, but then there's the gold keys that can unlock you more unique goodies such as bonus cosmetic items (like a party setup, more cosmetic styles like horror and sci-fi, and even new types of houses such as a UFO) but those can definitely take a long while in order obtain one ! the whole reward is really great, as there is a great selection of items and styles that you can decorate for your house and you can also create more houses for the extra resort, but the same problem I have with this game before is still present in this category which that the freedom is very limited for a type of game like this, it does make you play the game more, but I felt that the game could've have been much more open, thankfully however the Wii motion plus exclusive games are not required to obtain all of the silver keys, so you don't really have too much to do.
But now let's get into the most important part of this game, it's variety of games ! in which I must say, there is an amazing variety of games in here that really makes it unique form other party games due to how much there are and how they were handled ! but instead of listing them all, I will just make a quick resume in general:
- Trick based games (ATV Tricks, Halfpipe, Skate Tricks, Snow Tricks, etc.): These are focused on making a certain amount of tricks or getting a higher score by doing many tricks on certain vehicles, these are not so bad, but due to the issue I had with the motion controls in this game, it was somewhat an average experience.
- Racing games (ATV Races, Snowmobile Races, Snow Races, Horseback Riding, etc.): The car-based games can support the Wii wheel for preference and there are some modes that puts you against the clock and finish a few laps quickly, but other than that all of the racing based games (aside from the Horse racing) are well controlled, especially if you use the Wii remote sideways, but i felt that these types of games feel... too simple, as in it lacks a few more unique designs in them just to feel that you're not just racing towards the first position.
- Shooting games (Water Gun Battle, Quick Draw, Clay Shooting, Rifle Shooting, etc.): A certain section of the mountain resort hosts most of these games, and they are my favorite ! while I admit that my preference in videogames have to do something with shooting, these kinds of games are just fun to play due to how competitive the Water fight is and how unique the Target based shooting games are ! you can also use the Wii zapper for control preference for these games.
- Carnival-esque games (Mole Panic, Power Hitter, Power Boxer, Table Hockey, etc.): A certain section of the urban resort hosts most of these games, and while some of these are fine to play alone, I do feel that it is more fun by playing with more people, although the motion controls in these feel somewhat forced, I got adapted to them in some time.
- Wii motion plus exclusive games (Windsurf, Sword Fighting, Ace Pitcher): These are not bad, although it's not much different than the other games in terms of uniqueness, they were pretty good to play, and regarding tennis, you can also use the Wii remote and Wii remote and Nunchuck control options as well, it's just that in tennis, the Wii motion plus offers another form of playstyle.
I could go on, but seeing on how this is already going for too long, all I can say is that the rest of the games, in which there are also some unique ones as well, remain either good (Triathlon, Sky Diving, etc.), good but could have been better (Hand Gliding, Snowball Fight, etc.), decent (Beach Volleyball, Surfing, etc.), TOO slow paced (Scuba Diving, Mini Golf, etc.), and the ones I didn't enjoy too much (Snowman Making, Ski Jumping, etc.), but there's also some games that are exclusive to both single player and multiplayer, and the single player exclusive games are definitely the worst since it's pretty much a "look for an item" game that is just a "tell, don't show" situation meaning that it can take a long time completing these games if you haven't memorized the whole map (and even names !) of said designated areas. These games are not very difficult to play, but there are some that include modes that can raise the difficulty a bit, and there's the fact that they just take too long to complete their own individual modes.
This game has a great premise, it includes a great variety of games to choose from coupled by the fact that it is hosted by a world that you can explore and also feel like you're in vacation, however its premise is pretty damaged due to its bad implementation of the motion controls, and the fact that you can't enter inside all of the buildings this game presents to you (although, that's just one of my own problems I had with it), and while it does the whole "vacation experience" very great to some extent, the gameplay just really feels like it could've been a whole lot better.
If you're expecting some realistic graphics for this vacation, then you're out of luck, since this game uses a very basic set of cartoony graphics for its game, although there are some moments where they do feel like you're actually in an area or a place such as the ruins, a mall, a giant mountain and a great spring-feel like environment, and this game does a nice job doing so despite it's understandable shortcomings, although the water effects do look really nice, the lightning in this game does look a little cheap sometimes, and of course since this is a cartoony game, the pre-made character models for this game are also designed in a chibi-style appearance, and as for how well your mii was translated to this game as well so you can play as it, it does look really great, my mii was integrated perfectly and it even also has the emotions that the pre-made characters can express ! all in all, the character models look great and the whole game might look basic, it does it job well when looking at the game in its own style it wants to represent.
Music and Sound
There's not that much music in this game, there are some environmental music and some eventful music in there as well, while it doesn't sound so bad, the eventful music can get repetitive since it keeps playing the same song over again, especially in most of the games, but some eventful music can change and that's when you're checking something or talking to someone and the song can change its style depending on what place you were, but other than that, there's not much other variety in them, but I do think that this game suits it well since it's focused on taking a vacation and being in quiet and calm areas are much more appropriate for this game... but I do have to say that the theme song is pretty good !
Having a variety of unique games hosted in this game, this game does have many different kinds of sounds for them, from what I saw, there weren't any repetitive sounds that I've heard, as for the sounds themselves, they do a good job about it, it may not sound too impressive, but the car's motors, the waves of the sea, the horse's galloping, etc. all sound appropriately and some other sounds such as the rail-riding on skates skating and skateboarding in general sound different, but strangely appropriate for some odd reason. This game also has voice acting in it, although not much of it, as you start up a conversation or if you encounter some random people and wait for them to have an expression, they will have some voice samples reflecting on their expression, is it pointless ? maybe, but it gives you an idea on how the person you are either talking to or looking at sound like, and the voice samples are really good to be honest.
This is where I actually praise it's game for doing an overwhelmingly amazing job at ! while I would've preferred to enter the buildings or interact to some people seeing how most of them just mind their own business, everything else is just an amazing vacation experience ! every detail for a perfect paradise represents it amazingly in this game that everyone can enjoy and dig deep into it and also do much more ! either you're a fan of the beach, skating, snow or spring-like nature for your vacation, I feel that this game might satisfy you and much more... that is if you can tolerate the motion controls like I did...
In order to immerse in this game, like I've said before you can either create an original character or include a mii to play as itself, and the difference between them is that the original characters can wear all the accessories that you can find in the game while the miis sadly can't wear some accessories like glasses or hats, the character selector however is pretty lackluster since you can't customize some of their appearance (like the color of hair, eyes, etc., or the shape of the nose, mouth, etc.) you're only presented with a menu with options that are based on age and gender (male and female child, male and female teen, etc.) and then you choose one of the characters that are available in the menu, to me it would have been better if it was a "create a character" menu since this type of menu pretty much makes you look for some character that might or might not include something out of your preference since most of its selection look... pretty lackluster, and then finally you can adjust your character's height an weight (in which you can do with your mii too) and put in a name for it (only for the original character though). But not only that, but in the game there are some stations that can help you change clothing and also its color as well, and also your gear's design (logos and such) depending on what resort you are in (marine: surf, urban; skates and skateboard, etc.), so in other words, this game does have some great customization options aside from the original character creator.
Speaking of the stations, there are also others alongside each other in a main spot where, aside from the customization of your gear, can also give you a tutorial for the games that are designated in the individual resort (in which there's also one in the main menu as well) and one where it can transport you to another resort... but the great news is that you can transport to any resort whenever you want from the pause menu ! and one where it shows you the current photo locations and treasure chests that you've found (more on that shortly), however one more thing that I would like to mention is that throughout the game, there will be balloons in a certain area of the resort should you have the right time to visit it, and these can tell you either a tip of the game, a random saying or a hint for a secret depending on the balloon’s color. And lastly you can invite another person in your vacation by either joining another player locally, or by talking to someone who has a special icon above their heads indicating that they can be invited, there's also some miis that you created in the Mii Channel who can also be invited as well, but you sadly can't choose who you want, as it is randomly chosen and always in the certain locations where the other people who can be invited are as well, you can also even adopt a dog too (and even customize it and naming it in the main menu !) ! your invited friends can hang around with you on a designated cruise that this game includes or join in one of the many games that you can play alongside with them... but the dog pretty much doesn't do much else aside of following you all the time.
As for the replayability, not only is this a paradise for those who want a vacation experience, but it's also a gold mine for those looking to spend a lot of time with this game ! as I've said before, there's many silver keys that you can collect by completing a certain objective in each of the resort's games and there's also some gold keys that you can collect by doing certain types of special actions that range from certain resorts to doing certain common activities a lot of times and these keys can unlock you some cosmetic items for your house, then there's also the treasure chests that are hidden in each resort that can reward you with unique clothing (such as a spaceman suit, a pirate suit, etc.), and then there's also photo locations that you can locate in each resort and you can take a photo of yourself in a certain landmark and collect it to your photo album located in the main menu, and lastly the amount of modes that you can play in certain games and the controller-specific and player-specific exclusive games, and yes, completing this will take you a lot of time !
This game has an amazing premise... but it's somewhat ruined because of one giant issue, while the whole presentation is amazing, and some games are really fun and has a great variety of them, but there's one thing that just somewhat ruins the whole great experience: the badly implemented motion controls, while I might forgive the lack of customization while creating your character, some of the slow paced and not really fun games and other issues, the motion controls are what makes this game drag down in its quality of enjoyment, even though I tolerated them enough to play through this game, I will still say this: if you hate or even dislike a little the whole concept of motion controls, then don't get is, it will make you hate motion controls even more... but if you can tolerate them to a great extent and you are either somewhat or very interested in the whole concept this game brings to the party game genre, then give it a rent to see if it will be good to you or not, as for me, this game gets...
6- Decent This game has flaws or major flaws such as, poor controls, bad gameplay elements, poorly implemented gimmicks, minor sound or graphics issues etc. But can be fun, but not necessarily as fun as you'd hope.
If you only have these two choices, which one will you choose ? to have a game with no story ? or to have a game with the most ridiculous, boring, cliché-filled and horrible story ever ?
Do games need to be epic ?... or fun ?...
Wii #: 0018 2269 1524 9019 (codename Jnes)
Also on PSN ! PSN: jnesDX
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