I have been in the habit of telling people to stick with either Nintendo first party games or characters when choosing Wii titles. I mean, how can you go wrong with anything Mario, Samus or DK right? However, several games lately have shaken off the third party shovelware stereotype of being a pile of junk. One of these games is Guilty Party. This game, developed and published by Disney Interactive, is one of the most entertaining games on the Wii system that I’ve played so far. Fans of whodunits or games like Clue will immediately fall in love with this great mystery that offers great game play and an awesome cast of new characters from Disney.
Up to four players can take control of one of seven detectives from the Dickens Detective Agency in story mode to chase down the bad guy, Mr. Valentine. You will chase Valentine through 8 very different environments(though they play the same)before you finally track him down. On their turn, players draw a card. These cards can give you various power-ups like shout out, which calls any suspect to you, or quickness which lets you move without using a token. Between player turns Valentine throws out cards too. He can turn out lights, lock rooms, or put traps in rooms. Some of the cards you draw have the ability to undo one of Valentine’s traps which is helpful. More helpful than that are the Bonus Token cards. These give you extra tokens and tokens are essential to solving the crime. They are how you move your character, interrogate suspects, pick up environmental clues and eventually accuse the Guilty Party. If you don’t have tokens you can’t do anything on your turn. So after you have drawn your card and if you have tokens(you can hold up to 6), the fun starts. Players move from room to room picking up clues and talking to the game’s supporting cast to find out who committed the crime. Certain clues will only appear after you speak to certain people so its best to spread out and talk to all the suspects. Interrogations and clue finding involves mini games which no Wii game would be complete without. They range from staredowns with suspects to bribing them with cash. They are a lot of fun and each player can set their own difficulty. It is imperative that you complete them on your first try because the Guilty Party will only stick around for so many turns. Ultimately, if you are going to catch the crook, your team wants to find out whether the Guilty Party has short or long hair, is tall or short, round or skinny, and male or female. All of the clues are held in your notebook and you can mark down the aforementioned characteristics as you find clues to prove them correct. It all works great and the game truly plays like a board game in video form.
After you’ve completed the story, which lasts about 5 hours, you still have a lot of replay value in party mode. In party mode you can replay any of the 8 levels on one of three difficulties including diabolical which is unlocked during the campaign. Not only is this a fun mode but it also helps you unlock the in-game badges that act as achievements. It is pretty customizable as well so you can set up the length of the game, how many turns before the Guilty Party escapes, etc. There is also the game room which opens up after you complete one party mode. Game room basically lets you play the mini-games from the single player and party mode as a stand alone game type. This is great practice and a lot of fun for your younger detectives in the house.
I can’t say enough good things about Guilty Party. Sure it has some flaws. The campaign is a bit short and I would have liked to be able to use my Mii in the game but there is no avatar support. Also, some sort of online capabilities would have been nice. Even a leaderboard to show who could solve the crimes the fastest or by using the least amount of cards would have been cool. Those are small complaints though for a game that is truly a treat to own and play. If you have a Wii, you should have Guitly Party 8.5/10