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The Croods: Prehistoric Party! (Wii U) Review

Review for The Croods: Prehistoric Party! on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The Croods: Prehistoric Party is based on the movie The Croods and imitates Nintendo's Mario Party series in hopes of delivering a fun party game for the entire family using the settings and characters from the film. Does it succeed in doing just that or is it only another bad movie-based game? Read on to find out…

The gameplay is indeed similar to Mario Party, with players rolling the dice on boards with different themes, playing mini-games and trying to win the overall game. Unfortunately, it's all poorly executed. First off, rolling the dice and moving around is incredibly slow-paced. For example, instead of just hitting a dice block, the characters throw a dice into the area around them. It takes at least five seconds for the game to pick a number if the dice doesn't stop first, and that's rarely the case. Moving through the spaces is slow, too, and while it sounds like a minor annoyance, it quickly adds up over all the rounds. Now, this wouldn't be so bad if there was one mini-game after each round but they can only be played if someone lands on a space for them, which are few and far between. That means most of the game consists of waiting for your turn, which is obviously extremely boring. There are items and branching paths in the level but they aren't enough to make up for this flaw.

When it comes to finally getting to play a mini-game, there are only about thirty of them and very few are actually fun to play. The forgettable nature of all of them aside, issues with the games range from broken hit detection to awkward and unresponsive controls. If played in multiplayer, only one person can use the GamePad and that gives them an extremely unfair advantage because the touch screen is used to interact with objects on the screen in certain games. With a Wii Remote, the IR pointer is used, which is obviously a lot slower. Shells - the currency in this game - are awarded after each mini-game, with the winner getting the most, while the 4th-placed player still gets one as a consolation prize. Unfortunately, these items are largely useless and there's no reward for winning a lot of mini-games. Items can be bought - which can also be gained on a few item spaces - at shops, but those are extremely rare and shells earned, typically, just go to waste.

Screenshot for The Croods: Prehistoric Party! on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The hub world contains all five boards in the game, four of which have to be unlocked in the previous one. This is done by reaching an invention space. While it initially sounds interesting, all your character does is invent something in a completely non-interactive way and open up the rest of the level for everybody. There are two ways to play through a board. In Trailblazer mode, the winner is whoever reaches the finish line first. Then there's Hunter-Gatherer mode, which can be unlocked by playing Trailblazer mode first. With this setting, the player with the most eggs - which can be won in mini-games - wins the game after a set number of rounds or minutes have passed. The seven Croods are all playable but it doesn't really matter which one players choose. Boards aside, the hub world contains the credits, a gallery and a mini-game room. The gallery features concept art and the like, which has to be bought with Prehistoric Coins earned by playing the game. In the mini-game room, players can freely choose a mini-game to play or go for a tournament and see who comes out on top. Some mini-games also have to be bought, however.

Adding another annoyance to the game is the interface itself. Players are regularly required to switch between the buttons and touch screen to do things for no apparent reason. The game is paused with the press of a button but after that, only the touch screen can be used to go through the options. Selecting items at the start of a turn or picking the route is only possible with either touch or pointer controls as well. It's already annoying for the GamePad user but it becomes ridiculous for anyone with a Wii Remote.

Screenshot for The Croods: Prehistoric Party! on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Painfully slow-paced processes like rolling the dice and moving spaces during the board sections, plus mostly boring mini-games plagued by control issues - some of which drag on for far too long - ruin what could have been a decent party game.


The graphics themselves are decent enough but the game is really lacking when it comes to the overall presentation, including things like the design of the interface.


The soundtrack is surprisingly good and manages to capture the prehistoric feeling but sadly it's by far the best aspect of the game and good music alone can't make up for bad game design.


There are five boards with two different rules to play on and about thirty mini-games. Some artwork and mini-games can be bought with currency earned by playing on the boards but there's not much to do beyond that.

Cubed3 Rating

Ultimately, The Croods: Prehistoric Party is simply a very disappointing experience plagued by bad game design and control issues. Younger fans of the movie might find the presentation good enough to deal with the flawed gameplay but for anyone else it's a big waste of time and money. Those looking for a great party game on the Wii U should opt for the excellent Nintendo Land instead.

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

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European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Pambo (guest) 03.05.2013 00:35#1

I'd rather yank all the hairs out of my scrotum than play this.

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