Spin the Bottle: Bumpie’s Party is a party game at its finest, the game’s charmed, cartoon aesthetic belying the mischievous undertones present throughout. Though this isn’t as rapscallion in nature as back in your school days, instead seeing players pair up to complete randomised challenges that necessitate co-operation more than anything.
As can be expected this isn’t a game that you’ll be playing solo, instead requiring you to enlist between two to eight players to join you. It’s a rare instance where your TV can be turned off entirely (something you’re instructed to do straight away) with your eager gathering’s attention transfixed by the Wii U GamePad instead, with sporadic use of a Wii Remotes accompanying the experience along the way.
Whilst a single Wii Remote can be used, a full complement of four are needed to giggle your way through all 14 challenges that Spin the Bottle: Bumpie’s Party can thrust at you. Nevertheless, having chosen characters and scrawled your names against them, each round begins by spinning the wheel with players feverishly waiting to see who they’re partnered with.
Whether the outcome is met with groans or embarrassed laughter needn’t matter, with a hand ominously plucking a challenge from a top hat for you both to tackle. Safety warnings before each challenge provide a tease as to what’s about to be posed, whilst humorous sound effects emitted by your peripheral assortment during your attempts elevate the enjoyment further.
The element of surprise makes this a far more hilarious experience than words could possibly express, but example tasks include: “Pass the Badger” where you must kneel back-to-back and slowly pass a Wii Remote between you to avoid waking the nocturnal creature; “Rabbit Hunt,” in which one team leaves the room whilst the other hides Wii Remotes around the room, which each make noises as they search high and low; “Blind Dog,” where one player is blindfolded and must be guided toward a Wii Remote within the time limit; and “Squeeze the Orange” where players must use their noses to push A and B on the Wii Remote, resisting cheating by using your hands. That leaves another 10 to now unexpectedly catch you off-guard…
Successful completion nets each participant a flower, with any team that collects three flowers claiming victory over their rivals. Yet for all its frolics, brevity hampers Spin the Bottle: Bumpie’s Party with but a few playthroughs seeing you best all the game’s challenges – needing a new slate of friends to retain the shock as to what you’re tasked to achieve.
Still, KnapNok Games display a level of creativity with the Wii U hardware that even Nintendo are perhaps yet to better. And even after several years of the Wii being in the hands of developers, this irrevocable tour de force puts third-party efforts to shame. It’s just disappointing that such brilliance is short lived.