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Game Overload : Clubhouse Games Review

In DS on February 15, 2007 at 5:40 pm

Do you remember those cheep 200 in 1 game machines? Now, you can have the same thing on the DS but have it actually be good with Clubhouse Games. But how good is it? You don’t need much to beat those little machines. Read on to know or skip ahead to the final verdict.

Clubhouse Games for the DS is a collection of 42 games, yes, 42, most being unlocked from the start. The games range from Solitaire to Black Jack to Checkers to Bowling. They come with rules which can come in handy if, like me, you aren’t a huge card player. The rules are detailed, which can be overwhelming, but the quick summary shown before a game plus a quick check whenever something seems fishy should be enough to get you on your way. Games have settings like alternate rules, the number of computer players, the difficulty of those computer players, and even skins that you can unlock by winning a certain number of games. The games are fun, if you like these types of games, obviously, but they aren’t all perfect. Bowling doesn’t work well with a touch screen. It’s no Wii Sports Bowling. Darts takes some getting used to but it’s fun. And there is no way you would be able to play Black Jack in real life when you have no cash. I haven’t adjusted any of the computer difficulty settings and in some games the AI seemed dumb while in others, which I have to admit, are new games to me, seemed nearly all-knowing. The computer gameplay can go a bit quick at times, making it hard to follow. The music always changes when someone is on the verge of winning and the songs aren’t amazing and can get repetitive. The graphics aren’t pushing the DS but it’s not to say they’re ugly either.

On top of main mode, you have two objective-based modes. Stamp mode makes you play through specific games. Depending on your performance, you get a certain number of stamps. 3 are required to go to the next game. Don’t worry if you suck at a game; you get at least one stamp and you can replay as many times as needed. At the end of a level, you play a previously locked game and beating the level unlocks it in the main mode. Mission mode gives you certain challenges to do like finish the memory game in under 3 minutes or do a Turkey in Bowling. You win a new profile picture for each successfully completed mission. It might be me but some seem near impossible or that you need a whole lot of luck to complete.

Now for the multiplayer. I have been able to play some single cartridge multiplayer and as far as I could tell, all the games where playable! You can also send touch screen drawn messages to other players.

But the killer feature of this package is WiFi play. Nearly all the games can be played in WiFi mode and you can choose which game you want to play with others and not just hope you get to play your favourite game. You are even treated with rankings so you can see how good you are compared to others. As always, the online experience has been dumbed-down by the overprotective mother than is Nintendo. Friend codes are here, so is the random opponent selection and the message system in worldwide multiplayer has been switched with a choice of pre-selected phrases. Sure it’s a good thing for the kids but it’s still a bit extreme. I can’t account for WiFi friend play, though. I don’t know anyone with the game, yet. There’s little lag in games but after, when showing you the scores, you’re pretty much assured lag. Although, obviously, that’s just in my experience.

Final Verdict

Clubhouse Games comes with too much stuff to miss out on. The amount and the kind of games in this package scream replay value and chances are all DS owners will enjoy them. You should get this game, especially if you always seem to have small amounts of free time on your hands. It’s a pick-up-and-play game, as they say. Nintendo also gets major points in my book for making it multilingual, working in every language my DS supports except what I assume is Japanese.

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