Games for Lunch: Furu Furu Park
System: Nintendo Wii
Release Date: Jan. 16, 2008
ESRB Rating: E
0:00 I played this game for about 10 seconds at E3 2007, and it was mildly entertaining back then. Will it hold up for an hour? I have my doubts.
0:01 Pet peeve: I hate Wii games that don't let you use the pointer to navigate the menus. Using the d-pad is much less natural to me. Oh, well.
0:02 In Rank mode, "Bogey the pig will rank your true nature!" How can I say no to that?
0:03 Bogey is a cute, green pig in a neon room right out of "The Matrix." "You came here so I can measure your true nature and rank you, right?" I believe we have established that. I love the old-school, 16-bit style music.
0:04 I get to choose which five mini-games I'm ranked in. Brain, Power, Balance and Technique are the categories. Sonic Blastman! Pocky and Rocky! Awesome! Puzzle Expert, Unwrap the Money, less awesome.
0:06 Bogey: "Right now, I'd say you're a... water flea! Wha ha ha ha." This is the oddest apparent insult I've ever received from a virtual pig.
0:07 Sonic Blast Man is first. A nice animation shows me how to hold the Wii remote and punch. The d-pad rotates SBM around to various encroaching meteors.
0:09 The mini-game is kind of hard, until I realize you don't have to wait for the meteors to get close before punching. Not bad, but not as fun as the punching-glove-equipped arcade game. Oh, well.
0:12 Pocky and Rocky is next, played with the remote in "NES style" The game is a standard run-and-gun -- like the SNES original ? except it's now in 3-D. The super-zoomed camera makes it hard to see where the enemies are coming from. For a mini-game, this is surprisingly tough. I'm still ranked as a "water flea."
0:15 A simplified version of Bubble Bobble is next, but it just doesn't feel right. There's only one simple stage, with slow-moving, constantly regenerating enemies and an odd, paper cut-out aesthetic. Bleh. I'd rather play the original. On the plus side: "You leave everything to your parents and all you do is cry. You're... A baby!" Damning with faint praise there, pig.
0:17 The Arkanoid mini-game is just like the arcade block-breaking classic, complete with power-ups. The remote-twisting controls make it hard to hold the paddle in place, but it's still manageable. The whole thing is over after one quick level, though. Boo, I wanted more. My ranking goes up to "Chimpanzee." So "baby' is lower than "chimp"? Ouch!
0:20 Karate Fight is odd. You have to twist the remote in time with commands, but it's hard to tell when you're succeeding. The interface needs some work. The "Oink 1000" computes my final rankings: "Human." Bogey tells me to "Come back again! Not that I'm lonely or anything!" Heh.
0:22 Enough of Rank mode, lets go to Free mode and run down the rest of these games as quickly as possible.
0:23 Skateboard: Another twist-the-remote game like Karate Fight, but this time with a skating motif. Doesn't seem very accurate or interesting. Next!
0:25 Unwrap the Mummy should be renamed "Shake the remote as fast as you can for a minute or so." NEXT!
0:26 The best thing about Pinch Hitter is the pitcher with a huge green afro. Everything else about this home run derby mini-game is basic and uninspiring.
0:29 Swan Runner is a surprisingly well-designed tube-running game. Tilt the joystick to slide along the inside of a tube and avoid obstacles/collect power-ups. The Wii remote controls are a little twitchy, but the game as a whole shows promise.
0:31 Sushi is a simple matching game with Wii remote controls grafted on it. Good interface, decent concept, but not much staying power.
0:32 Submarine Escape tells me to "Hold the Wii remote sideways and shake it vigorously to rise." Dirty! What's this game rated again? Overall, the mini-game is slow-paced, hard to control, and extremely frustrating.
0:35 The best part of Hammer Throw is seeing the little Furu Furu guy swinging three giant, afro'ed brothers at once. Otherwise, there's nothing to recommend the simple, remote-twisting mini-game.
0:38 Treasure Hunter is a cute little game of running around, collecting coins, and avoiding bombs. It's a little too easy to fall in the holes, but it's got some appeal to it.
0:41 Swan Shooter is an average, overhead space shooter that quickly devolves into a confusing bullet hell boss. NEXT!
0:42 Camel Maze is an excellent remake of the arcade classic Cameltry. Rotate the maze around a constantly falling ball, avoiding traps and hitting blocks to get to the end. The Wii controls work surprisingly well. I wish this was the entire game.
0:44 Robo Clash was better under its original name: "Swing the Wii remote like a hammer over and over again for a minute or so."
0:46 Bird Man is even more annoying than Robo Clash. You have to twist the remote like bicycle pedals. This is hell on my wrists and no fun AT ALL!
0:49 Safe is a glorified memory game with some Wii controls thrown in. Way too easy.
0:50 Takiyoki probably made sense in Japan, but I get lost trying to make the octopus-batter turnovers things. Give me Cooking Mama any day.
0:51 Snow Cone, to its credit, can tell when I'm trying to cheat by simply shaking the remote. Unfortunately, twisting it like a crank is not very interesting.
0:54 Puzzle Expert is a somewhat interesting spiral puzzle, but the Wii controls are too slow and get in the way of the fun.
0:56 Dragonfly Hunter is a somewhat surreal game based around making dragonflies dizzy. Is this a major pastime in Japan or something?
0:57 Who knew soccer penalty kicks were just a matter of spinning the Wii remote as fast as you can? Not me! Now that I've played Sudden Death, I know!
0:59 Rev the Engine may be the world's first motorcycle-based rhythm mini-game. Not that this is saying much.
1:00 The remaining games all seem to be remakes or earlier ones (Sushi FEVER!, Swan Shooter Night Strike, etc.) and I'm out of time anyway, so I'll leave them be.
Would I play this game for more than an hour? No.
Why? Most of the games seem designed for eight-year-olds, and the three or four that aren't wouldn't hold my interest more than 10 minutes, tops.
This column was based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
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