The Nintendo Wii has been flooded with games featuring short multiplayer mini-game action. While we can blame Nintendo itself for much of this, not everything has turned out to be God-awful rotten like Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz. But where does EA Playground stand amongst the pick-up-and-play titles for the Wii?
If your friends are hardcore gamers, or you're trying to impress some girl or guy with your l33t gaming skills, then this probably isn't for you. But if you need a game to play with children under 10, grandmas and grandpas, or the gaming illiterate, then EA Playground is definitely something to look into.
In Playground, there's a single-player "story mode," a quick play mode that lets you jump right into the action, and a multiplayer mode for up to four people. To progress through the story mode, you'll need to complete tougher and tougher challenges to gain more marbles and unlock new areas. Beating challenges gives you stickers for your sticker book, and you can buy Super Stickers with your marbles that will unlock more powerful moves. Yeah, it kind of sounded dumb to me, too, but at least the Super Stickers add something to the game.
There are seven core games: dodgeball, slot car racing, tetherball, kicks (a combination of soccer and volleyball), foam dart shooting, wallball, and paper airplane racing. There are also some other mini-games you can partake in, but these feel a lot more like tech demos; they're boring, only fun the first time around.
The game's controls have been dumbed down to the point that there are about three or four basic movements you'll make with the Wii remote, and everything else is just button pressing. Most of these involve flicking the Wii remote in one direction or the other. While it's easy enough for newer gamers, this kind of control scheme will probably bore hardcore gamers to death... or at least away from the Wii while someone's playing.