More Reviews
REVIEWS Boo Bunny Plague Review
If you think you can enjoy the definition of budget game design, this one might make you laugh.

Minimum Review
With so many shooters crowding the marketplace, it’s refreshing to see Minimum take the low-fi route through Steam Early Access.
More Previews
PREVIEWS Halo: The Master Chief Collectio Preview
Microsoft and 343 Industries want to bring the entire Halo saga to Xbox One and this collection does exactly that with new graphics for Halo 2.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
Release date: 09/30/14

Alien: Isolation
Release date: 10/07/14

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
Release date: 10/14/14

The Evil Within
Release date: 10/14/14

LATEST FEATURES Sunset Overdrive Co-op Is a Thrill Ride and a Half: TGS Multiplayer Hands-On
I play a co-op round of Sunset Overdrive with seven other people at the Tokyo Game Show.

Ori and the Blind Forest is Enchanting as Hell If Hell Were Magical as Shit [TGS Hands-On]
I want to protect her. It. Him. That. That thing. Ori.
MOST POPULAR FEATURES The Updating List of PAX Indies
We're heading to PAX Prime! Are you looking to check out a few unique indie games while you're there? UPDATED: Dragon Fin Soup, Dungeon of the Endless,

Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP shandog137 Background: I own and have completed every entry in the Ninja Storm series, so there is inherent bias but luckily this isn’t a review. These are just my thoughts on a fun series I chose to pick up after my Dragon Ball Z Budokai days. I am also only about 3 episodes behind in the...

EA Playground Review

Nick_Tan By:
GENRE Mini-Game 
PUBLISHER Electronic Arts 
DEVELOPER Electronic Arts Canada 
E Contains No Descriptors

What do these ratings mean?

School's out forever.

Recess was a special time. It came after eating rubbery meatloaf and drinking milk from moo-moo cartons, and before the next dreaded class with an intellectual and pissy English teacher. I still can’t believe I managed to get though all of elementary school with a smile on my face. Maybe it was fake.

click to enlargeEA Playground tries to capture the endless joys of recess without the wait – and I really do mean endless. You start out as the new kid at school (never a good thing), but not once do you ever step into a classroom (always a good thing). That’s not a problem, really, unless you enjoy homework or having your teacher wake you up. Besides, you’re at least getting pretend exercise running around the digital playground and playing recreational mini-games by flinging your Wii-mote. The last time most people got exercise was walking to and from the water cooler.

The first moment after choosing your youngster and stepping out in the schoolyard, you are immediately challenged by the Sticker King to face him as the king of the playground. To show him who’s boss, you need to master seven mini-games, collecting Golden Stickers from young disciples scattered about the playground. Think of it as having to defeat students of seven different schools of play-fu. This isn’t an exaggeration - tetherball players look like monks of muay thai and dodgeball matches start with the sound of a gong. Fortunately, paper racers, slot car racing, and kicks – which is volleyball played with feet and soccer goals – make the game more light-hearted and casual.

click to enlargeOn the other hand, hardly any of these mini-games feel right for the playground. When I think see-saw, I don’t think slot cars, rail-shooting dart shootouts, and paper airplanes? Moreover, kicks and dodgeball are more appropriate for gym class, and tetherball and wall ball aren’t the first things when recess comes to mind. Where’s the jungle gym, the swing, the high bar, the metal slide that turns into molten lava in the summer?

To be fair, the bright and sunny environment has all these nostalgic constructions peppered about and it’s definitely an uphill battle trying to invent a mini-game with a swing that is intriguing and has lasting appeal, but EA Playground feels more like a hodgepodge of activities from different game genres than something that is believable in a schoolyard.

This doesn’t mean, however, that these seven mini-games are boring. None of them are particularly innovative or challenging for a video game veteran, but for a nine-year-old kid, each of them serves as a well-designed introduction on how video games work in a way they can appreciate and understand. The Wii control schemes are easy to follow – flick the Wii-mote to whack a ball, swing it sideways to block a ball, and tilt it to navigate a plane through an obstacle course.

Progression is also uncomplicated and straightforward. As you best the competition, play side activities like bug hunts and basketball dribbling drills, and complete dares – which are usually challenging variants of mini-games - you will unlock new areas, face slightly more difficult opponents, achieve a higher grade on your report card (for gym?), and gather a collection of stickers and marbles. Spending marbles (which you can also find floating around in not-so-hidden places or simply by giving High Fives to competitors) on Super Stickers gives you extra moves and abilities in mini-games, just so you can make completing EA Playground even easier.

click to enlargeIn fact, it’s so easy that you’ll get through every area a bit too quickly, but this is largely because there’s not much content to go around, and the difficulty level is set for kids, not adults. I mean, you can count the number of mini-games here with your fingers – and that’s without your thumbs. There’s just not enough variety, and both the single-player and multi-player modes suffer because of it.

Even then, by the time you’re halfway through, about five hours in, you will have reached the final area. From there, you have to backtrack to previous areas, of which there are only four in all, and spend your ample supply of marbles on Super Stickers that don’t do much but take up space in your sticker book. I guess even recess can get dull after a while.

Although unambitious, EA Playground does what it intends to do. It’s a solid collection of mini-games, packaged with friendly cel-shaded colors and whimsical music, that will appeal to rambunctious young-ins. They probably won’t recognize the repetition, the odd choice of mini-games for a playground, and how close it is to being a jumble of refined Flash games. But you – the not-a-third-grader-anymore you - probably will.

It's a great choice for the wee Wii gamers in your life, but if you're old enough to get arrested for lurking around a real-life playground, you won't find the virtual version any more welcoming. EA Playground doesn’t hit it out of the ballpark, but most kids just want to learn how to hit the ball in the first place - and that’s just what they’re here to learn how to do.

B- Revolution report card
  • Kid-appealing presentation
  • Easy-to-use controls
  • Solid mini-games for what it has...
  • ...which isn't much.
  • Repetitive, oddly chosen content
  • Not that fun outside of single-player mode
    Reviews by other members
    No member reviews for the game.


More from the Game Revolution Network

comments powered by Disqus


More information about EA Playground

More On GameRevolution