January 31, 2012
Pap the Disney Gamer's
Highlights: Guilty Party
Developed by: Wideload Games
Up until now, all the Gamer
Tuesday articles have all been based on games
created around an established Disney franchise.
Whether it be Mickey and friends, the Disney
Princesses, the Disney animated classics or even
the theme parks, these games were developed with
the hopes of using the license the development
team was given to the fullest. Yet, the truth of
the matter is that Disney HAS created original
video games under the Disney Interactive name.
These games may not get as much attention as a
title based on an animated film would, but some
of these prove to be just as engaging as the
best of them. With that, I introduce to you
today's game, Guilty Party for the Wii.
Let's play a little game.
Imagine that one day Disney was running around
with a jar full of Disney Magic. On the other
end of the hallway is Nintendo running with a
box full of Mario Party games. And coming out of
an elevator is a Hasbro executive carrying the
board game Clue. They all run into each other
and their stuff gets mixed. After a hilarious
argument who did what, out of the mess pops out
a Wii game called Guilty Party, and thus a great
game was born.
Setting aside the silly story,
Guilty Party is best described as Clue with a
heavy dose of Disney charm and the gameplay
appeal of Nintendo's Mario Party series. The
story behind Guilty Party follows a family of
mystery solvers called the Dickens Detective
Agency, run by the Commodore. After proclaiming
that he will be retiring, leaving his family to
take care of his agency, his arch nemesis, Mr.
Valentine, goes on a wild crime spree. It is up
to the super sleuths to try and unmask this bad
man before it is too late.
This is where the heavy dose of
Disney charm comes in. Guilty Party may be an
original story, but everything is presented like
a bonafide Disney product. Everything from the
way the story is developed to the main
characters just screams Disney charm at its
finest. The best part about the story is indeed
the characters. If you are a fan of the mystery
genre you will realize that the playable
characters are based off of famous mystery
character archetypes. Max Dickens, for example,
is based off of the gumshoe character like Eddie
Valiant from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Charlotte Dickens is an old lady likely inspired
by Angela Lansbury's character in Murder, She
Wrote. Finally, Butch Johnson is the typical
police officer that uses brute strength to solve
Along with the characters there
is a fun story that doesn't take itself too
seriously, yet still manages to be really
engaging. You will keep wondering who Mr.
Valentine is and why he is so hung up on the
Commodore. It's the kind of Disney story where
you can tell the writers had a lot of fun
working on it. It pays homage to some of the
most popular mystery stories, yet does it all
with its tongue firmly planted on its cheek,
never being too mean spirited but still pointing
some of the silliness that may sprout from such
To sum it up, Guilty Party is a
delight when it comes to story and characters.
What about the gameplay, though? I am very happy
to say that Guilty Play is as excellent as the
story it is based on. Much like Clue, the
objective is to move around a board picking up
clues and trying to solve the mystery. Up to
four players can play at once, and can either
play cooperatively or against each other. There
is one principal culprit, but many suspects to
investigate. The players go around the board
(each one based on a different locale like the
Dickens Detective Agency and the Aquarium)
interrogating each of the suspects.
Interrogation in Guilty Party is
one of the most fun aspects of the title. Rather
than just asking the questions and trying to
guess if the suspect is truthful or not, players
partake in small mini-games where successful
completion yields a small piece of the puzzle.
Some of the mini-games include hypnotizing the
suspect into telling the truth and even bribing
them until they are satisfied enough to loosen
their lips up. It adds a quirky element of fun
to a title that was already bathing in it.
That's not all, though. Mr. Valentine is still
on the run, and sometimes will use trap cards
that will change the board in any way. In some
cases the suspects will move around the board,
some doors will be closed and challenges will be
harder to win. Once all the clues have been
gathered and all the suspects been interviewed,
the players then use all the clues to try and
pick the suspect out. This is done by figuring
who they are using their physical description.
When all of them have been picked, the game is
won and the culprit is apprehended.
The game doesn't end there,
though. There are two main options. The first is
story mode, where you play through the game's
story, and party mode, where the objective is to
be the first player to solve the mystery and win
the game. In party mode the mystery will be
different every time you play, making each
experience unique whenever the game is loaded
onto the Wii. With the game inviting families to
play, Guilty Party does an ingenious job of
presenting its difficulty. Each player can
adjust his or her difficulty, making it easier
or harder as they see fit. That way, overall
difficulty isn't sacrificed for the sake of
accessibility. Another great thing Guilty Party
does is that if a player is having problems
completing a challenge, the game will tone the
difficulty down in order to allow completion. On
the contrary, if the player is doing great the
difficulty will rise in difficulty.
To close this edition of Gamer
Tuesday, I want to tell you a brief story.
Originally, I reviewed the game for Nintendo
World Report in 2010. Despite me enjoying the
party games released on the Wii, there was no
denying that the system was over flooded with
them. A quick search online confirms that there
are currently 70 Wii titles with the word
'Party' on them, and they were all mini-game
based titles aimed at the casual/family
audience. I approached Guilty Party with a lot
of caution, but with some hope that the game
would be decent at the very least. At the end of
my playthrough I was really delighted by it all.
I even went as far as to declare it one of the
best party games on the Wii. That is because
rather than sticking to the tried and true party
formula they created something that inspires
both the imagination and the critical thinking
skills of the player. Guilty Party is one of my
all-time favorite games on the Wii as well as
Disney game, one that shouldn't be missed. If
you are a Disney fan looking for a great game to
play with friends and family then look no
further than Guilty Party.