I’d rather stay at home, actually.
Go Vacation originally released on the Wii back in 2011 and was Bandai Namco’s answer to the hugely popular Wii Sports Resort. Set on four themed resorts on ‘Kawawii Island’, it brings a vast collection of mini-games ranging from sky-diving to snowboarding to, uh, pie throwing. Somehow, it’s gained an HD port for the Nintendo Switch, and the experience remains largely the same as before – which is to say, not very good at all.
With Go Vacation, Bandai Namco made the fatal error of stuffing far too many mini-games into one package. Over fifty activities are available in the game, compared to Wii Sports Resort’s fifteen, and the developer’s focus on quantity rather than quality is unfortunately all too clear from the get-go. All of the activities lack polish and feel rushed out of the door, which sadly means that there’s little incentive to play multiple times once you’ve gotten over the initial novelty. It’s a shame, because there’s a lot of potential here, but it feels like Bandai Namco saw the success of Wii Sports Resort and just wanted in on the action, failing to give fans of Nintendo’s offering little reason to jump ship.
Most of the games can be played simply with the Joy-Con face buttons, but a few require motion controls by default. There is a nice mix of various activities as a whole, but some of the mini-games feel incredibly similar to one another. For example, there’s a mini-game where you need to launch an ATV off a ramp and perform tricks in air to gain points. This is nearly identical – in terms of gameplay – to a mini-game whereby you need to perform tricks on a surfboard. I’d rather Bandai Namco had cut out one of these in favour of fleshing out the other.
Let’s talk about the positives for a moment. Go Vacation is quite unique in that it immediately allows you to explore Kawawii Island at your leisure. You can either do this by foot, in an ATV, by speedboat or on roller skates – it depends on which resort you’re currently exploring. Activities are started by chatting to particular NPCs throughout the environment, with the designated activity communicated via handy icons above their heads. It’s a really cool little touch – Bandai Namco could have easily just listed the activities in the main menu, but the ability to roam about the island is a great way to flesh out the experience.
Additionally, there’s a myriad of customisation options for your character, which expand as you progress through the game. At the start, you can choose to play as either your Mii or one of the game’s pre-set avatars (but keep in mind, if you choose your Mii, you will be limited to fewer customisation options), and you can change everything from hats right down to your socks, including their colour. It’s impressively extensive, but wearing certain types of clothing won’t grant you any kind of benefits – it’s all cosmetic.
All in all, Go Vacation is a disappointing experience that throws far too many activities at you in the futile hope that you’ll get some enjoyment out of at least a few of them. Sadly, they’re all so shallow and dull that it’s quite difficult to recommend any of them.