The Nintendo Switch has had an unbelievable first year, and while there has been a great influx of indie games, it seems that mini-game collections haven’t really made the jump yet. Well, Party Planet changes all of that, bringing a budget-friendly mini-game collection to the Switch made for gatherings with friends, but also with some solo-play focus as well. However, is Party Planet really what we need, or is it just another shovelware collection marking the first of many potential titles on the Switch? The answer is somewhere in the middle.
First off, Party Planet is available on the Nintendo eShop digitally, but physically only at GameStop or EB Games in North America, and has a good price for the number of games that you are getting in the package. The game sadly has no story mode, instead, you’re shown the available mini-games, and the ones that you can unlock when you start the game. Due to the number of single-player only games, and the fact that you need to grind out countless games to unlock more, you would think that Mastiff would include some sort of story to keep you engaged instead of casually picking up and playing random games. Regardless, there is a decent amount of variation in the games represented, even if many of them are clones of popular mobile games, and video game classics.
Some of the games, while being clones of popular games, aren’t really that bad. The weird vegan snake game is a decent version of Snake, but it feels weird to even be talking about Snake in a game review in 2018. I played that game a ton on my calculator back in high school, and then on my first cellphones, so having an “updated” version feels even weirder than the Asteroids clone. There are also versions of mobile “classics” like Flappy Bird, if that is even a classic, and Doodle Jump, amongst others. For the most part, the games control well enough, but quite a few, like the mini-golf, I wanted to smash my controller on more than one occasion. Out of all of them though, the game I played the most was the Zuma clone; I just find something so relaxing about that game and was actually quite happy that it was included in the collection. There are a few original games that are good, like the Viking game where you are inputting controller commands, but the good ones are few and far between.
While the games vary from just OK to uninspired and just frustrating, the game does look very good. When you start up the game, the graphical sheen is incredibly noticeable, and the game does a good job at being one of the better-looking mini-game collections on any system I’ve played. As well, the music is pretty catchy and I was humming the songs more than a few times while I was grinding out games to unlock more games. So while the game sometimes falls a bit flat in the gameplay department, at least it looks and sounds pretty good. I would like to mention again though, that the game would have benefited from some kind of story mode, where some of these environments and characters were explored further, as Mastiff has done a really good job with the overall design, the game just needed a bit more meat to it.
However, the question is how is Party Planet as a party game? Well even with some of my issues with it, the game was a blast over the holidays with my family and friends. We had numerous gatherings over the holidays, and of course, the Switch was incredibly popular. While people mostly wanted to play Mario Kart, I would bust out Party Planet, and everyone, aged 5 to 65, had an easy time just grabbing joycons and playing the mini-games. Obviously, older gamers latched onto the Asteroids and Snake type classic games, while the younger kids that play games on their tablets were more familiar with the Doodle Jump type games. The gaming sessions tended to last an hour or so, and everyone was pretty happy with the games and only once did someone complains about a game that I hadn’t unlocked and that they couldn’t play until a later date.
When all is said and done, Party Planet is an OK mini-game collection. Playing it solo wasn’t the most enjoyable experience; just grinding by playing games I didn’t have an interest in to unlock other games is aggravating. However, when other people were added to the equation, it was very much a serviceable party game experience. If you have a bunch of kids, or have people over often and are looking for a good mini-game collection, well Party Planet is pretty decent. The graphics are quite nice overall as is the music, and while there are many rehashes of classic games, Mastiff has done a good job at putting together a nice little package. Just be aware that some of the games have some control issues, and there is some grinding involved. If you’re OK with this, and want a mini-game collection for your gaming library, well you could do far worse than Party Planet, and it’s worth giving a go if you’re in the market for such a game.
A physical copy of Party Planet was provided by Mastiff for the purpose of this review.