The Wii is flush with games for the whole family, but that hasn't stopped every publisher and its dog releasing more mini-game collections and party games. Cranium Kabookii from Ubisoft is the latest in a long series of titles to hit store shelves over the past few months, but Cranium claims to be for everyone aged 7 to 77. While we had our doubts, it does exactly what it promises.
Cranium Kabookii is a game that requires at least four players. It's team based, with up to four teams able to compete against each other across randomly selected mini-games from a pool of 15. Once you're teamed up it's on to the game, where you spin a wheel in order to select the mini-game you're going to play - with the reward being tokens that take you towards the total needed to win.
As it's a party game, the focus is on each team working together, even though you only ever use a single Wii Remote at a time. Games cover a number of disciplines, from drawing and word puzzles to acting out actions and playing tunes. It's all good simple fun, and isn't dependent on age like many other party games that rely on quiz questions.
One round will see a member of your team asked to draw a picture of an item (with the correct answer hidden between some jumbled up letters, viewable clearly when looking through the supplied decoder goggles - so only the drawer knows the answer) and the rest have to guess what it is. There's a timer counting down, so it's a battle against the clock, and while the Wii isn't best suited to artistic drawing, it's more than good enough for some embarrassingly bad scribbles.
It's these style of games that work best, be it making a picture from pre-cut sticker shapes or playing a tune using the on-screen xylophone. Anything that gets your team-mates shouting at screen and working together makes for great fun. Less successful are the games that seemingly don't rely on team work, such as the one that asks you to repeat a tune that has been played out on screen, or the true or false game that is over in a few seconds.
As far as party games go, Cranium Kabookii is pretty solid looking. It's got a crazy, wacky look to it that will no doubt appeal to a broad range of players, and everything is bright and colourful. Little touches like being able to increases or decrease the size of your brush during painting challenges or changing the size of stickers by moving the Wii Remote towards or away from the sensor bar add to the impression that Cranium wasn't thrown together for a quick buck.
There's little more to be said about Cranium Kabooki. It's totally devoid of game modes other than the core team-based play, so forget about it unless you plan to play with a group of friends fairly regularly. If you do, then this party game offers enough new ideas that aren't seen in every other family Wii title to make it worth adding to your collection. Available for under £30, it's not bad value either.