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Spin the Bottle: Bumpie's Party Preview

Get in real close and push each others' buttons.

Every party has an energy. You can feel it wax and wane when people come and go, eat and drink, and talk or uncomfortably look around. The greatest way to completely sap a party’s energy at any stage is to flip on the TV– even if it is to play a “party” video game. Thankfully, Spin the Bottle: Bumpie’s Party may be the solution for people who want to try to integrate a video game into their next social gathering… even if the event has a few non-gamers in attendance.

A console video game without a TV was impossible until the Wii U came along, and Spin the Bottle is taking advantage of this odd opportunity. Yes, it does use the GamePad, which has a small video screen on it, but it essentially acts as the game board and instructions. Everyone’s attention will be primarily placed on each other since the TV remains off the entire time.

Even though Spin the Bottle’s name might make you think that it’s just a way to make out with that cute girl or guy in math class, it’s actually composed of a series of silly mini-games that require two participants each. The bottle spinning portion of the game is there to randomly create pairs of players to participate in the activities – which don’t reach make-out level, but do require a lot of personal space invasion.

For instance, reaching your arms around your partner (with Wii remote in hand) and trying to jump simultaneously makes for a fairly awkward, but funny experience. Other tasks that the GamePad will deal to the random pairs of players will also force them to get a little closer than you might expect at a typical shindig, while some of the mini-games do allow for a little breathing room. Activities range from simultaneously pressing buttons on a Wii Remote with your noses to getting up off the floor while balancing two remotes between the palms of you and your partner. They are all basically games you might have played as an icebreaker at summer camp, but using the Wii remotes -- which somehow makes the games seem more acceptable for people of all ages.

Even though you work with a partner in each round, you’re always trying to increase your personal score and win the overarching game that assigns you all of the goofy activities. With the GamePad’s help, you won’t have to designate a scorekeeper or fuss with other bothersome bits of playing board games, but can instead focus on playing the actual game and making your socializing a little more intimate.

Slated for release on the Wii U eShop this summer, Spin the Bottle: Bumpie’s Party is definitely trying to stretch the capabilities of the dark horse next gen console, and not in a technical sort of way either. It’s easy to tell that the concept was devised to take advantage of the Wii U GamePad and not to cram a far out idea onto existing run-of-the-mill hardware. It might be a blessing for the Wii U to be graced with this off-beat game that harnesses the system’s strengths to help the system stand out from the other two, flashier consoles. Spin the Bottle: Bumpie’s Party might act as the system’s Wii Sports -- where word of mouth is bound to spread quickly once groups of friends get together and end up doing some ridiculous and fun close quarters mini-games.



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