It might lack the charm of Mario Party, but Wii Party U manages to make good use of the Wii U game pad judging by what I saw on the E3 showfloor today. The mini game above, for instance, asks players to guess why the person holding the game pad made a certain facial expression on-camera.
When I played, I had to express what it finally being the weekend made me feel like. I made my face look surprised, which threw people off — but hey, the weekend always feels like it sneaks up on me! I imagine that the better you know someone, the better you'll be at interpreting their facial expressions.
There was another clever mini game that's all about communication. One player becomes a lost pet which others have to find. The player with the gamepad has the ability move the pad around to get a better look at their surroundings in-game. That player then has to describe those surroundings to the other players in the hopes that it'll help the other players find the lost pet. That simple task is made even more difficult when the map is littered with other lost pets.
The game as a whole has 80 minigames, many of which use the gamepad in unique ways. It's cool, but damn, I wish the game had a bit more personality to it — other mini-game collection games, like Nintendo Land and Mario Party do!