Title: Party Planet
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: December 12th, 2017 (NA)
Review copy provided by Mastiff
Party Planet is a legit surprise release. This is the first retail release from Mastiff since Band Fuse: Rock Legends on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 way back on November 19th, 2013, so just over 4 years ago! Another interesting fact is that this game is developed by Teyon, who’ve had quite the history with Teyon, developing the Heavy Fire titles on Wii (as well as PS3 and 360) as well as the Remington (later retitled Outdoor Adventures) titles on Wii and 3DS. So this game is basically a revival of something commonly seen a gen ago but thought to never be seen again. Mastiff to Nintendo fans are very crucial in the fact that it was they who are responsible for Gurumin being ported to 3DS (check out my review of this!), literally doing something its creator Falcom would never do on their own (they famously hardly ever touch Nintendo hardware). Nintendo fans owe a lot to Mastiff in my opinion. I in particular am VERY grateful!
So Party Planet is here and just sort of came out of nowhere (initially leaked via GameStop’s website, the game’s exclusive retail release provider). It’s certainly different from Gurumin (sadly lacking a blue dude dancing to the killer beat of a boom box). So how did this mysterious game turn out? Let’s find out!
Party Planet is a mini-game compilation with 30 titles to play, each naturally with its own type of gameplay, with a number being quite familiar to many from over the years. At the beginning you’re given a modest selection of games, and in each you earn a star ranking for getting a particular score; bronze, silver, and gold, the usual stuff. Some mini-games require a certain number of gold stars to unlock, and others require a certain rank to unlock. You earn experience upon finishing a game (whether you “lose” or not), and you level up seemingly increasing in rank.
So far I’ve played about half of the games from what I can, and honestly some are legit fun, others not as much. One example is the first game you’ll see; Bouncing Fish. This game is very simplistic and challenging to get a high score (this is a good thing!), you bounce back and forth in a rectangular stage, and your job is to rack up points. You get points by hitting the walls, as well as collecting gold dots. There’s no time limit and your challenge is to avoid occasional enemies and hazards such as spikes and buzzsaws. You can hold A to move faster which is vital and honestly, this particular game rocks. I can legit see this being a good $1-2 eShop game that I’d highly recommend. I should note that Teyon also develops the Bird Mania series which is on 3DS and Wii U (and I’m sad that so far it’s not in this game, it’d fit right in) and those games are a buck or two, so it’s a point of reference for how they could attempt to sell these individual games.
A second game which I’m a legit fan of is a Luxor clone called River Defense. You’re in a pond and you’re a monkey holding some kind of bazooka (it works), and you shoot marbles in a 360 degree way and your job is to shoot the marble into a line of marbles, and get say a green marble attached to two other green marbles to clear them. I’ve always wanted to play a Luxor game (get one on Switch Mumbo Jumbo!) and this legit is a great substitute. Again, this can be a great cheap sell on its own.
One game that’s more of a miss (at least for me) is one called Block the Bug where you’re placing stones in a hexagonal (or whatever lol) grid to keep a bug from escaping. You get three stones to place before it starts moving, but I can’t seem to get more than one round done. Practice makes perfect I guess? 😛
Another game called Space Rockets has you shooting rockets at a spinning moon, and your job is to hit all the required rockets at the moon each round, and avoid hitting a placed rocket with another which will cause it to explode, ending the game. I like this one, usually get 4 rounds done. The required rockets increase in each round.
Another is a game called Fennec Fox Tower starring a arctic fennec fox (Alolan Fennekin?) in an Ice Climber like platform jumping game where you jump up a series of platforms, avoiding the rising water, while collecting carrots for points. You can also collect a bonus that can help or hinder you. It can give you a double jump, a shield against snowballs that cause you to be pushed back, or make upcoming platforms smaller. The effects are temporary however.
Fennec Fox Tower
One game called Alien Balloonists that made me raise an eyebrow to the moon is one that is legit a clone of Balloon Fight… is Nintendo okay with this? (would they not try to own a patent? I guess if Bust-a-Move/Puzzle Bobble‘s been cloned to death then…), anyway, it’s exactly what you’d think it is; you play as a green dino (NOT Yoshi sadly), and your job is to hit the balloons of enemies from above them (you get two balloons before you die), and you have to pop their balloon and also themselves when they’re vulnerable (you can kill them instantly if you catch them before they lift off). It’s fun but still… kind of blatant ha ha!
Another game is called Bear Battalion and it is CRAZY! You play as a man who’s in the center of a four-way path, and then a bunch of bears come at you in all directions. Your task? PUNCH THEM! Literally you hit A to kill them in one hit and it’s a game of quick reflexes and timing. This is a great mini-game with a hilarious concept, I loved this one! There’s another game called Cups of Truth, and it’s your classic “find the ball beneath the cup after I swap them around” game, but it’s a chess piece instead. I also loved this one since it’s fair and with good eye-tracking it’s fun yet challenging. It gradually gets faster, adds more cups, and has you finding two chess pieces.
Other games include a traditional match two memory card game literally just called Memory, a timed side-scrolling hopping cricket game called Hopper Jump (it’s fun), a game called Mystical Totem where you’re an Eskimo chopping down a totem pole from the left or right side to avoid freezing and being hit by a totem wing. There’s also a Snake clone called Super Vegan Anaconda where you have free 360 degree movement and have to eat fruit to grow without touching the walls or your own body three times. Honestly I enjoyed this compilation a lot more than I expected. It’s also a fitting digital game to have with you at all times so you can hop right in to play the ones that work for you.
Presentation-wise, it’s pleasant. The game mostly uses 2D art but there’s some 3D models (such as the planet in the main menu, and the asteroids in an asteroid shooting game). It runs in 1080p and 60fps docked and 720p and 60fps in portable mode, but during loading it stutters a bit, but it runs just fine during normal gameplay. Music-wise… it’s a mixed bag. What’s there is fine, but there seems to only be like 3-4 tracks in the whole game, so be prepared to hear the same tracks over and over again.
One thing I need to stress is the a lot of the games support up to 4 players (with optional single Joy-Con support to boot!). It IS meant to be played with friends, but since I don’t have anyone to play this with easily, I have to judge it on a single-player level, and honestly? You’d be surprised how much mileage you can get alone. I can legit see folks going solo enjoying a number of games just fine. Obviously I can see there being good times when you’re playing with others. One issue as far as recommending this game goes, is of course the price. It’s $50 CDN, and yeah some of the games are quite enjoyable for sure, but I got my copy for free so I don’t get any regret about spending money on this, I can only imagine doing so, and yeah, I can see how $50 is something that’s pretty steep for what’s being offered, especially if only some of the games are good. Honestly my main joy is just seeing Mastiff put out a Switch-exclusive new IP by a longtime partner in Teyon (who’s also given 3DS LOTS of support last gen). But I was legit surprised how much I enjoyed some of the games and how much time I put in (I turn around and all of the sudden 2 hours go by, heh!).
As I suggested, I think releasing the games on their own on the Switch eShop would be a wise idea. Both can exist; a retail compilation, and the individual games on the eShop, best of both worlds if that’s what you’d like! I’m extremely eager to see what Mastiff have next in store for Switch. How about Gurumin based on the Steam version, or perhaps a brand-new exclusive Heavy Fire title that uses the Joy-Con gyro-aiming like Splatoon 2 and the Resident Evil Revelations games that just came out? Eh? Eh? 😉 Oh and get Falcom to allow you to port their RPGs over, I mean I’d think a guy named Hero of Legend would love to play a game series called Legend of Heroes (that may or may not star a hedgehog called Cold Steel), am I right? 😉
+ Some of the mini-games are legit fun, such as the bouncing fish one, as well as the Luxor, Snake, and Balloon Fight clones.
+ It’s got a nice colorful style and runs well enough.
+ A lot of the mini-games supports 4-players.
+ There’s good variety in the mini-game selection, no two mini-games feel the same.
+ Surprisingly enjoyable when solo, despite the multiplayer being a large selling point.
– Some of the mini-games are misses, such as the beetle blocking one personally.
– Music’s is alright, but there’s a really small amount of tracks (seemingly 4, 5 if you’re lucky), and in a 30-game collection, that’s not very good.
– Price is steep, even for a 30-game collection. Better sold on their own on the eShop so folks can choose which they want to buy.