|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Jet Black Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 12, 2008||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|
In the United States, every Wii system sold has come packed together with the wildly popular Wii Sports game. This compilation of sports mini-games served as a template to showcase what the system's motion controls were capable of in a variety of different types of gameplay. Since Wii Sports helped to define the console, as well as sell it to the casual market, it didn't come as much of a surprise to find a multitude of imitators quickly trying to capitalize on this somewhat new genre of video games for the system.
Fast forward a little over two years now and there are so many mini-game compilations available for the Wii that any new entry in this genre either needs to be very good or ridiculously bad to have any chance of standing out in this completely oversaturated market. Unfortunately, the massive middle zone of indifference located between these two extremes is exactly where Neighborhood Games falls into.
As with just about every other mini-game compilation on the system, Neighborhood Games gives players an assortment of different motion controlled snippets of gameplay to experience. In the single-player portion of the game, players will create their own characters and then attempt to topple the masters of several different events around town. Keeping with the neighborhood theme, every available mini-game is at least loosely based on something that you might find neighborhood kids doing to pass their free time.
Players start out with five events to choose from consisting of lawn darts, horseshoes, shuffleboard, bocce, and basketball 21. Every event in the game comes with three different difficulty levels to tackle but successfully completing them on their easiest difficulty is all that is required to progress. Once this victory has been achieved, players will unlock the next event in its series. For example, beating lawn darts unlocks dart ball, which can then be completed to unlock water darts. There are three different events for each type of activity found in the game and combined with the three difficulties apiece; total completion should take you at least a few hours of gameplay.
While each event has its different difficulties and unlockable variants, the fact still remains that everything in the game feels basically the same. Every mini-game involved in the single-player aspect of Neighborhood Games borrows its controls almost directly from Wii Sports Bowling. Everything from throwing a lawn dart to shooting a basketball is handled by having the player hold down the B trigger, swinging the Wii-mote forward and up in an underhanded motion, and then releasing the B trigger.
Logic would dictate that if every mini-game uses the same controls as a two year old game (Wii Sports) that already got them right, everything should work rather well. Unfortunately, this is just not the case. Although the motions required are fairly basic, the speed at which you swing your Wii-mote plays a huge role in every mini-game. The distance lawn darts, horseshoes, and basketballs fly are all determined by how much oomph players exert in their swinging motions.