|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Canada||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 23, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Visually, EA Playground goes for a cartoony, cutesy look that incorporates a bright, colorful, MySims-esque feel. The schoolyard and the characters are all lively with vivid coloration. There's a bit of a western anime feel to the game too, with stout characters performing flips and acrobatic moves in their readying stance. The visual style is such a good fit with the Miis that it is a disappointment that the game doesn't allow you to use your Miis in the game.
The controls vary from the different minigames. A major odd choice that EA made is to exclude the nunchuk, so your character controls using the D-pad, which feels awkward from the start. Some of the games controls are boringly simple, such as tetherball and wall ball, which simply require you to swing the Wii-mote to hit the ball, although pressing the button varies the strength and pitch of your hit. Paper racers is the most intuitive, letting you control your paper airplane as if you were holding it. Dodgeball again falls short the most, with dodging is done by shaking the Wii-mote while throwing the ball is performed by thrusting the Wii-mote forward. However, again you move by using the D-pad, so your character moves slowly and awkwardly to pick up loose balls, which ultimately ruins the pacing. Dodgeball winds up feeling more like a chore than a pleasurable game.
One good thing that EA Playground does have going for it is the ability to play all of the games with multiplayer, although that is a given for a game like this. The games do become more fun if you're challenging a friend, although there is no online multiplayer.
Although EA Playground is obviously meant for children, it falls short severely in depth. The comparisons to Wii Sports are inevitable, and since Wii Sports is free EA Playground is going to be hard pressed to compete with Nintendo's packaged in title. However, if you're able to look beyond the comparison to Wii Sports, EA Playground offers a lot to a younger gamer with some time to kill, especially if they've played Wii Sports to death already.
CCC Lead Contributor / News Director