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In Memory
Sean Pettibone


Furu Furu Park (Wii)

Taking players on a short-burst tour of Taito's arcade history, Furu Furu Park on the Wii brings 30 hyper-kinetic mini-games to the table. It's simple to understand controls and fast pace is similar to WarioWare, though with a number of classic arcade games like Bubble Bobble, Arkanoid and classic shooting style fun, in addition to some humorous sports, puzzle and strange themed games. The controls are quite simple and spelled out between each game, making this a perfect party game. Look inside and discover if there's enough depth for extended play, or whether Furu Furu Park's sugar high wears off too quickly.

You can approach Furu Furu Park from a number of different ways. You can see it as a collection of classic mini-games to play in short bursts or look at it as a total package, where the challenge is to master all the games included. Either way, you'll find a diverse selection of games included with genres ranging from arcade classics condensed to their basic elements, to sports themed games where you have to usually recreate a moment of contact, to odd themed action ones with strange concepts and weird humor. The game allows you to choose to play either alone or with friends and lets you select which mini-games you want to play. Older gamers will probably want to check out the classic game themed ones first, with most of these offering classic play mechanics in familiar settings. For example, playing the Bubble Bobble themed mini-game allows you to hold the wiimote NES-style as you blow your bubbles to defeat the foes. Unlike the arcade game, there's a timer and the object is to survive until it runs out. There's only a single level and this makes it a quick and enjoyable challenge. Likewise, the Arkanoid mini-game features only a single level, and the goal here is to break all the blocks with only three lives. There are other classic themed levels, such as one based on Camel Race where you have to steer a ball through the maze by tilting your wiimote without hitting the sides. There are also a pair of classic shooter type levels which are quite cool, and evoke memories of Taito's classic Layer Section, though they aren't called that. Another cool retro-themed game is Super Karate, where two robots fight it out with the player moving the controller to match the combo moves. These are probably the most interesting of the mini-games, but there's more styles of play to master. You'll also discover that the games share a kind of genre that's evenly divided between action, strategy and puzzle types of play and several of them share almost identical controls.

Furu Furu has a number of puzzle games, where you can spin a picture around and discover the image inside. There are a couple of these and they range from simple to hard, where the object is to solve as many as possible before the timer runs out. Several short burst action games are included as well, such as one where you have to circle the wiimote around quickly to unwrap a mummy. You'll also find quirkier games including several cooking themed games like one where you can serve sushi that's moving quickly over a conveyor belt and another one where you have to flip pancakes. There's also a number of sports themed games including soccer, baseball and a funny hammer throw game where you have to spin some weird characters around in an Olympic style arena. Players will also find some action sports mini-games including a fun skateboarding game where you have to perform tricks before the timer runs out. There's also one where you have to pedal the wiimote to keep your racer in the air. Several action titles are included, such as Treasure Hunter, where you need to collect coins on a maze without hitting bombs that appear randomly, making this trickier than it appears. The games are all fairly decent, though some you probably won't need to play more than once or twice. You can choose to play through all of them individually in Freestyle mode, or challenge the master at his own game in career mode. All of this is wrapped in a somewhat light-hearted graphical approach that emphasizes bright colors and humorous animations. While most of the games are relatively simple to understand and play, some of them require some odd techniques, which can be confusing at first, but most players should be able to get the hang of things with little effort. For the most part, most actions are simple and easy enough to be explained and understood with a single screen. This approach makes Furu Furu an accessible title that should be playable for gamers of all ages and abilities. Unfortunately, this casual gameplay has some pretty significant drawbacks that become apparent all too quickly.

These types of party games are often overlooked by players, and with good reason. Despite accessible play mechanics and fast action, they usually tend towards the superficial. Unfortunately, Furu Furu Park suffers from the same problems most other mini-game collections, while the games taken together offer plenty of diversity and fun, once you get the hang of each one, they offer little in the way of challenge or replay value. Since each game is so short in duration and length, there's little incentive to keep playing once you've seen all the mini-games. Furu Furu tries to address this problem with its ranking mode, where you can play through five of these titles for a total score. However, even with this added challenge, the duration is still too short for extended replay. In the end, Furu Furu Park is fun while it lasts but, it doesn't last long enough.

- Michael Palisano

Grade: C-

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