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‘51 Worldwide Games’ Review: A Marvellous Mini-Game Extravaganza For Switch

‘51 Worldwide Games’ Review: A Marvellous Mini-Game Extravaganza For Switch

Bowling’s back on the menu, boys…

Mike Diver

Mike Diver

Just how good was the bowing in Wii Sports, though, really? The pack-in game for Nintendo's best-selling home console was full of events making the most of the Wii's motion controls - but bowling was maybe the most intuitive, the most easy to pick up and play, and basically the most fun.

The new 51 Worldwide Games collection for Nintendo Switch is ostensibly sold as a package of tabletop fun. And, sure, it does feature a great number of virtual versions of games played when you're with your pals around a flat surface, from chess, cards, backgammon, shogi and draughts to four-in-a-row (Connect 4) and a small selection of wind-up/electronic style takes on team games like baseball and football (of the soccer variety).

51 Worldwide Games: Bowling /

But the real star of the show here is the return of bowling - just as effortless to get into, and obsessed by, as the Wii Sports version ever was. Strap on your Joy-Con and away you go. There's not really much more to say, is there? Well, okay, there's one thing: since this is on Switch, you can play with touch controls in handheld mode. But really. Why? It's bowling. Get up, stand up, swing that arm and get yourself to turkey town, already.

Another game here that's more of a going out pursuit (and best enjoyed with a pint) than a quiet night in one is darts - and I'm pleased to report that the motion controls for this are, after a few wonky feeler throws, pretty much spot on. I can't help myself when there's a dartboard around - I've got to toss a few arrows. And the same's true whenever there's a darts mini-game in another title - such as Final Fantasy VII Remake and Judgment, to name two recent examples. I can lose hours to it - and that's true of the darts of 51 Worldwide Games. It does exactly what's said on the tin, and it's all I need, frankly. Though just like in real life, I suck at checking out first time.

51 Worldwide Games: Hanafuda Cards /

The card games (sevens, blackjack, poker and so on) and traditional board games (which also include Ludo and Chinese checkers) all play entirely like you expect them to - meaning that you'll initially gravitate to favourites before cautiously exploring more exotic options. I don't think I'll ever quite crack Hanafuda - the card game that Nintendo first made its name with in the late 19th century - but that it's here gives me the option of trying to get my head around it, whenever I want to. And the same can be said of the Japanese 'Rīchi' version of the Chinese game, mahjong. I'll get there, I'll try, I promise. Probably. And it's worth adding that any game you don't know, or understand, is explained with very easy to follow rules.

But for the time being, the family and I are rather more obsessed with less-traditional options. Battle Tanks can be played solo or cooperatively, and is a simple sorta-Bomberman-like affair where the objective is to destroy a number of enemy tanks. My two kids love it, while my wife has become rather too smitten with 51 Worldwide Games' 6-Ball Puzzle, a falling-ball affair where six of the same colour have to be joined together. It can become quite, quite heated when played competitively. I hope it doesn't turn out to be a marriage wrecker.

51 Worldwide Games: Toy Boxing /

Personally, I've found the fishing game here to be wonderfully relaxing - it's like a slightly fancier version of what you do in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, even down to the boots you can hook, and you can fish against the clock or in endless mode. The golf game here, while pretty weird looking, is also very chilled, with little streams running through the pretty holes. I also very much like the simplicity of Slot Cars, Air Hockey (which the family and I always play whenever we head to our local IRL bowling alley), and Toy Boxing - the latter of which is very indebted to the classic Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots toy.

It's easy to say that 51 Worldwide Games has "something for everyone", and close this piece right there. But while that's true, in isolation none of these games is worth the asking price alone. So it's only as a bundle where this release can be properly appreciated and assessed - and looking at it that way, and considering its mid-budget pricing (£34.99 in the UK), it's hard to be particularly critical of it. Since getting this game, it's all my family and I have played together, pushing the lines of Mario Kart 8 and Minecraft out of the way. And it's done that with, mostly, a bunch of games that we could play without a TV or a games console. But the convenience, even for something as easy to play as dots and boxes (who didn't waste time with that when they should have been doing maths, honestly), really is something.

51 Worldwide Games: Slot Cars /

For those with more than one Switch in their household, 51 Worldwide Games supports a mosaic mode, which connects screens to create larger Slot Racing tracks, fishing streams and more. It looks pretty cool, but as a one-console household I've not been able to test it. You can also play in multiplayer across separate devices, locally and (of course) online.

For what it is, and as a successor to the DS's Clubhouse Games of 2005 (bloomin' heck, how time flies), 51 Worldwide Games is perfect, really. Does that make it a perfect video game? Clearly, no. It's a very recommended collection for super-convenient family-time play, with a handful of attractions that will become regular favourites - like I said, its bowling is dangerously close to becoming an obsession. But it's not something that can be scored alongside a Breath of the Wild, a Persona 5 or a Witcher 3. So while the number below might not immediately scream buy this, if you're hankering for a fine-indeed mini-game collection for your Switch, they don't come much finer than this one.

7/10: Very Good

51 Worldwide Games is released for Nintendo Switch on June 5. Code was provided for review by the publisher, Nintendo. A guide to GAMINGbible's review scores can be found here.

Featured Image Credit: Nintendo

Topics: Switch, Review, Nintendo