Go Vacation was great fun when it launched on the Wii in 2011, but times were simpler back then. Fast forward to 2018, and I'm having a really hard time convincing myself to boot this game up when I have so many other options on my Switch home screen. The magic got left behind, and I'm sorry to say that Go Vacation has not aged as gracefully as I hoped it would. For $50, I'd also have a really hard time convincing anyone that it's worth the current buying price.
The appeal and the premise are still the same: Go Vacation presents the player with four, enormous, virtual resorts to explore. What's your perfect vacation destination? Whether you're a fan of lively cities, sandy beaches, scenic mountains, or frosty slopes, Go Vacation has you covered. Each of the four areas is packed with activities and mini-games to play, and if you have friends or family members who like to play games, they'll be able to grab a Joy-Con and join you.
Go Vacation's one redeeming quality is its appeal as a family game. Spend a couple of hours crashing through the initial activities (which are quite dull), and these resorts will blossom and open up to you, and provide you and your family with a ton of mini-games to choose from. If you have younger children that you want to play games with, and they need simple objectives and simple, easy-to-understand inputs, almost everything offered here is perfectly suited for you.
Whether you want to go skydiving, skiing down a mountain, racing jet-skis down the coast, or playing a game of volleyball, most of these mini-games will only ask you to use two or three buttons. The actual speed of play is pretty slow as well, even in the racing games, so that should even the playing field a bit for younger gamers, and encourage an anxiety-free environment for families to spend time together.
On the other hand, for experienced gamers like myself (and most likely for you as well), the simple control schemes and slower speed of play can make things feel really dull. Bandai Namco developed this game, but it originally resonated strongly with the "Nintendo" crowd, drawing comparisons to Wii Sports Resort. We love Nintendo for its ability to constantly surprise us, but unfortunately, Go Vacation did not surprise me at all, and fell far short of Nintendo's further-elevated standard on the Switch.
Everything seems bland and ho-hum. The resorts themselves are varied and appealing, but I could not shake the feeling that I was staring at a 2011 Wii game with sharper geometry. Lighting effects are dated, textures are flat and lifeless, and avatar animations are stiff and limited. The introductory shots you'll see of each resort before loading an activity are actually really pretty, and there were times where a perfect sunset hit the water at the Marine Resort and I stopped to stare, but actually playing the game is less gratifying, visually.
Oddly, that general sentiment applies to the rest of the game. The "in between" moments hold a lot of promise, but rarely lead to a payoff. Exploring each resort for the first time can be fun, as they all have their own secrets and lively inhabitants to interact with. Searching for new mini-games is like a treasure hunt, and expanding your wardrobe and furniture collection as you level up your avatar is nice. Your little ones may enjoy collecting animal companions as well.
It's all very charming, and the game boasts a persistent, care-free vibe that really does make you feel like you're taking a break from it all, and everything's alright. It's just the mini-games, man. They all feel half-baked, and to even gain the privilege of searching for the more exciting games you have to grit your teeth as your hand is held through the easiest versions of arguably the dullest games in the collection.0comments
Go Vacation is not the Wii Sports breakout that you and your friends have been waiting to get drunk and fire up on the Nintendo Switch. At the moment, 1-2 Switch still occupies the throne as the all-around hardware mini-game showcase. It's dated, slow-going, and demands hours of your patience before opening up, but for younger gamers and especially for families, Go Vacation is more than capable of providing months of laid-back competition and gratifying exploration.
ComicBook's Score: 3 / 5