Published on March 28th, 2013 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
GDC 2013: Spin the Bottle – A Game for Dancing and Grabbing the Bone
I’d play Spin the Bottle with my mom. Not the real thing, of course. If it were the indie game coming to the Nintendo eShop for Wii U, then yes.
There’s no doubt that the original Wii saw its fair share of party games. Although games like Rayman: Raving Rabbids and WarioWare: Smooth Moves were among the more fun in the group. Why? There was something quirky and fun about them. This is also something which is immediately noticeable in the design of KnapNokGames’ title, Spin the Bottle.
The game’s design is fairly simple, but this is its strong point. Removing the clutter of other party games allows Spin the Bottle to be silly, while providing refreshing and fun gameplay. Each game hosts a certain level of interactivity — most times not using the TV screen at all.
The characters of the game have a general silliness to them, which reinforces the game’s overall theme. The premise of the game is to bring a reality check to other party games. Most activities involve communicating with other players, not to mention clasping hands while you Dosey Doe around the living room.
Games are chosen on the Wii U GamePad. A bottle is spun on a flatly painted circular surface until it stops on the game picked. There are more than 17 games in total, and range from team-based tactics pitting two-on-two, or others that simply having you and your partner working together in a single game. Such was the case when Olle Lundahl, KnapNokGames CEO, and I partnered up. He held the Wii remote high above his head while mine was down about waist level. The goal was to “pump” our Handcar while making monkey sounds. This had to be done quickly to ensure it kept moving. Of course the “highest of fives” was delivered when we dominated the game. Other matches didn’t go quite as planned.
Some games have players working without facing a screen at all. The development team admitted that the “Jump” game hadn’t been completed on the show floor yet. The game requires one person to hold the GamePad and view a simple runner-platformer character. They must then shout “jump!” to their partner, who holds a Wii Remote with them. Every time the person with the Wii Remote jumps, the character on screen does as well. Multiple jumps keep the player floating and is sure to tire out some spastic kids in its near future.
Other games challenge other forms of communication. Finding the “bone” requires one player to be blindfolded and the other to guide them to the standing Wii Remote. The “finder” must locate the Wii Remote, grab it and then press ‘A+B’ to signify they’ve reached it. Much like the other games, there is a time limit shown on the GamePad and screen. Doing so under the given time delivers a graph indicating your success rate. Winning delivers pedals on a flower, and gaining three flowers will crown your team the victor.
The fun-factor of Spin the Bottle stems further than its quirky art style and awkward games. There is a heavy challenge to break the norm of party games by having teams communicate directly with one another. There is more involvement with each other, and you aren’t just sitting together staring at the TV screen to interact.
Spin the Bottle is slated to release May 2013, and has yet to be given a price point. However, early impressions paint the perfect party game, even one that may involve copious amounts of alcohol to be consumed for drunken Wii U debauchery. After speaking with the development team, they almost encouraged such activities. Almost.