Impressions: Go Play Lumberjacks

Designed with families (and budgets) in mind, Majesco’s Go Play series is the publisher’s new brand of themed mini-game fun for the Wii console, aimed at those looking for a casual gaming experience and others who may have picked up Wii Fit and are looking for some further fun utilizing the Balance Board. I do not own a Balance Board, but ownership is not required to play the games in this series. I dived in headfirst with Go Play: Lumberjacks. What did I discover? Yes, the Wii really is piling up with mini-game compilations, and no, this game is not a lumberjack simulator.

When starting up the game, I noted something that was very wrong. After creating a character profile and choosing between one of a few very stereotypical character choices (Southern girls and snake charmers…really?), I was greeted with the fact that when dialogue is delivered by the characters, their mouths do not move. This sort of glaring design omission really set the tone for the rest of the game, showcasing its budget-sensative production values.

Go Play: Lumberjacks is actually a collection of fifteen lumberjack-themed mini games that will require you to saw, toss blades, run, and perform various other sports-related tasks in a tournament-styled mode of play. The games are all divided into several different categories. You have Axe-Throwing events that are exactly like shooting gallery-styled offerings where you’ll point the Wii remote and press a button to rack up as many points as possible, Chopping events are rather awkward and place your character climbing a tree via rhythmically-timed button presses. Sawing events require waggle of the Wii remote as if you were really sawing, Water events incorporate the Balance Board mostly and ask you to balance or run on logs much like you would expect out of lumberjacks, and the Climbing games involve mostly climbing tall poles while avoiding debris falling right in your path. Each division contains a couple different games that you can play, but none of them offer any kind of exceptional diversion. They all feel very much like the same games with different difficulties and little more to offer than the ones that came before them.

These games are not difficult per se, but the instructions coupled with them are not always clear. You may not know at all times what is required of you, and instead are just tossed into some of the events quite blindly without any prior knowledge of what is to come. For a game touted as a family game, this is going to cause a lot of confusion and issues between both the parents and the kids who don’t quite understand why they’re flailing their arms about in such a fashion and a particular annoyance for a gamer like me who is already frustrated with the fact that such a low-quality game actually exists.

At the very least, the graphics are bright, cartoony, and vibrant, and should make you crack the occasional smile. Backgrounds are lavishly presented and the environments vary though the overall quality could be likened to a GameCube title at best, or early PlayStation 2 title. Then you have the annoyance of characters’ mouths not moving though they repeat the same tag lines over and over. What’s with that?

The game works well with the standard Wii remote, as there is little that you need to be extremely precise with. I can’t comment on how well the Balance Board component works, though I am sure it can’t be much better as the most you’ll have to do is stand, lean, or run, and how can that not work well when Wii Fit asks a lot of the same things from you?

At any rate, Go Play: Lumberjacks is a bit of a disappointment in that you don’t actually take up the mantle of a lumberjack, nor will you find much substance here. It’s simply a collection of bland, lumberjack-themed activities that you’ll find on virtually any other Wii collection, only with a different skin and a rather peculiar title. I was sincerely hoping there was some kind of career mode here to look forward to as a lumberjack, but options are limited to free play, tournament play, and multiplayer with some extra people around who will likely play a few games with you, then set the controllers down in lieu of something a lot more exciting. If budget mini-games are what you’re after, just stick to Wario Ware. Lumberjacking deserves better.

Comments are closed.