You might have noticed that this review looks slightly different to others on VideoGamer.com. That's because we look at games clearly designed for younger gamers in a slightly different way to how we look at the latest FPS, sports game or 100-hour RPG. We'll endeavour to tell you just what you need to know in a clear and concise way so you'll be confident it's the right purchase for whatever your situation.
What is it?
Everyone played games at school. EA Playground turns the school yard into a bright, fun place, where kids are waiting to play their favourite games. You must challenge all the kids and attempt to fill your sticker book with the stickers gained by winning.
EA Playground is a very simple game. There are seven game types accessed by challenging kids playing in the playground. As you beat them new areas are opened up, giving you access to harder players.
To make things as simple as possible all the games are played with only the Wii Remote. Each game offers some simple instructions before you play, with you never needing to do much more than swing the remote and press the A and B buttons.
The playgrounds are free to walk around, with all challengeable kids marked with an icon above their heads. Once a challenge is completed you can compete in dares set by each kid, earning you more marbles. Marbles are the game's currency, used to buy special moves in the form of stickers.
Once you've beaten everyone in an area you can challenge the Sticker King for playground supremacy. This is the main goal, although various collectable items are also scattered around the areas, giving you something to do other than play in the mini-games.
Most of the games on offer should be familiar to kids and those that aren't are easy to understand. Dodgeball, Kicks, Slot car racing, Tetherball, Paper racers, Wall ball and Dart shootout make up the seven games, with each playable in multiplayer for up to four players (depending on the game). Kids expecting a mini-game compendium might find the lack of games disappointing.
EA Playground doesn't feature the best presentation, but the game is colourful and has a cartoon-like appearance. Kids don't talk, instead speaking in a kind of mumbled language that accompanies on-screen text. Overall it's not pushing the Wii at all, but it does its job and should appeal to younger gamers.
Anything for adults?
Adults might get some short-lived fun out of tetherball and kicks, but the games are really designed for young gamers, probably aged 10 or under. Adults will soon grow tired of having to replay the same set of games over and over again.
EA Playground succeeds at giving kids a collection of easy to play games. The sticker book system is something most kids will be familiar with and at least half the games will offer some good competitive play with friends. This won't replace Wii Sports as the mini-game collection of choice, but it's another option should Wii Tennis and Bowling start to feel a little over played.