WarioWare: Mega Party Game$
When it comes to party games that don't have Mario in the title, finding a good one is like searching for a needle in a haystack. In fact, a good majority of them are nothing more than Mario Party ripoffs, some more blatant than others (Sonic Shuffle, Crash Boom Bang, etc). That's not to say that something is bad just because it's a ripoff, however many of them tend to feel very generic. However, for the Nintendo GameCube comes a much more unconvientional but just as quality party title that actually even surpasses Mario Party.
If you are not familiar with the concept of WarioWare, they are essentially minigame compilations. However, each minigame lasts no longer than five-eight seconds, which is why they are actually called "Microgames". Soon as the Microgame begins, a one or two word instruction on how to play it will appear and you will have to complete the objective before the fraction of a minute is over (i.e. it might say "Jump!" and you have to leap over an incoming obstacle, etc.). You are usually given a set amount of "lives" in every stage in which you will lose one for every Microgame you fail. Of course the challenge comes in when the difficulty of the games begins to gradually increase and you are given even less seconds to complete it, which can often lead to hilarious results. The Microgames in and of themselves are mostly quite quirky (and there's always one that involves nose-picking thrown into the mix).
With a concept such as this, it stood to reason that the frantic, fast paced insanity of these microgames would translate well into a party game. And indeed it did, for Mega Party Game$ is without a doubt one of the best unconventional party games on the market.
Mega Party Game$ does have a single player campaign, but it is the exact same one from the previous installment, WarioWare: Mega Microgame$ on the GameBoy Advance. The single player campaign is exactly what I just described in the previous paragraph, a series of stages where you must play through he microgames without losing all your tries in order to win and see the ending for that particular character's story. All of the microgames in Mega Party Game$ are recycled straight from Mega Micro Game$ as well, so if you already own the latter, then the sole reason to pick up this game is for the multiplayer.
Now on to the multiplayer, the meat and potatoes of this game. Unlike Mario Party and its wannabe's, there is no board game segment in Mega Party Game$. What you do have, is a plethora of different modes. For example there's "Survival Mode" where each player takes turns (or simultaenously) playing through Microgames until the last man standing is the winner when everyone else has screwed up too many times. There is a mode where each player takes turns pumping a balloon, and the one playing the microgame when it pops is eliminated until the last man is standing. There is even a co-op mode of sorts where the other players must help the player playing the games by shining a light on it for them to see what they are doing. There are a ton of other modes which can be unlocked by playing through the other multiplayer modes.
This is one of those games that is difficult to review because you simply have to play it, it is too unconventional for words. The only real con is that all the microgame$ are recycled straight from the first game with no new ones. Being that this is a party game [that relies heavily on its multiplayer aspect more so than the single player campaign of course], it is really only enjoyable with others.If you want a game that will have you and your friends laughing, Mega Party Game$ promises a brand of hilarious and frantic fun that you just do not get in games these days. It's a GameCube gem as well as a party gem that should be experienced by fans of the genre.