More Reviews
REVIEWS About Love, Hate, and the other Review
Simple feelings. Complex puzzles.

Boss! Review
PlayStation Vita owners looking to exercise a little frustration can look to this rather low-fi title about creating a monster and destroying everything in your path.
More Previews
PREVIEWS Evolve Preview
With multiplayer action set as its focus, Evolve surprised us earlier this month by introducing a single-player campaign mode where you can switch between mercenaries.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Kalimba
Release date: Out Now

Persona 5
Release date: 12/31/14

Motorcycle Club
Release date: 01/01/15

Atelier Ayesha Plus: The Alchemist of Dusk
Release date: 01/14/15


LATEST FEATURES Downloadable Content Walks the Line Between Fun and Frenzied in Middle-earth
I don’t even care all that much for the Lords of the Rings brand, which makes the content falling under Shadow of Mordor’s Season Pass a pleasant surprise.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters for Gamers
If this awful trend is going to persist, you may as well do it your way.
MOST POPULAR FEATURES Black Friday 2014 Video Game Deals Buyer's Guide
Looking to score the most bang for your buck the day after Thanksgiving? Well look no further! Our Black Friday guide is just the tool you need.

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP KevinS
RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014)
By KevinS
Posted on 12/07/14
RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

EA Playground Review

Nick_Tan By:
Nick_Tan
11/12/07
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Mini-Game 
PLAYERS 1- 4 
PUBLISHER Electronic Arts 
DEVELOPER Electronic Arts Canada 
RELEASE DATE  
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.

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.

More from the Game Revolution Network




comments powered by Disqus

 


More information about EA Playground