REVIEW – Arcade Islands Volume One (Xbox One)

Party Planet 1.5

At the end of 2017, Mastiff and Teyon released Party Planet on Switch, a mini game compilation that supported local multiplayer with several controller options. Arcade Islands Volume One on Xbox One and PS4 is essentially Party Planet 1.5 just with a sleeker interface, detailed online leaderboards, and a more intuitive island theme versus an outer space planet aesthetic.

For more on Party Planet, you can read my review HERE.

The meat and potatoes between both titles are basically the same. The player competes in a few dozen mini games with the goal of getting a high score. The higher the score, the more stars earned. The more stars the player collects, more islands, aka more mini games, become unlocked. Some mini games are definitely more entertaining than others and some are more difficult. This means the player has to perform well enough to unlock all the game’s content. While this isn’t an issue for the first few islands, about the first 20 games or so, unlocking the final games will require skill. I understand how unlocking content creates an incentive to play, but locking the content behind a skill wall is a little unfair here since some games carry a high difficulty factor and lower entertainment value.

Speaking of the mini games, here is a breakdown to provide an idea of the type of games that are included:

Fennec Fox Tower = Doodle Jump just with player controlled jumps instead of auto jumping
Frosty Hockey = air hockey but with loose analog stick controls
Thor’s Thunder = a bad tower defense style game
Viking Scavengers = Bust-A-Move
Pirate Foray = a Rampart clone
Mystical Totem = tap the shoulder buttons to chop down a piece of Native American history
Bear Battalion = a finicky Game & Watch Manhole clone
River Defense = Zuma
Lava Golf = like Super Stickman Gold on your iPhone only with tedious controls
Super Vegan Anaconda = classic Snake only the snake eats fruit instead of swallowing tiny rodents whole
Cups of Truth = you know the game they play on the big screen at the baseball game where you have to guess the hat that hides a baseball? That.
Block The Bug = a thinking man’s puzzle game although I personally would prefer to let the bugs loose because who wants to keeps bugs
Lava Bridge Builder = hold the “A” button to make a bridge to the next platform to avoid dying a horrible and painful burning death.
Laboratory Work = a twin-stick shooter with slow controls that has you killing some STD viruses
Fruit Invaders = like Space Invades only you shoot horizontally instead of vertically and you kill bananas instead of aliens

You can watch me play these games listed above in my stream embedded below:

There are many other games available but you get the idea. Each game is simple and usually only takes less than one minute to play. Tapping the left shoulder button can sort all unlocked games by the number of players (many games are playable up to four local players) and the “X” button on the main menu allows the player to store favorite games to make them quickly accessible. However, the best feature is the included online leaderboard support for every game. As soon as a game is completed, the player’s high score automatically gets uploaded and compared to the highest players. This provides additional incentive and replay value over attempting to collect all three stars for each game.

Also newly added over the original Switch game, the Treasure Hut feature is selectable from the main menu and acts as a trophy room for all the games that have been 3-starred. It doesn’t really add anything to the gameplay other than provide some local bragging rights but still cool it is included. Since this is an Xbox One game, Achievements are also available although most are hidden (Trophy support on the PS4 version). Most Achievements involve doing one extraordinary task in each game to unlock. Unfortunately, some of the issues that were present in the Switch version still made their way into this enhanced port. Things like poor audio loops and loose controls in some games can create frustration. However, the island theme is more thoughtful over the space theme of the original.

Arcade Islands Volume One is definitely a better overall package than Party Planet. So if you have the option, play this one instead. It is also only $20, a lower price point than the Switch game. But is it the best mini game compilation out there? No, but this version can still provide some casual entertainment for a couple hours.

SCORE: 6.8/10

Not As Good As: almost any Mario Party title
Better Than: Super Beat Sports (Switch)
Wait For It: Arcade Islands Volume 2

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief
Twitter: @ZackGaz

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