Furu Furu Park Review

Oh those whacky, whacky, Japanese folks. One can never really know what you’re going to get from them. One occasion reaps in fantasitc joys and wonderment of technology and innovation. The next moment you’re scratching your head looking for some possible explanation as to how the Quality Assurance department allowed this to happen. Furu Furu Park is a collection of 30 different mini-games onto one disc, and with the wonderment that is the Nintendo Wii the mathematics suggest that by volume alone this should have some pretty entertaining antics ahead of you.

You’d be wrong.

The game has its own style. One cannot deny that. The vibrant graphics are almost assaulting of the senses, the crazy chittering sound effects are effective, and if only the controls met those bars this might have had a chance in my household. A slim chance, but still a chance.

The graphics are a huge throwback to the original Nintendo. That has to be it. The Wii’s strength has never been graphics, and Taito doesn’t try to do more than it can with what it has. Everything is clearly defined, and obvious as to your objective. Except that for sushi game, everything was fairly easy to see and utilize.

The sushi game, however, left a lot to be desired. Three patrons are at the end of the table and they are hungry! You get to rotate the food items on top of the table by twisting the Wiimote like its a magnet-lock on the Starship Enterprise. The foods move around, and if you match the customer’s desired food item — as shown by a balloon over his or her head — they pig out and you get to keep going. The problem is that about a fourth of the time I couldn’t tell what was in the balloon, and half the time I couldn’t locate it on my table to feed them. And about 90% of the time I couldn’t seem to line it up to the proper mouth for them to eat.

So the graphics are passable in that they show you what you need to see. There’s nothing excting about them. There’s nothing revolutionary about them. They are simply functional — except that sushi game.

The music is also directly out of the 80’s in all its 8-bit glory. The games are not new, and it would be insulting of them to not include the original sonudtracks too. There are almost no sound effects to speak of, but the occasional rattle or jingle can be heard is certain games. Otherwise, the old classical synthesized tunes are coming at you in a wave of waxing nostalgia.

As there are 30 different mini-games, there are too many different things to mention them all. The sushi-eating trio have a distinct clatter when you don’t feed them in time. The space ship makes a jarring noise when it hits an obstacle. They didn’t do a very convincing baseball sound effect which is especially dissapointing given Wii Sport’s ability to deliver that much.

Again, the sound effects are plausibly functional, and some of the old themes will tickle the ears for a few minutes before we remember why we invented more complex sound effects.

The brilliance of Nintendo’s Wii is hands down the control system. While not the most crisp thing ever invented, it is revolutionary and fun as hell. So why you’d bother to have a control scheme so utterly simple is baffling. And to make that decision to hardly bother with the power of the Wiimote’s functions, one could AT LEAST do it well. Don’t ya think?

Most of the games deal with holding the Wiimote upright like a stick. Turn your wrist in one direction or the other to make the action follow suit. However, for a few of the games, your window of opportunity is so short that if you weren’t psychic, or had the moves memorized, you have no chance. This leads to frustration, which means you don’t want to keep playing and thus have no experience to memorize the moves. I’m sure there’s an opportunity for a Yoda-ism there, but I’m just not up to it. Are you even still reading this far down?

The only game that I found the controls to be very good was the safe cracker game. It was almost too easy, but the dial didn’t move too drastically, and there are only 10 numbers from which to make a selection. After picking apart the 6 different combinations in 40 seconds I was at least pleased with myself for not missing any numbers.

Mostly the control system is on the verge of functional. Most of the time the commands didn’t go off even as I was in the right position. Sometimes they went off for no reason at all.

The games are, at most, like 90 seconds each. There is no quick retry either. In the free-play mode, where you can do any game of the 30 you want, you select a game, get a brief tutorial on how the controls work, and flail around like a spawning trout for a minute until you pass or fail. Often I failed, and if I was inspired to try again I had to leave the game, load the menu, select the game, read the tutorial again, and get back to the convulsing fish routine.

The first time I tried to play I went through all 30 games in 15 minutes. I forced myself to play through them a couple times, but became more and more discontent with it. In the two-player mode you select 5 games and battle each other in them. This never turned into the party we all hoped it would, and provided more frustration for all.

On top of all that, the game borders on racism! I don’t know what the Japanese culture has for the “Afro,” but several of the games involve abuse of one stereotype or another. Whether you’re tossing black men onto the track field, flicking them off your flower like a bug, or dealing with angry white customers you could seriously take this game too seriously. I don’t think the idea was thought through too well.

Value is in the eye of the beholder. I’m too old, my kids are too young, and we’re all too white for most of the content on the disc. Now, if you’re a die-hard classics fan then this is right up your alley! If you’re that nostalgiac for old school, you probably have a nuclear shelter in your backyard. Not that I’m judging you! It just might be a handy thing someday, but there are easier way to play older games that don’t burn up your precious Wiimote’s batteries.

I’ll base the value score of the guesstimated percentage of people with bomb shelters on the premesis.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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