If Nintendo is looking to convince players of the uniqueness of Wii U’s GamePad, it could do a lot worse than follow KnapNok Games’ bold example. Upon starting Spin The Bottle: Bumpie’s Party, you’re immediately asked to turn the TV off. In truth, with one or two minor exceptions, the controller becomes little more than an interactive instruction booklet; the focus is not on the screen, but the activities it prompts.
There’s nothing here for lone players, while a clutch of its 17 minigames are unavailable to two, with the rest feeling rather thin. Recruit four or more players and as many Wii remotes as you find, however, and the only missing ingredient for a supremely silly evening is alcohol: many games ask players to get comfortably acquainted with their partner, whether you’re slow dancing with remotes in hand, or squeezing buttons either side of the controller with your noses. For once you’ll welcome the pre-game warnings to wear wrist straps or move furniture, particularly with games like the dizzying Drill, which has two players grab either end of a remote and then spin around for 15 seconds.
If some activities are variants on familiar parlour games, they’re enlivened by creative twists and side objectives, while others are brimming with invention: one, for example, sees a GamePad player instruct their remote-holding partner to jump so an onscreen avatar can clear hazardous pits. KnapNok has promised future downloadable additions to a party game that is entertaining and delightfully different, fulfilling the tacit promise of its host console in a way from which other developers would do well to learn.
Spin The Bottle: Bumpie’s Party is out now on Wii U eShop.