The Croods: Prehistoric Party Hands-On: The New “Modern Stone Age Family” Board Game

 

croods_wii_keyart (Custom)croods_wiiu_keyart (Custom) With Dreamworks’ new family friendly animated film The Croods heading for a March 22, 2013 release in theaters, D3Publisher of America is getting a fun little tie in game out exclusively to all four current Nintendo platforms. The Croods: Prehistoric Party isn’t at all the platformer you’d expect to drop into stores as a quickie cash in product, but a fun board game in the vein of the Mario Party franchise that packs in mini-games galore for one to four players. D3P rolled into NYC last week with a Wii U build and I got a nice bit of playtime with it as well as a look at the movie trailer (below the jump for your viewing pleasure if you’ve yet to see it). Torus Games has whipped up a cool-looking easy to hop into game that should get anyone who liked the film cracking up in front of the TV and bringing a few friends or family members along for the ride…

 

The game doesn’t follow the plot of the film ‘exactly’ but has game boards and 30 wild mini-games inspired by elements from each area in the movie. There’s a hub where you access the different levels (and do a tiny bit of running and jumping with one player) and as in the Mario games, you roll a die and move around assorted boards where a number of good and bad things can (and will) happen. The main goal is to earn more points than the other players through beating them at the different games, landing on spaces that reward you with points (or take them away if you’re unlucky) or otherwise help or hinder yourself and the others playing with you. Even if you’re lousy at the mini-games, there are sneaky ways to gain bonus points outside of them that can help even the odds a little. That and those Punch Monkeys and other hazards on the board can do you favors by socking your opponent’s score down should they land on the spots they lurk on.

The mini-games are quite fun from what I got to try out with D3P’s Michael Cerven (he’s a total ringer, I tells ya – too good at the stuff he brings around to show off, but distract him and you can get in a few points). You can bowl with a boulder (your chosen character flings him/herself and the big rock into a set of redwood-like “pins”), play in some lava (well, hop around on rocks trying to avoid a dunking in that lava), perambulate about on weird looking horned birds, and much more. Prehistoric Points gained during play help unlock concept artwork, a gallery/library of the different creatures from the film and more, so the collection aspect of the game is fairly well represented. My favorite mini-game was the seemingly endless hurdle race that reminded me of the mine cart level in Taz-Mania for the Sega Genesis. You need to be fast on the buttons with the up, down, up, down or it’s down for the count as the speed increases and those poles get closer together. When someone picks this game, expect to break into a sweat in a few places, is all I’ll say…

Torus has made a really nice-looking game here with excellent character models and some nicely detailed and increasingly colorful environments. You’re not going to be interacting with those backgrounds outside some of the mini-games, but it’s great to see the developer not just toss some plain menus between boards or otherwise cut corners. there were some slightly lengthy load times and the overall pace of getting around the board seemed a bit languid with the AI players, but as a big fan of board games and video games that get it right, I was more than impressed with what’s here. And yes, the Wii U version supports GamePad play and additional Wii Remotes for the others diving into the game with you, so make sure you have a few extras handy (or ask Wii-owning friends to bring a controller with them. And batteries, as it’s going to be a long night of caveman-style thrills).

The 3DS and DS versions weren’t shown, but I hear they’re also very mini-game focused and should be worth a look when the game ships before the movie out March 19, 2013. Back with a review in a few – stay tuned…

BirdHerd ShellToss PrehistoricPoints RamuRamYou DinnerTime

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