jengap1.jpgLet’s forget about how strange it is to play a virtual game of Jenga for a second because Atari’s rendition on the Wii has some interesting ideas. You start playing by moving the cursor over a block and then you press B to select it. Once the piece is highlighted you draw the remote back as if you were pulling the piece out. However, you can’t do Jenga tricks like probing for potential blocks to remove or quickly flinging a block forward by snapping it. Also you don’t gently remove the piece; you have to tug the remote backwards to pull the block out. Atari is still tweaking Jenga and the controller sensitivity may change in the future.

 

When I first got the remote in my hands, I swung it back and forth to see if blocks would come crashing down. Instead the tower seemed to defy gravity by fixing itself into positions like the Leaning Tower of Piza. It was like the rules of Jenga changed on the Wii and the game got much easier. Another difference is you don’t have to align removed pieces to the tower. You can drop them at any odd angle, which would mess up another player's drop in the future. I used that strategy to win the demo match because the tower wouldn't fall down naturally.

 

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There are a few bells and whistles Atari added in like power-ups that make blocks more slippery, aliens and exotic locales. You’ve never played Jenga until you played it in a Zen Garden! Not really though. Besides alternate universe physics Jenga on the Wii is Jenga, minus picking up the blocks. Price is what is going to make or break Jenga. If it costs around $20 it might be worth picking up, but if Atari dares to release Jenga as full price Wii game it won’t be worth it. Unless you really have to play Jenga on ice the $10 game with real wooden blocks probably does the trick. Plus the real game comes with extra entertainment when the loser has to pick up the pieces and rebuild the tower.

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