As collections of minigames go, Club Penguin’s Nintendo Wii debut, Club Penguin: Game Day!, is one of the best this reviewer has ever played. To this point, the Disney Club Penguin franchise has had a few games on the DS, a massive web presence, and some books, but the penguins certainly prove that they can hang with the big boys on a console here.
It is all an easy enough setup – there is a Story Mode, a Quick Pay mode, and a Tournament one. In the story mode, where the heart of one player activity lies, you first creates a penguin (usable in any mode) or you can download a previously created one via Nintendo’s WFC. From there you choose which color team you want to be on (red, blue, yellow, green) and then have to visit the various areas of the island in order to convert them from an opposing team’s color to that of your team. Each area features a different combination of minigames and by completing certain tasks within that series (beat one team “x” number of times, come in first “y” number of times, etc.) you then gain the opportunity to play one more minigame in order to take control of the area. The more games you play and win, the more activities and shop items get unlocked.
In minigame collections, it really is all about the actually games that one gets to engage in and whether or not they prove to be stimulating over and over again (because you will see the same minigames repeatedly). With Game Day the answer is a very enthusiastic “yes!” The games are of varying levels of difficulty and some of them change slightly each time you go through them.
As for specific examples, one of the best is called Sumo Smash and puts you and three other penguins, each penguin covered with inner tubes, on a circular piece of ice floating in the sea. The goal is to simply bounce into other penguins and knock them off the ice which gives you points. Sometimes around parts of the ice are poles that help keep characters from falling, other times the poles have bumpers on them to push penguins back to the middle, and sometimes the edges of the ice crack making the field of play smaller. For a very simple concept there is a lot more happening.
In total, Game Day features 12 different minigames and almost without exception they are a great deal of fun. There are sack races, an excellent bobsled course, snowball fights, and four team hockey among others. But, the fun doesn’t stop with the minigames, you can go around the island and interact with other penguins too, and many of the games feature the ability to collect coins which can actually be transferred to your online account and used there. Then, as if that wasn’t already enough, should you want to go play at a friend’s house with your penguin (and why wouldn’t you, this is a party game), you can transfer your penguin to your Wii remote and just bring the remote with you. Then, coins earned at by you at your friends will still appear in your game back at home the next time you use it. It’s a very well thought out system that also actually seems to work.
As for Quick Play and Tournament mode, the former allows you to play a single unlocked event while the latter creates a group of four events to be played. For a simple minigame collection, there is a lot going on, and nearly all of it is fun.
Those already invested in Club Penguin as a whole will certainly enjoy what Game Day has to offer, and those who haven’t yet been part of the action will be immediately entranced by the game. It is simple, it is fun, it is cute, and it really is a game that the whole family can enjoy. Club Penguin: Game Day! is one of those titles that can convince you that the Wii could use a few dozen more party games even if thousands already exist.
Club Penguin: Game Day! is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Comic Mischief.