All this kawaii movement (it’s not a movement) does my head in. Give anything inanimate a cute face in the style of anime and it’s considered kawaii. Get over it. I hate it and seen too much of it, to be fair. So when I’m reviewing a game called Party Treats, from Qubic Games, it’s because I’m a decent parent and bought it for my daughter, not me, ok?
I was bound to play it as it’s predominantly a multiplayer game and I tend to vet most games for her for obvious reasons. I’m hardly going to be buying her Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry. That’s clearly for me, and currently on my playlist at the moment. Perv.
So Party Treats is a multiplayer game where you need to dash from one end of a screen to another without being killed. A simple cat and mouse game where the mouse is you, a cute lollipop or something similar and the cat is a monstrous spike or bandsaw that’s going to slice you up. Happy Tree Friends, methinks? It was already too late by then, and my daughter had seen too much; we had to stick with it.
Death By Chocolate
Predictably, I liked it. The guessing game of whether walking on a tile or not will result in your imminent death was appealing. The play area is set out like a board game where you control your character by hopping over tiles usually made of chocolate. It isn’t turn-based and is all real-time. Even if you don’t move, you can get hit by a power-up or even swap places with another player.
Both of us applied the cautious approach in Party Treats by taking one tile at a time and overthinking it, but that doesn’t work. If you step on a bad tile and die, you go back to the start, but the tile that fast-tracked you to death would be highlighted in some way so you can avoid it the next time around. After a while, I realised that I could just wing it and make my way to the goal as swiftly as possible, while my little girl faffed about. However, she got the gist and waited for me to make the mistakes so she could reap the rewards.
There are a handful of modes such as Classic, Last Ice Standing, Go! Go! Pan!, Icy Race and Food Cart. Most of them are explanatory in the titles but are predominantly races or a death match that can be played by selecting the number of laps you want to do or the rounds. With the Food Cart mode, you all need to race to a button that sends a cart of food into Dinox’s gob. Again, self-explanatory. The bonus is you can also fill the levels with bots (should the other player be sulking and doesn’t want to play any more).
That’s Neat, That’s Neat, I Really Love My Party Treats
With a must-have party mode, there’s also the campaign. The campaign mode can be played either as a single-player or multiplayer. Ideally, you will want to do this with your friends, but if you’re a Billy-no-mates or don’t play well with others, you can go solo on this and still have fun.
The beginning of this campaign is oh so slightly different to the main game in that you need to wake up a sleeping dinosaur, named Dinox, by collecting alarm clocks that are scattered over the level. When playing against others, it’s a case of racing to the clocks to the fastest as you’re also timed; complete in the allotted time and you are awarded a total of three stars. If over the allotted time, you can still beat the level, but won’t win any stars. Boohoo.
Let’s talk about the power-ups as they’re pretty game-changing and can be accumulated through each successive step. There is the radar that will show all hidden traps within the area, a shield that gives you a second chance should you step on a trap and the checkpoint flag that you can place on any given tile for one use only and many many more. Be aware that if you earn a power-up that you don’t use then die, it will disappear.
Power-ups really come into effect when you use in a multiplayer game, however, and the reason why they are a game-changer. With the freeze function, you can lock your opponent in a fridge, allowing you just a little more time to get ahead. That didn’t work as much as I always ended up setting off a trap. Using the shuffle move is by far the best as UFOs appear out of nowhere and swap places. You can literally be on the finish line for someone to swap you over. It sucks being on the receiving end, but wicked to pull off. It’s like blasting someone with a red shell just before they get over the line in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Bwah ha ha!
If you want a variation of something like the Bomberman series, Party Treats is something to consider as being able to get your own back on a pal by planting a mine next to them or shooting a rocket launcher at them from the other side of the playing field is a lot of fun. The trial and error of locating the traps also mess with your head as you’re trying to get to the finish line while picking out traps, attacking your fellow fruit or candy, all the while trying to do it in the fastest time.
Even though I’m not a fan of the kawaii art style (I don’t really hate it, but it’s just overused like pixel art ‘retro’ titles), the graphics are very good and colourful. It’s definitely a step up from a typical mobile game, but even with the campaign mode, it’s not particularly taxing and won’t be keeping you up at night. That said, I wouldn’t say it’s short-lived as it’s a fun party game to play, pending you aren’t up against someone who doesn’t like losing.
However, with the abundance of party games on the Switch these days and other titles such as Gang Beasts that takes up a lot our time as a multiplayer, these games really need to be able to stand out. Party Treats is a lot of fun and will give you plenty of repeat play, but it doesn’t offer enough for it to be a regular on your playlist.