Vegas Party Review

Vegas Party.  Now that sounds like a fun name for a game.  Parties are fun.  Vegas is fun.  So Vegas Party must be fun, right?  No.  Oh no, no, no.  This combination of casino mini games and a board game ala Mario Party is about as far from fun as Vegas is from Darfur.

The Vegas Party board game is stretched out into a single line of squares, a strip if you will.  While playing on a strip of squares may seem like a good idea for a Vegas-themed game, it's actually a terrible idea for a board game.  You can only see a few squares at a time and it's impossible to see where the board ends, so you're never really sure how far you are from the end of the game or where you are in relation to the other players.  Making matters worse, the game loves to penalize players by moving them backwards or swapping their positions on the board.  You never know who's really winning and how far you are from the end of the game.  And with a game this tedious, the number one question on the players' minds is not "who will win?" but "when will this game finally end?"

There are only a few types of squares on the board and they basically trigger either a positive or negative effect or kick off a mini game.  The random events are delivered via a text screen and are limited to a small number of events that are repeated ad nauseam.  "You've been kidnapped by aliens, lose two turns," is one of the events that you'll see a lot of, as are events that have you swapping board positions or stealing money from another player.  There's also a recurrent event that is accompanied by a static picture of a shady guy offering to sell you a lucky token or some such thing.  You don't have any choice in the matter, though.  He either tells you that you don't have enough money or he automatically deducts the money from your pot and gives you the item.  If you land on a casino square, you'll lope into the nearest casino and will be given a choice between three randomly selected mini games.

The casinos are all themed in the Vegas tradition and a few are based on fun ideas like a haunted mansion and a Bollywood casino.  However, you only get to see one exterior view and interior view of a casino before the mini game starts and each mini game looks pretty much the same in each casino, so don't expect much in the way of casino atmosphere in the game.  Of all the games available, only blackjack, roulette, and slots resemble their real-life counterparts, and even then the slots 'game' is a little odd.  Players pick their pay lines and then the handle is pulled.  There's no payout or winning combination chart or screen in the game and the slot machine pays out about as often as a real one, so the game is a boring exercise in "give me your money and I'll tell you if you've won."  Video poker is nothing like the real thing.  You're given five cards and then given the choice of folding or tripling your bet.  You have to play with the cards that you're dealt - there's no drawing new cards in the game - and to win you have to beat the computer's hand.  Texas Hold'em is even weirder.  You grab your hole cards from a collection of cards in the middle of the table.  You can see the cards' fronts so you know what you're grabbing as well as what the other players get.  Everybody grabs a pair, you're asked if you want to bet or not, and then all of the cards in the middle are flipped at once and a winner is declared.  Bingo uses a similar mechanism in which you grab the balls with the numbers that you need to win.  And the games go downhill from there.  There's Red-Black in which you bet on the color of the next card to be flipped over.  Come on, how hard would it have been to take this game to the next level and make it Acey Ducey or HiLo?  And what kind of casino game is darts?

No matter which game you play, each one is exactly three plays/rounds/hands long and you can't control the amount that you bet.  More often than not, the 'winner' of a game is the person who lost the least amount of money.  You have minimal control of your bankroll, but if you go broke you have to sit out the game until some random event gives you some money.  And by "sit out", I mean do nothing.  No turns, no moving, no games ... nothing.  You're no longer able to be a part of the party.

If dedicating over an hour to make it through one game is too much for you, you can also play the casino games on their own.  Although I have to say that I doubt anyone would want to do so.  The games are so crummy that they're criminally boring.  Vegas Party sucks all of the fun out of Vegas, and this is one trip to Vegas that you should pass up.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 25%. Unless you want your party to be a slumber party, let Vegas Party stay in Vegas.


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