The good news is that you’ll get faster at them with each try, but given the amount of repetition within each area it helps the game get slightly dull a bit too soon. What’s more, there’s little bar the road layout, the background music and the scenery to distinguish one area from the last. While a few additional mini-games are lobbed in with each new area, you’re still basically doing the same stuff whether you’re on the coast or in the suburbs.
This, then, is another Wii game killed by lack of long-term appeal and variety. There aren’t enough mini-games to go around, and the basic gameplay is a case of familiarity breeding contempt. Things even go wrong in the multiplayer ‘Party’ mode, where you’re restricted to single game challenges and tournaments using only five of the available mini-games – and that’s only if you’ve unlocked them in the single-player mode first. In the past, games like Crazy Taxi could get past such limitations by working as a score attack game, but Emergency Mayhem just isn’t compelling or addictive enough to make that work.
It’s a shame, because the basic concept isn’t bad, and the presentation is reasonably good. True, the graphics don’t even put Crazy Taxi to shame, let alone Burnout Paradise or GTA IV, but at least the cel-shaded visuals have a nice clean look and there are some charming small touches in the scenery. Music is another good point, with quirky or dynamic themes for the various services and mission types. All the same, Emergency Mayhem isn’t the game to make doing the right thing seem attractive. It’s not even the game to make doing the right thing fun. Maybe crime doesn’t pay, but it certainly plays a lot better than this.
A quirky Crazy Taxi/Mini-game hybrid that doesn’t quite come off. Whether you want mini-games, party action or a quick arcade fix, you’ll find better action on your Wii elsewhere.