We'll be honest, we really wanted to like Playground less than we do. The early screenshots we got made the game look ugly and it just sounded like another bunch of mini-games. After completing the game we can indeed confirm that yes, it looks ugly and yes, it's just another bunch of mini-games. But for some reason, most of them are actually pretty enjoyable.
That's "most", mind. Of the seven games on offer, a couple, such as Wall Ball (which is effectively squash using your hand instead of a racquet) and Slot Car Racers (think Scalextric with power-ups) don't really work properly. The rest, however, are pretty good fun, especially with other players joining in. Dodgeball in particular is a great laugh. It's got responsive controls (you can either flick the Remote to the side to dodge the balls or risk catching the ball, and bringing back an eliminated team member, by pressing B) and with four players it can get quite enjoyable.
The problem we have is that there's a niggling feeling that it's simply not enough, in terms of the number of games available, the difficulty level and the depth of the single-player mode. We were 52% through the single-player game within 45 minutes of starting, and had unlocked every play area and found every hidden marble within an hour. At 40 quid, if you're not planning on making use of the game's multiplayer features it's going to be an expensive couple of hours.
It's also stupidly easy at first. While we understand that this is clearly meant to be
a game aimed at the younger end of the market, it would have been nice for a 'grown-up' mode so that more seasoned gamers could at least have a go when their younger brother or sister wasn't playing it.
As it is, Playground is a fun game for beginners or younger gamers because the characters are appealing and the controls at least work, unlike in some other dodgy mini-game Wii cash-ins. However, those who are reasonably competent gamers will whizz right through the game without much hassle at all and, as a result, we can't really recommend spending £39.99 on a game that will only last you a couple of hours.