Game Party Champions' box cover features various sporting items hurtling out from a large, golden logo. Alongside a table tennis bat and a golf club, there are balls of all shapes and sizes: an American football, a baseball, a golf ball, a basketball, and a polished wooden ball of the kind used in end-of-the-pier attractions. It's all very dynamic, but what are you left with when all those spherical objects land? That's right: a big old pile of balls.
Which brings us rather neatly to Game Party Champions itself. It's a sequel to Wii mini-game atrocity, Game Party, a game so awful Team ONM couldn't bring themselves to review it. This one is slightly better, in the sense that having boiling acid poured into your ears is slightly better than being beheaded.
All Filler, No Killer
Developer Phosphor Games evidently had a budget of about 28p and a bit of lint to work with, so perhaps we should be grateful that it's at least playable.
Most games use the stylus in some way: Baseball sees a machine spit out a variety of pitches, with stylus swipes bashing the ball towards a series of square targets. Poor feedback means you can never be entirely sure if you're going to hit the two-point square, or smack it through a gap in the fence, but it's still one of the best games here.
Air Hockey, too, is no worse than mediocre, even if your AI opponents should be automatically disqualified for regularly trapping the puck underneath their mallets like the cheating gits they are.
Hoop Shoot and Football, meanwhile, see you hold the GamePad vertically, tilting to aim and flicking the stylus to throw balls at targets. You wouldn't want to play them more than a couple of times, but at least they function on a basic level.
The same can't really be said for the abysmal Miniature Golf and the barely playable Ping Pong, which sees you swipe the ball back despite the obvious handicap of an invisible bat. Still, it helps that you seem to spend most of your time playing ghosts, as the ball regularly passes through their bodies.
Water Gun asks you to soak pop-up cowboys from range, but where you aim with the GamePad bears little resemblance to the position of the wobbly crosshair on your TV, forcing you to squint at the targets on the small screen instead. It's like being asked to fire a water pistol at microscopic algae.
Strife Of Riley
There are variants for each, but you'll have to suffer through a misguided story mode to unlock them. This tells the tale of a sad-sack called Riley, encouraged by his/her face-punchingly irritating friend, Jace, to "own some faces" at the local arcade (wise advice, as theirs don't seem to fit properly). Regardless of gender, these bug-eyed meat puppets jerk and twitch like a malformed Silent Hill enemy and most of them resemble a partially melted Justin Bieber.
There's a Party mode so crushingly dull it makes Mario Party look like a work of art, and if you don't find the games quite annoying enough, you can use the Wii remote to "grief your friends". Buy Game Party Champions and grief is exactly what you'll experience: the overwhelming sadness that only comes from playing a game this lousy.