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Furu Furu Park

Score: 75%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Majesco
Developer: Taito
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Arcade/ Classic/Retro/ Party

Graphics & Sound:

Arriving late to the party has its advantages, mostly because you don't have to be the icebreaker or get things started. The danger is that you'll wait too long and miss the party altogether. It's debatable whether the mini-game party has disbanded, but we've sure played a lot of mini-game compilations in the past twelve months. Furu Furu Park takes a stab at presenting Taito's take on the genre, but is it really something you need or want? Read on...

The graphics for older games are nicely updated for the Wii and include some very modern effects on titles like Arkanoid that are real classics. Much like the successful compilation of Atari games that recently graced PSP, Furu Furu Park doesn't try to be arcade-perfect as much as entertaining. Fans of the many games in Taito's library may scratch their heads at the decision not to include "fill in the blank with my favorite" Taito title... Furu Furu Park may see a second printing if sales go well and bring us more classic titles. For now, you'll find that Arkanoid, Bubble Bobble, Pocky & Rocky, and Camel Maze (aka Cameltry) hold plenty of nostalgia value. The Wii controls put what you see on the screen in a different context, since motion controls weren't part of the original plan for a title like Arkanoid. I can remember rocking this game on C-64, so having a chance to play it on Wii is just great.

The other 20+ titles are a mix of genres, but all share a common bond in that they look great. There are also nice visual instructions that precede each game, showing the ideal way to hold the Wii-mote while playing. A cast of funny little characters that represent you during each game round out the visual offering. The sound effects and music don't make your head spin with wonder, but they fit the bill and don't get boring. Since none of the games last exceptionally long, it will likely be the visual and sound effects you remember more than the music; the music you'll hear is good, rousing, arcade fare, in keeping with the revival spirit.


A laundry list of mini-games never makes for a very interesting review. The games you'll care most about, you already know and love. Taito was an extremely prolific and creative developer. I would give anything to play one round of Jungle King but that isn't one of the featured Furu Furu Park games... Unlike other compilations of arcade classics, Furu Furu Park contains just a very superficial layer of gaming, across thirty individual titles. It sounds like a lot, but a quick and rough breakdown of games brings the reality into focus.

You can knock six mini-games off the count right away once you notice that they are just variations on a theme rather than unique titles. With a good game like the Puzzle series (Kids, Expert, Girl) you'll be happy about the fact that there are three variations. The downside comes with something like Rev The Engine and Rev The Engine: More Groove. One psuedo rhythm-game featuring a revving engine is enough; two games on this theme start to push the boundary of good judgment. The Swan Runner and Swan Shooter series is a cool space-shooter theme, and another game that benefits from multiple iterations. There's no accounting for taste, so don't judge by what others tell you (including me) - if you like mini-game compilations or classic Taito titles, you'll find some fun in Furu Furu Park.

There are free-play options for both single and multiplayer. Players may choose to go after a ranking in what is almost a "career" mode for Furu Furu Park. Things get more interesting in multiplayer when you can play simultaneously with a friend on the same screen or split-screen style, depending on the game. The basic multiplayer competitive mode is nice but you can also launch two other styles of play. In one, you'll be judged on your compatibility and "love" for the other player depending on how you score during a series of games. The other involves a series of games where the player with the most wins takes the ultimate prize. It's all great until you realize there is not online multiplayer and no way to view leaderboards online. Especially the latter option should have been implemented to give more replay value and challenge to a game that can otherwise feel somewhat tedious.


And speaking of tedious, failing to qualify in many of these games because of questionable controls or poor explanation of the point of the game is a bummer. The controls definitely need some fine tuning in order to give players more of a fighting chance. The game mentioned earlier where you flick your wrist to simulate a revving action requires a kind of exaggerated action that still doesn't produce consistent results. The vast majority of the games in Furu Furu Park require some type of twitch reflex, and good timing. When the controls dictate your timing because they aren't responsive, the whole experience starts to slide. There aren't many of the thirty games that really feel as if they have tight, responsive control. More manual control, at least as an option, would have been an improvement in some games where the motion controls felt forced. Something like Arkanoid starts to feel this way...

Game Mechanics:

To say in one breath that Furu Furu Park suffers from less-than-ideal control and then say in another breath that the controls can be very good is not a complete contradiction. The creativity in the controls shows through nicely, in games like Unwrap the Mummy where you make a tugging motion to pull at the mummy and reveal what's hiding under all that gauze. In Swan Runner, you hold the Wii-mote vertically and turn it to slide your ship around the tunnel as you go plummeting through at high speeds. Certain games of this type, where rotating the Wii-mote causes some action on the screen, feel unresponsive and loose. Sushi and the Submarine Escape games are examples of where you sit and wait for the action to catch up with your motion, or feel like your motions are being amplified to the point that you can't perform the necessary actions with precision. The games that involve "NES Style" control, with the Wii-mote on its side, using the +Control Pad to move your character and the (1) or (2) buttons to perform some action, are quite easy to control. The Skateboard and Super Karate games respond in a seemingly random fashion to your motions, which is good if you like cheap wins. The more creative and responsive games, like Bird Man (hold the Wii-mote between your hands and make a "pedaling" motion to propel a flying bicycle) or Snow Cone (hold the Wii-mote parallel to the floor and make a "cranking" motion to grind out tasty flavored ice) just demonstrate how much is lacking from most of the others.

The proliferation of mini-game games is getting old, and motion-control is only nifty when it really, really works. The first generation of Wii games could be forgiven for less-than-stellar controls but everyone needs to be able to nail the motion controls at this point. Taito has a great catalog of really wonderful games, so it's a shame that more of the tidbits in Furu Furu Park aren't spectacular. For Wii gamers with a hankering for fun to be had with nothing but a Wii-mote in hand, that really love mini-games, this may be a good buy. Otherwise, wait for Taito 2.0 to be released and cross your fingers for the return of Jungle King!!

-Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Paddock

Sony PlayStation Portable Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law Nintendo DS Mega Brain Boost

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated