51 Worldwide Games Review
Clubhouse on the DS was excellent and while a simple concept, it was playable with friends locally, online and even if they didn’t have a copy of the game you could join in. It was soothing, accessible, and with a selection of games from all over the world, there was something for everyone.
There’s a lot of mini-game compilations out there on the Switch, but Clubhouse is one of the more classy ones. It’s consistent and fresh.
Before you get cracking into the games, you’ll need to set up your profile, pick a figurine to represent yourself, your favourite games (and food!) and your heart’s desire. You can then become a guide for others and place yourself on the globe. You follow guides from different parts of the world and see what others are playing and what they like. Pick a guide that loves what you want, or if you don’t know how to play, you can get some suggestions. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn something new.
If you don’t want to do any of that, you can jump into whatever game you like. In the Nintendo DS version of the game, you had stamps, and you had to collect stamps to unlock more games. Here on the Switch, the entire 51 games are at your disposal; you can pick whatever you want no restrictions. Every game will start on easy difficulty, and you’ll need to defeat the CPU once on each difficulty level to move onto the next. The more challenging difficulty levels are pretty tough; the impossible ones aren’t impossible; they’re punishing without ever being cheap.
Speaking of learning, every game is introduced with a fully voiced, and video tutorial. The little figures walk you through the rules and ways to play each game fundamentally and informally. Sometimes it was a bit too informal, and I just preferred to read the rules, and you could do that as well. The more complex games like Chess have very detailed instructions, so if you’ve never played or heard of some of these games – don’t worry, you’ll learn. Games can be organised into historical games, worldwide games, games that made Nintendo famous and more. You can even break it down by control type. Each of the games also comes with trivia; it’s a small addition but another fun one.
The games menu is elegant and fast, and you can get into anything very quickly. It’s reminiscent of the Wii era, especially because it seems to use the same font from Wii Sports. The menus are a zip to get around no matter what control style you play, and with multiplayer, all of the controls are explained depending on which controller you’re using. Some games can use the touch screen, some can’t. Some like Billiards, which you would expect to use touch control, don’t. However, you can go bowling on the touch screen if you want. The motion controls also range from great in Darts, to just ok in Bowling.
There are more restrictions or rather limitations to talk about as well. The number of games you can play will vary widely depending on which control scheme you are using. When playing single-player, you’ve got the full choice of 51 games. However, when playing two-player on the touch screen that number drops quite a bit. Two players with two Joy-Con? Fewer games are greyed out. But if you want to play with four players on one system, and you can play just two games, Blackjack and Ludo. Baffling.
Online as well is hindered by these choices; clearly, all 51 games can’t be played by all numbers of people. However, something like Bowling, which clearly can support more than two players just simply doesn’t (this one applies locally too). You can count on one hand the number of 3 and 4 player games that are available online. If you’re playing locally with multiple copies of 51 Worldwide Classics, there are more games accessible. There will be an app that people who don’t own the game can download to join in the fun locally, but the number of games that will support hasn’t yet been revealed, and we weren’t able to test it before launch. And if you were wondering, the Undo move isn’t available online.
Also included in the game is a Mosaic mode, this allows you to play the game across multiple Nintendo Switch systems with the screens “linked”. This makes a tank battlefield or a slot car track run across various Switch systems with the screen edges all touching. Without another three copies of the game and three other Nintendo Switch consoles available to me I wasn’t able to test it, seems like it could be fun to try at least once.
The graphics in 51 Worldwide Games outside of the menus are completely over the top, and I love it. There’s no need for the game to look this good, game boards and card decks come alive with realistic world settings and feel so crisp it makes you think you could reach out and touch it. It never gets in the way, nor does the game’s soundtrack which isn’t memorable but didn’t annoy either.
51 Worldwide Games does no more or no less than you would expect from it. It’s a tidy little package with a lot of value but doesn’t go out of its way to wow you, aside from its grandiose presentation. The annoying and weird restrictions on three and four-player games are silly but won’t take away from the fun you can have. These games have stood the test of time, and they’re even more fun all together in this package.
+ Great value with a lot of games, and ways to play
+ Visually elegant with a slick UI and flourishes like HD rumble
+ Something for everyone, if not you can learn it
- Some games can be slow with no options to speed up
- Limited options for 3 and 4 players, and online
- Nearly all games are competitive, limited co-operative options