(Available for Nintendo Switch only)
Named Clubhouse Games everwhere else, this is Nintendo’s published collection of 51 board, card and varriety games such as Darts, Blackjack, Shogi, Bowing, Hanafuda, Chess and many more. It’s basically a Switch answer to those fun get your friends together for a party game night and offers multiple options to play both on the couch, wireless play between Switches, and online multiplayer with both friends and random people. This got a lot of time devoted to it at the last Nintendo Direct Mini with it being Nintendo’s only major release in June (in fact it’s probably the only major Switch release in June) and I bought it out of curiosity more than anything else. This is essentially the Switches answer to Wii Sports and Wii Play both of which get updated versions of games from them in this collection. The game also uses a wide verity of controls such as using the switch’s touch screen features when playing the game in handheld mode for games like Ludo and connect 4 as well as motion controls using the joy cons for certain games like darts and bowling. For testing this game I initially worked on looking at the possibilities of what games you can play with only 1 switch. I was also able to test out online multiplayer but only against random people since none of my friends brought the game though I did also test out the app that lets you share the game to play multiplayer between switches where only one person requires the game, a real benefit if you want to play multiplayer card games. The game offers all 51 games from the start and in all honesty the games were surprisingly addictive even in single player though obliviously your mileage will vary depending on your enjoyment of the games on offer.
- Art style: this game really has Nintendo’s charm which is what separates it from much of it’s cheap contemporaries which aim at a casual market and the art style goes a long way. it just has a sense of care put into it which you can see and makes it a fun environment to play these games in and I really liked some of the Mario themed stuff you could unlock. It also looks good put on a table undocked to substitute for a gameboard.
- Single player: it’s not the greatest thing in the world but the game offers you several ways to learn the game through genuinely challenging AI opponets even at normal difficulty. I lost quite a lot and enjoyed having a bit of a structure to how I’d tackle the order of games I played since I could go to the globe and go to the pack that celebrated Nintendo’s history which got me started on games like Shogi and Hanafuda or I could do the segment which looked at social games for billiards and chess. Even if I didn’t want to do that I had the option to choose whichever game I wanted which meant I could tackle the game anyway I liked.
- Online multiplayer: this was some of the most fun I had and was incredibly easier than I was expecting. The way it works is you choose up to 3 games you enjoy playing and the server match you with players that want to play that particular game. A few games got cancelled because of a player having a bad connection but it was usually the minority and in 4 player games like Texas Holdup and Blackjack if that did happen they were immediately replaced by an Ai so the game kept going. I didn’t have a chance to test the online multiplayer with players in my friends list to see how it worked since none of them have bought the game but I can’t imagine it’s much worse.
- Learning curve: now obviously I don’t know how to play all these games so I was hoping the game would give concise instructions. However while I would do this in rather amusing manners for many games a couple of them were not exactly the best explained so when I thought I got a grip on the rules the game threw a curveball at me. Now granted I am dyslexic so that might be playing a part but I found most of this game is learnt through trail and error. Riichi Mahjong for example is a game I still haven’t got the hang of and checking the in game rule book didn’t help much.
- Motion controls: the motion controls for games like darts and bowling were fine, they get the job done and in the case of those 2 afore mentioned games but every other one it’s not the best option and for most games I still recommend the pro controller if you are lucky enough to have one. even with those games they didn’t feel as intuitive as the game on Wii Sports which were evident in how easy they were to pick up and play in just how many people from all sorts of age ranges and backgrounds gave it a go with no issues.
- More players = less games: now I was aware that not every game would support 4 players but it really surprised me just how much that reduction was when the number of players on 1 switch was, play with 4 players on 1 switch and you only have 2 games to play. the number of games did go up when you play online or in a game with wireless communication between Switch’s but if you’re in a house with one Switch it is hard to get a party going with 3 or 4 players. Some of them were surprising to, I kind of get Darts being 2 player only but Chinese checkers being 3 players max confused me and Bowling being only 2 players is a giant missed opportunity. As a result if I had 3 friends hanging out with for a game offline it would not be our go to party game unless they really like Ludo and is espically not great for say a board game night in with family or friends which was a large intention of the game. clearly Nintendo is trying to encourage gameplay between Switches but I think my friends shouldn’t be required to have the game or an App just so we can play certain games. The most selection I got for multiplayer was online multiplayer which had 44 games available. Hopefully you aren’t the only person you know with a switch because if you are you won’t get the most out of Multiplayer with this game without a Nintendo Switch online account even less if you have Switch Lite.
- Some games didn’t click with me: I know this is a me thing but there were a bunchof games I didn’t enjoy. For example I wasn’t huge fan of toy golf, fishing was ok but also seemed rather random, the solo games have limited enjoyment and I have no idea why anyone would play Riichi Mahjong. There’s 51 games so your bound to have a few you like but after a while I found about 5 or 6 games I liked and just stuck with them
51 Worldwide Games is certainly a game that has merit with some excellent use of multiple switch functions but given that it’s on a system that already has great multiplayer games including Super Mario Party which could even have future entries or legacy content of the series in the future really means it’s got not as much staying power. This is mainly due to a badly implemented multiplayer system that relys on having friends with a switch or a switch online account and I can’t see people saying it would be their party game of choice. The games are certainly addictive and I had fun with the online multiplayer over the first few days of owning it but after that the novelty kind of wore off. it certainly has better online multiplayer than Super Mario Party but this isn’t going to be my go to party game. now the game’s online multiplayer has benefits right now but when we have a complete lockdown lift I can’t say that’ll still be the case.good game but not agreat game and not one I see a lot of people playing in a few months.
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