Cons: horrible load times, more bad than good minigames
The Bottom Line: Take it or leave it - but there's really nothing to see here.
Sneaky, sneaky.... Our House: Party! is a walking advertisement for Home Depot more than it is a game. Really, just call it an interactive commercial.
Our House: Party! is made by Majesco Entertainment, the same company that brought you the Cooking Mama series and Gardening Mama (see my other reviews for more information). They are known for minigame compilations that simulate real-life activities. In Our House: Party your goal is to get the highest score in as many games as possible in order to renovate your home to be the best on the block. Winning minigames earns you "screws" - the ingame currency - which you can then spend at Home Depot on items to upgrade your home's value, such as new carpeting.
This game is played with the remote and nunchuck and supports up to four players. If you have less than four players, the game will force you to play against automated opponents that fill the empty spots.
The main menu brings you to four options. Play goes to playing the actual game. Games allows you to practice individual minigames with your friends (or against the computer). Options lets you adjust the sound levels in-game. Share lets you send your saved games to your friends.
For review purposes, I'm using Play mode, as more people will ever use that than just the Games option. The goal of Play mode is to build the house with the highest value within 6 minigame rounds. Your virtual neighbors have some strange houses - including the option of a gingerbread house or pagoda. To do this, you have to win from your choice of 24 different games that come in a variety of 175 different variations. At the beginning of each round, you'll head off to The Home Depot for a cash register race to get a bonus item before the round starts.
The games you have to choose from include Audio In/Video Out (a memory game), Clear the Deck! (a puzzle slider game), Green Thumb (a gardening game), Hammer Time (a Whack a Mole style game) and more. Some of the games are excellent, and others fail horribly.
Clear the Deck! and Audio In are two of the better ones - the controls are perfect and intuitive. In Clear the Deck, you use the nunchuck to push furniture out of doorways as fast as possible. The bigger the furniture, the more points you earn. The nunchuck's analog stick is responsive to your character's pushing motions. In Audio In, you use the remote to point at two items in the hope of making a match - all you have to do is aim the remote and press the A button. These simpler games work well with the control schemes given.
Others, like the Cash Register Race, give you horrible instructions to start with and even worse controls - even my game-controlled opponents couldn't score! For Cash Register Race, you use your nunchuck to control a shopping cart inside Home Depot. Your goal is to pick up an item - hopefully of the highest value - before your opponents and get back to the cash register to check out. Although the nunchuck was great for steering, no matter what angle I hit the items at, I could not pick them up. In my eight tries at this I never once got anything. Paint Yourself Into a Corner requires that you use the nunchuck's analog stick to rub paint onto a wall, with the goal of covering more area than your opponents. This fails completely - waving the remote up and down would have been far better. The number of these failures far outweighs the winners. Controls that would have made sense - like using the remote for the painting games - are replaced by more illogical decisions - like using the nunchuck for painting.
The game is cute, though - it has an art style similar to Animal Crossing, or a more refined Mii. Cartoony big heads and bright colors are all the rage here. Think a low-resolution Pixar movie. The music is neither good or intrusive, but not noteworthy either. Sound effects include a cartoonish hammering sound, sawing wood, leaf blowers, etc. but the background music certainly doesn't stand out. I couldn't convince four people in my house to all play together so I can't speak on the multiplayer aspect, although it can't be far off from playing with the computer controlled opponents.
One of my other major complaints was that the load times are awful. A minigame that should have taken 90 seconds to complete took more than 5 minutes including all the loading - and there's a loading screen for every single change you make. Not good for a game that calls itself "fast paced party fun".
Our House: Party! is at best a good rental, but not a significant staple for a game library. It comes close, but just doesn't make the cut.
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About the reviewer
Tina Duncan (bunniesnbuggies)
Always super busy mom to a very energetic kid and a very devilish cat. Forever starting new hobbies and working on old ones. In my spare time I enjoy reading, video games, World Of Warcraft … more
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Design your custom house, shop for raw materials, build your dwelling and decorate the interior to your liking, then unveil your creation to the neighborhood! In Our House, you and your friends will race against the clock and each other to buy the best materials in the ultimate home improvement store! But that's only half the fun because after the mad rush, you'll construct your dream house with your purchases. Use your Wii Remote to hammer, saw, paint and much more as you assemble your house from the ground up.