After you first opened that big white box you'd just spent your hard-earned money on, unwrapped the plastic and cables, connected them all up, and blasted through a few enjoyable rounds of tennis and bowling, many of us yearned to use the motion properties of Wii for more elaborate, rage-reducing purposes. Driving your sword through Moblins in Zelda or squishing armless Goombas in Mario holds appeal, but to date there has not been a notable release where you could just let rip at everything in your sight, swinging the controllers around like a madman. Well, sorry potential psychos; it looks like you'll need to quell your urges a little while longer.
A Day of Fury puts you in the skinny frame of Jack, who dreams of a Hawaiian paradise. Instead, he wakes up to irritation on a massive scale: cars honking, cats screeching, doors slamming, you name it. So he does what any rational person would do and goes absolutely bonkers, tearing up everything in his (and, by extension, your) way, including traffic jams, alarm clocks and his workplace. An obvious premise to be sure, but it's a good excuse to smash things up and the scenario does the job nicely. The same could not be said for the rest of the game, however.
Starting off in his apartment, you'll first need to run around and destroy all the buzzing alarm clocks with your slipper, all the while avoiding hazards like bugs and spiders. What stops this being as fun as it sounds is the control scheme that is forced upon you. The Wii Remote and Nunchuk work fine in tandem, but the mapping of in-game functions really should have been given more thought. Take, for example, the analogue stick. Anyone who has played or even seen a first person shooter on Wii (which this game could almost claim to be in places, and it uses the same viewpoint) can attest to how well an analogue stick works for movement while the Remote's pointer controls the aiming and looking around. Here the stick is used to look around, while it is the D-pad that controls your character's movement; the pointer is completely ignored. A small saving grace is the way that the different objects you pick up feel authentic in the way you have to swing the Wii Remote to use them, either when standing or when crouching by holding the Z button, at least.
It isn't just the control mapping that is a hindrance though, but how you actually interact with the world. You're not hugely free to explore the levels, being forced to go where the game wants you to. Not only that, but practically every section of movement is filled with bugs, little green and red men and zombiefied security guards getting in your way. The weapons you use to get rid of these obstacles do have a good feel to them however; later on, when you get to throw bricks and stones, the game starts to live up to its premise rather than inducing further stress.
A Day of Fury is more of a high score, quick play kind of game, as enemy attacks do very little damage to your sanity heart meter, and many of the items you find when smashing up stuff either restore health, or more likely boost your points total. Or they blow up in your face. Aiding this notion is the main menu, which offers nothing except a choice of difficulty levels, and level selection; okay for those just wanting a speedy bit of (limited) fun, but others will seriously need to consider where their 800 points are going.
Stop Stress uses a fairly basic 3D world. Keeping in mind WiiWare's file limitations, that is of little surprise, and the artistic and surprisingly expression-filled cutscenes slightly make up for it. Taking on-board a theme of rage-induced hallucinations, Abylight have greatly exacerbated regular real world irritations into much more. A killer toaster and violent baby gorilla are particular highlights, and it is at these zany moments where the game is at its best. There are very few voice samples in the game - or text, for that matter - but the backing tracks are fairly upbeat, and the grunts and groans from Jack and the world's inhabitants work just fine.
On the surface, Stop Stress looks to have a lot of potential use and enjoyment, and initially that holds to be true, but the highly limited list of features you'll be getting for your buck, the laughably low number of levels (number of fingers on one hand) that last barely 10 minutes each, and the considerably restrictive controls makes this one to only consider when you have Wii Points burning a hole in your account. And it would have to be a deep hole.
Restricted, but fun at times for when you just want to destroy stuff. The controls cannot be re-mapped and are poor, as are the linear objectives.
Basic 3D structure. Levels, though minimal in number, are varied, and enemy design is fairly good. Not a benchmark, but there is worse on WiiWare.
Grunts and groans, some effective background tunes, and little else.
In three words, not a lot. What you get here is a very short, very narrow-minded brawler with little in the way of surprise, and almost non-existent replay value, even with high score temptations.
Abylight's first foray on WiiWare is an ambitious one, yet hits every hurdle and trips with laces tied over the finish line. Stop Stress has its fun moments, but these are overshadowed by insistently limited controls, basic visuals, and severely limited lifespan. More likely to induce than reduce frustration.