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Jungle Speed - WiiWare Review

Game Info
Jungle Speed

WiiWare | Playful Entertainment | 1 Player | 2-8 Players (local multiplayer) | Out Now | 1,000 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote / Nunchuk
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28th January 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

Playful Entertainment got WiiWare off to a great start to the new year back in 2009 by releasing Jungle Speed. Jungle Speed is a fast-paced multiplayer card game that keeps players on their toes. The concept is based on the real-life board game with the same name, which has seen some positive acclaim amongst board game enthusiasts. Although some board game translations turn out to be a flop (ahem, Pop-Up Pirate), Jungle Speed is definitely one of the better board game translations to hit the video game scene and it serves as a strong multiplayer title for the system.

    As with other card games, the idea behind this frantic card game is to be the first player to win, by getting rid of your cards as quickly as possible. Players sit at a round table with one of 8 animal creatures, flipping over cards from their upside-down piles in a clockwise motion. Once all players have at least one card out in front of them, it's at this point that players have to remain alert and observant. If one player's card matches with another's, then both players must quickly reach out and grab the totem in the middle of the table. The last player to do so will be forced to take all the cards that have been played since the start of that round and the cycle begins again. Once you've gotten rid of all your cards, the game isn't over quite yet, so you must continue to stay alert. The only way the player can finally be crowned the victor is if all the cards are taken away, such as when someone grabs the totem by accident, or if the player wins at a Fast Grab event.

Along the way, there are some fun events that help mix things up. The first of these is the Fast Grab event (mentioned earlier) where all players must try to grab the totem, regardless of what's already in play. The second is the Colour Match event which lasts until the totem is grabbed. When this card is played, not only must players keep an eye out for matching shapes and patterns but now, players must also look for matching colours as well (even if they're not the same shape). The final event happens when a player draws the only Totem Card in the whole deck which triggers an event in the center of the table. What happens during this event depends on the totem that is in play. For example, the Tempest totem will gust winds causing all the cards to spin constantly for a short while. All of these events, coupled with the normal gameplay practically demands that all players be observant and be alert to everything that's going on. The gameplay itself may appear simple but as time goes on, players will truly see how fast-paced the game really is.

As if these events weren't enough, the game also includes a series of Expansion Packs which make the game even more challenging. In addition, these options aren't available in the real-life board game which shows good innovation on the part of the developers. One of the packs makes the shapes on the cards even more complex, causing many of the shapes to look similar to one another, differentiated only by a tiny detail. As a result, you'll find many players grabbing the totem instinctively only to find that they weren't supposed to grab at all. These Expansion Packs only add to the overall experience by making the game even more gripping, and Playful Entertainment should be commended for implementing such a feature.

The game features support for up to 8 players and the controls are so simple that they work perfectly even when players must use the Nunchuk to play. When playing with the Wii Remote, pressing the A Button flips a card and a thrust of the Wii Remote will cause your character to reach out for the totem and holding A and B are used to actually grab the totem. When using the Nunchuk, the analog is used to flip cards, and the C and Z buttons are used to grab the totem after reaching forward with the controller. Jungle Speed is definitely one of those games that simply must be played for someone to truly understand how much fun the game really is. Even with just 2 people, you're bound to find yourself laughing and even calling each other names, all the while having a good time. Records work great here as you're able to compete against family and friends, aiming to beat each other's high-scores in an assortment of categories. It's great to see Mii support incorporated here as well, being able to stamp your Mii beside a high-score that you can feel proud of (or even ashamed of!).

The game looks good all around. Menu presentation is executed really well and the graphics during actual gameplay look great also. There's a decent number of tracks included in the game but it won't be too long before you've heard all of the different variations. The music can be annoying at times, but you won't be focusing on it too much. Besides, the music may very well get drowned out with all of the banter that's sure to ensue amongst people in the same room (especially in large groups). As it is, though, the jungle feel that's conveyed through the in-game music does suit gameplay really well.

Jungle Speed came out quite some time ago and to this day, it's still really fun. Playful Entertainment did a great job with this board game translation and it would be a mistake for someone to take one look at the game and conclude that the game is childish. The game is a success on many fronts and there are very few flaws to speak of. Sure the music can be a bit annoying after the 20th time you play, but really, it's a small sacrifice to pay for such a group-focused game. If you've been looking for a great multiplayer game to play with your friends and family members, step out of your comfort zone and give Jungle Speed a go.

26/30 - Very Good

Gameplay 9/10  - Top-notch execution, a faithful translation of the board game, includes bonus expansion packs to extend the experience
Presentation 8/10 - Works well for what it is, music has an African feel to it, menu's are laid out well, animal characters suit the game
Enjoyment 5/5 - The game's a blast in group settings no matter what the age, dock a point if you're typically not too fond of these kinds of games
Extra Content 4/5 - Expansion packs the experience, local leaderboard system, expect to pull this out whenever you have a group over
Equivalent to a score of 87% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Jungle Speed
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Review by KnucklesSonic8  |  How we rate games

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