I try to look for the good in every game. There’s usually something that stands out in a title to help keep it engaging, or funny, or even terrible but in a campy, fun way. I often cite some of the stranger titles of the past to show that I can rock out almost anything (Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom is a terrific RPG, bar none), but I still acknowledge the success of today’s fantastic releases, both console and mobile. I may not always understand things like Toon Blast, Candy Crush (does that still exist?) or Wizards Unite, but damn if people aren’t having fun and using their free time the way they want. It’s not my job to get in the way and interrupt joy for others. So please believe me when I say that Watermelon Party, from Bigosaur, is unfettered trash.
Watermelon Party is a party game with one single game mode in which you and up to three other friends have to try and get all the watermelon slices on your screen. In order to do this, you need to build a path to get from wherever your avatar starts to the other side of the screen, and, if you’re good, you collect all the watermelon slices (or at least as many as you can) on your way from point A to point B. You make this path by laying down one tile at a time, and each tile has a different direction, like a straight horizontal piece, a top-to-right bending elbow piece, and so forth. You put down a piece, and your character will automatically start walking if the path before him opens up. If you put down a piece that seems suboptimal or, for example, you just put down a mistake and want to undo it, you blow it up with a bomb and try again. Seems simple, right?
The design of Watermelon Party is what bedevils the game, right from the very start. First and foremost, there’s almost nothing to the game to begin with. What I said up there, that’s seriously it. Get to watermelon pieces. You have no other purpose, no reason or incentive, just do it because that’s the game. And you can’t practice solo, so you need to rope someone else into playing this or do the sad thing and “play” against an abandoned controller while you work out the effects of it. Once you get into the game, you realize that the strategy of everything is a bit off kilter because you can’t control what pieces you get or what comes next.
Unlike Tetris, where you can at least see the next piece you’ll be using, Watermelon Party gives you a single tile, no other choices, and you HAVE to put it down before you do anything else. The short form of this means that, with a little luck, you’ll get enough to at least scoop up a greater majority of fruit than your opponents (I don’t think I ever got a full regiment). But if you make a mistake or, far more likely, the game gives you a useless tile, then out come the bombs.
The bombing mechanic of Watermelon Party makes sense, and I at least appreciate that needing to bomb a tile that your character is on/near doesn’t automatically create a game over. However, you are totally unable to drop a single bomb: they always drop in a cluster of about eight, in a 2×4 grid, and they have no other options than to blow up everything that they touch. So please try to imagine this scenario: you’re on a decent jag. You’ve gotten five whole pieces in a row that you have a good place for, and you are thinking you’ll be able to get about fifteen slices before your opponent does, almost certainly cinching the win. But oh no! A vertical straight piece! You can’t use that! Yet you’re now almost five minutes into this match, and your board is getting full. You panic, and you try to find out where you’ll do the least amount of self harm. Defeated, you drop the tile, and then bomb it, taking out a right-straight-straight-down combination that it took about twenty tile cycles to create. You’ve just detonated several minutes worth of work, and you have no other choice.
The graphics are cute enough, but Watermelon Party doesn’t bring anything original or special to the table that Bigosaur couldn’t have done with their other titles. The music is repetitive, the sound effects are fine, the look of the game is alright, but GOD is the gameplay awful. I couldn’t finish a game with anyone else: both of my children just put down the Joycon and wandered away, and my wife asked me if it was alright that she stop playing. The only victory was against myself, and even then I felt like a loser. There is absolutely no reason, on this planet, for you to pick up Watermelon Party, and I defy you to give me a reason why.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Watermelon Party Review
Gameplay - 1/10
Graphics - 1/10
Sound - 1/10
Replay Value - 1/10
User Review( votes)
Boring, meandering, mechanically frustrating and without satisfaction, Watermelon Party is one of the worst Switch titles I’ve played in years.