Reviewed: October 23, 2011
Released: September 13, 2011
Mama's had a pretty long run, as far as themed minigame collections go. Starting back in 2006 with Cooking Mama, it's come all the way to Camping Mama: Outdoor Adventures. As the name implies, Camping Mama adds a new twist to the game by taking it outside to a tropical island. However, exploration elements and a new theme can't really save the game from the repetition of its 100 minigames.|
The game lets you play as Ringo and Ichigo, Mama's two kids, as you accompany Mama and Papa on a camping trip to a tropical island. You explore parts of the island, dodging bees, boars and monkeys as you search for minigames, navigate mazes to find your parents, or search for items scattered across the map. The exploration is fairly enjoyable in and of itself, and the stylus controls for moving are well-executed, but the wild animals that wander in patterns don't add much interest to the game, aside from making the player stop for a few seconds to see the path they walk.
As you explore, you find minigames on signs, hidden in the environment, and, sometimes, when wild animals attack you. The games range from mundane camping fare, like cutting wood, catching butterflies, or making smores without burning any of the marshmallows, to more bizarre trials like spinning an apple like a top and cutting all its skin off with a knife and swinging on vines across a hippo infested river, to the frankly insane game of Simon Says with a haunted Jack-O-Lantern living inside a treasure chest.
All of these games have responsive touchscreen controls, and they all manage to convey their activity, no matter how normal or weird, fairly well. However, the simplicity and length of the games combine to make them unappealing to retry. Unless you're really driven to impress your virtual parents with your camping prowess, you won't find yourself driven to max out your scores. Pretty much any iteration of Wario Ware does the replayable minigame collection thing much, much better.
Along the way, you collect items for your campsite, and record camping food, insects, and fish that you encounter. While the books that mark details of what you've found down, it'd only be appealing for the most die-hard completionists, since none of the remarks on what you find are particularly interesting or clever.
The game's graphics are cute and appealing, and backed up by fun sound effects and music. However, the game's voiceovers sound like they had Japanese voice actors reading English lines phonetically, which makes for occasionally incomprehensible sound bites.
Camping Mama's not a terrible game, and might make for a fun distraction for kids on the road, but the lack of replay value, simplistic minigames, and the animals dragging down the exploration make it hard to recommend. Hardcore fans of the series might have a great time, but for most people, I'd just grab an old copy of Wario Ware and pitch a tent for a superior camping minigame experience.