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Crazy Party, the first original game by French Developer Pragma, author of the highly successful Crazy mod for Sound rts is not one, but two rather unique styles of game stuck together in one truly enormous package.
The first can best be described as arcade gaming in overdrive. Based upon the idea of the popular mainstream Mario Party series, the Adventure mode has the player traverse a number of worlds from the peaceful valley to the dangerous factory. This involves travel along a map hitting the arrow keys to move north south east or west. Intermitantly, you will find yourself running across minigames. These are small two or three minute challenges, usually in an arcade style though occasionally with brain teasers or puzzles, some played as side scrollers left to right with the arrows, some as top down run around games where you use up and down arrows to move north and south, some just asking questions with the number row , (you'll be given instructions including what keys to use and what sounds it uses before you play each minigame). The first game for example requires you to run left and aright with the arrows to protect a wandering duck from falling rain, others can involve estimating the time of a burning fuse before a bomb goes off, entering a mazelike ant colony to retrieve some theramones without getting eaten by giant ants, or even mathematical problems performed to a rythm. With a good enough score in each minigame you can progress along the map earning coins, perhaps finding secret boxes with bonuses along the way or finding routes to unlock other worlds (each map usually unlocks more than one world. Of course, if you fail at a game you'll lose coins, and if you run out of coins you'll need to start each map again. If you score particularly well at a given minigame however, you will not only pass it and gain a lot of coins, but also unlock it for online play
This is where the real "party!" aspect of the game comes in. Once you've unlocked ten minigames, you can start a server online or connect to other players for competitive challenges. Choose to play the minigames "in serenity" ie, the same way as when playing in the adventure mode, or "in competition" ie, rules such as the first to the end of a side scrolling section wins ending the game for everyone. Also, wrong foot your opponents by using the joker which lets you skip a minigame (hold J when the minigame is selected), and play with the special ruby bonuses where the person who collects the most rubies during an online game gets 20 bonus points. Of course, it wouldn't be a competition if there wasn't anything at steak. If you do wel enough in competitive games (or even whilst playing in single player), you can earn gems, experience and perminant coins. Gems can be used in the gem store to buy chances to replay minigames you've already completed, or different boards to play on, since that is yet another way you can enjoy online games, by playing them as part of a dice rolling board adventure with other people or against the computer, where landing on certain squares wins or loses coins, banks coins up for the next person to land there, or of course leads to minigame challenges. .
The arcade gaming and minigames however is only the first half of Crazy party. The second half also gives you the chance to compete against the computer or against other people online in a very different type of game, a ccg or collectable card game battle. By selecting battle from the main menu you will find yourself challenged to defeat a number of gyms of different elemental types one after another such as normal, fighting, grass, ghost and dragon, in some ways referencing the popular pokemon series of games although note that the mechanics of the battles in crazy party are very different. Starting with six cards in the hand and each turn playing and discarding one, The objective of the game is to reduce your opponent's hitpoints to zero before she/he gets yours by playing attacks. Each card of a given element you play, increases your level in that element, allowing you to play different and stronger ccards. There isn't however just damage involved since effects such as putting your opponent to sleep, poisoning or scorching them, decreasing their accuracy or the power of either their physical or special attacks are all possible stratogies, as is increasing your own effectiveness, by for example playing a rain card to make your water attacks stronger. Also note that elemental weaknesses play a major part in the game, and so if you attack one element with a weaker one you will find yourself doing less wel, while stronger elements such as attacking fire with water will be far more effective. This system of weaknesses of course means that it's not just a question of playing the best card in each given situation, but also of building yourself a deck to take care of different types of battles. Each Gym you defeat rewards you with 5 cards of that gym's element, (so you'll need to defeat all the opponents in a gym several times to get them all). Use the "manage decs" option from the main menu to use one of your 12 defeault decs, and choose which cards from a list you want in that dec, you can then select that dec when starting a new gym. (you can also modify your decs by editing text files if you prefer).
The objective in the battle game is of course not just to defeat all the gyms, but also to fight in online battles against a number of human opponents. In these battles, multiple players compete, throwing cards at each other until there is one winner, and of course with more players on the table there are even more chances for elemental weaknesses and strengths to come into play. Though the card battles and the arcade style minigames are largely separate entities, you still win similar rewards for being victorious in an online card battle, and of course you can choose to combine cards and minigames into one massive challenge.
Crazy party outputs to Nvda, Window eyes, System access, Jaws (though read the instructions on the webpage about how to set the game with jaws), or can be self voicing with Ms sapi. It can also be played in English, Spanish, or in the original French, just choose the language at start up (German and likely other translations are also in the works, and you can go here for the French version of the webpage The game is also (surprisingly for such a truly huge game), entirely free.
With over 120 minigames in 10 unique worlds to challenge you, which range from fast action, to mazes, to brain teasers or head scratching problems, around 2000 cards spread over 18 gyms with multiple opponents, and several different boards to buy, even the single player mode of Crazy Party is a huge and extremely addictive game and one it'll take a long while to complete. Add on to this the party aspect and the chance to challenge friends online, boosted by a classic and thumping game soundtrac (one which often references famous mainstream games of the past), atmospheric, and often fun sound effects for all in game events, and you have one gigantic bundle of fun.
Whether your a casual arcade gamer looking for the next great take in arcade games, a hardcore player bent on unlocking everything, orr a complete stratogist, you'll find something appealing in Crazy party, indeed this is one game which is heartily recommended to pretty much everyone!
Updates: entry 13 Oct 16 and description 1 Sep 16