Barbie’s robotic closet is malfunctioning and has trapped Barbie and her friends inside the Dreamhouse! Now the only way to escape is to…play mini-games? Travel from room to room and compete in nearly a dozen Barbie themed games for up to four players. Barbie Dreamhouse Party is available for all of Nintendo’s current consoles, but reviewed on Wii here.
Start in the foyer where you can walk around and talk to your friends, or open doors to select game modes and options. On the first floor you can play the main game, view pictures you’ve unlocked, and change Barbie’s clothes. More wardrobe items will be available as you play. Upstairs you can play unlocked mini-games separately, toggle options, or view the credits.
In the main game, you choose one of nine rooms to explore, such as Barbie’s bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, etc. First you must walk around the room and find a certain item and place it on a pedestal in the right order. Not sure what good that does, but once you’re done, you’ll be whisked off to a mini-game that lasts about three minutes. Up to four can play at the same time, and the CPU will control the rest.
In one mini-game, you have to press buttons at the right time in a dance contest, or press buttons in a sequence as you pose on the fashion runway. Catch falling shoeboxes so they don’t tip over, or gather the most cupcakes on your table in the kitchen. Sometimes you may have to point the Wii remote at the screen to groom Barbie’s pets as fast as you can, or apply makeup to giant Barbie heads. You can only play as girl characters, as boys like Ken are just the announcers. But then, considering some of the mini-games require you to wear dresses and put on makeup, that might get kind of weird.
After you’ve finished a mini-game, search that room one last time for photos to unlock, and then it’s off to the next room. After you’ve gone through all nine rooms, a winner is declared and everyone can leave the Dreamhouse. You can unlock games, wardrobe items, and photos by finishing mini-games. While it is certainly at least playable, I would imagine only die-hard Barbie fans will truly enjoy this one.
Reading skill is a must for the instructions, but with a little help, most can figure out what to do just by playing. Most of the mini-games are pretty easy, but there were a couple where the CPU was a little tough and might frustrate young gamers who want to win. Barbie Dreamhouse Party is rated E for Everyone.