Minute to Win It is based on the game show of the same name. They even got the real host, Guy Fieri, to do the voice of the host in game. You’ll use both the Wii-mote and the nunchuk in the game, and it’s compatible with the Wii MotionPlus add-on. I have seen other reviews talk about it using the Wii Balance Board also, but there is nothing on the box to that effect, and the games I’ve been able to try have not said anything about the Balance Board.
Although the overall game has 36 different challenges, you will start with 10 challenges available. The other 26 have to be unlocked by winning challenges in the game.
There are single-player and multiplayer modes. Single-player mode gives you the options for single episode, time trials and practice mode. Unless you are a videogame god, you will need to do the practice mode — a lot. Multiplayer mode gives you the option for multi-episode and championship mode.
With the single-player single episode, you will always have the same challenges in the same order in that episode, and you have to beat episode one before you can chose any of the other episodes. Episode one will be the same challenges you’ve just seen in training mode (which makes sense). At least the multi-episode mode for multiplayers lets you choose which 10 challenges you want to do in your episode. The championship mode lets you go head-to-head with a friend over anywhere up to the full 36 challenges — winner take all.
You start with a choice between four female and four male avatars. You can customize your character by changing their clothes and accessories. If you win challenges, you win virtual money. You can use this money to buy additional clothes and accessories to customize your chosen avatar.
The blueprint section, where it shows you your challenge, looks and sounds like the actual show. For the Wii game, you will (briefly) see what you need to do with the controls in the lower right corner of the screen. Pay attention. You can’t repeat the instructions without starting over the challenge.
Although Guy is a charming guy, one gripe I have is you cannot skip any of his dialogue. If you’re like me and you’ve had to redo a challenge several times, you will hear his entire dialogue every time. There should have been an option to skip it if you want.
They made an “interesting” graphical choice with the avatars. Their heads are very angular, almost coming to the point of a triangle at the nose. I didn’t care for their look. Your mileage may vary. The synchronization between Guy’s dialogue and the movement of his mouth was not at all close either.
I did spend a lot of time in practice mode. You can even set the timer up to nine minutes to give you extra time to practice. I found some challenges to be easy, but most, for me, were incredibly difficult.
The first challenge is called “This Blows” (and it did). You have to pump your off hand just right up and down to blow up a balloon, then use the A button to toggle to facing the table, then use the nunchuk to move your character while you hit the B button to release air from a balloon and try to blow cups off a table. I had a lot of times when I saw my avatar raise the balloon up and down but never actually blow air into it. If you don’t practice enough, when the perspective shifts, your first move with your avatar will be in the opposite direction from where you need to go because you’re now facing the other way. I freely admit to my lack of skill, but I had cramps in both forearms and was not able to get past this challenge under one minute. (I did try this challenge over the course of two days, so this wasn’t just a 10 minute try and give up either.) When you’re playing episode one, you get three tries at the challenge (your three lives just like the show), but you get to listen to the host and the blueprint between each try. If you fail three times, you have to start the episode over and listen to the entire dialogue and blueprints yet again. It wears on the nerves after a while.
I was excited about Minute to Win It and really wanted to like it, but my arms hurt now, and it ended up being too much like work and not enough like play. For me, the first challenge was too hard out of the gate. If you love Minute to Win It, and you’re pretty confident in your Wii skills, you can certainly give it a go.