So what of the content? A 3D representation of planet earth provides the hub from which each mini-game is accessed. There are twelve landmarks pinpointed on the globe, like the Statue of Liberty and Ayers Rock, and each of these hosts three challenges. These generally take a real-life record, such as world's most tattooed man or longest fingernails, and then make a mini-game out of it, challenging you to beat the real-life record (as well, of course, as the scores of your local and global rivals).

The mini-games have been well designed and are more interesting and deep than Wii users will be used to. The World's Highest BMX Jump has you holding the Wiimote and nunchuk horizontally and pumping them up and down as fast as you can to gain speed on a half-pipe, before flicking them in the air at the top of the jump to gain extra height. Longest Balance of a Vehicle on Your Head has you holding the controller horizontally as steady as possible in order to keep a bus full of passengers aloft for as long as you can. Furthest Toss of a Cowpat approximates the discus throw, building up momentum before pitching the angle of your launch in a flowing movement.

By contrast, World's Tallest Skyscraper is a fast-paced puzzler, asking you to arrange Tetris-shaped blocks into neat square's as you build a structure high up into the air. When you complete a mini-game you're awarded coins, which are then used to purchase yet more challenges. The game's generous with its payouts, too, so you'll be able to afford most things you want after a few plays of a single mini-game.

There are some irritating oversights though. Firstly, there's no option to use your Mii. Instead you have to select one of eight stock characters, each of whom has their own default name, so if you want to start registering high scores on the global leaderboards, you'll need to go into the character editor and edit it manually. With an eight-character limit, the best you can hope for is an initial and surname, a strange restriction in a game that's all about boasting. It also seems silly to hide these personalisation options so deep rather than putting them up front. Anonymous glory is meaningless.

2
OmNomNomNom.

Furthermore, the game won't automatically connect to Wi-Fi, so you'll have to manually update the leaderboards each time you play a set of mini-games, and there's nothing so depressing as celebrating a record-breaking effort only for it to be smashed seconds later when the leaderboard refreshes, demoting you back to local champion. Finally, it would have been fun to have some stat-porn in here. While the game throws trivia at players on every screen (printing off random ticker-tape records from the official book), there's no option to see how leaderboards break down by county, or to find out, for example, which nations are best at jumbo-jet-eating. All of that data must be sitting on a server somewhere so it would be nice to parse it.

Despite these niggles, Guinness World Records is the best mini-game collection we've played on the Wii, in part because of the content but principally because of its context. It's perfect for Christmas, competing against friends and family for bragging rights, fiercely working to hold your records against rivals (stay away my sheep-shearing record, amateurs) and sharing tips and tricks in the forums, while keeping the best ones for yourself. High-score gaming has never been so well-presented, and if nothing else, other developers would do well to learn from and develop upon its example.

7 /10

About the author

Simon Parkin

Simon Parkin

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Simon Parkin is an award-winning writer and journalist from England, a regular contributor to The New Yorker, The Guardian and a variety of other publications.

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