Wii Play Review

Wii Play has finally hit store shelves here in the U.S. Fundamentally a collection of nine short mini-games, Wii Play is designed to make use of all of the Wii Remote’s methods of control. In fact, the game comes bundled with a Wii Remote for the usual software price point of $49.99. Before hopes climb too high regarding this ‘deal’ though, readers should be aware that this package is more of a ‘Wii-mote Plus’ than an actual game. It’s essentially like buying a Wii Remote and getting a tech demo or instructional software for ten dollars extra.

The game can be played by one or two players which is disappointing on a four-player console, especially when the multiplayer aspect of the game is decidedly more enjoyable than the solo mode. Only one game is available from the start, and each must be played to unlock the next until all nine are accessible. Each game is preceded by a brief message describing how to use the Remote, although it is quite obvious in most cases. Following the Wii Sports philosophy, they’re all very easy to pick up and play. But unlike that collection, these tasks lose their luster much more rapidly.

The first game, Shooting Range, is likely to be the favorite of many gamers. A sort of tribute to old-school light gun games like Duck Hunt, the object of the game is to quickly and accurately pick off balloons, targets, clay disks, soda cans and Mii-snatching UFOs in order to accrue points. There are even a few ducks flying around in the background, yielding bonus points to the sharpshooter who is able to pick them off. Quick reflexes are required to score maximum points, especially in the competitive two-player mode. Those reflexes will come in handy when gamers realize that Shooting Range is over, too — its five stages fly by fast.

Find Mii is up next, and to be completely honest, this "game" is more annoying than it is fun. After thirty-some-odd levels of picking out lookalike and oddball Miis from a crowd, or the fastest moving in the group, I was ready to have an ‘accident’ and blast my TV with a Wii-mote fastball (which, according to a warning in the package, I shouldn’t do). This game is like a wannabe jazzed-up Where’s Waldo, but with fewer, less distinct characters and lower quality artwork. Pose Mii is another game involving Mii avatars, where players rotate pre-posed Mii characters to fit into and pop falling bubbles before they reach the bottom of the screen. There are three different poses, which are cycled through with the A and B buttons. This game is incredibly simple, but can get intense when the bubbles build up. Still, it’s one of the less fun games in the bunch.

Table Tennis is just what is sounds like, and is pretty enjoyable as a multiplayer game, though not so much in single player mode. Players have little control over their paddles, simply moving them around the table while the game makes the actual swings. The motion sensing is spot-on, however, and feels good. The point of the single player game is to keep a rally going with the CPU for as long as possible, while the two player mode is a match to 11. A similar game is Laser Hockey, which mimics real-life air hockey. In this one, the player is in control of the angle and strength of all of his shots. This one is competitive in both single- and multiplayer, but again is more fun with a friend. For Pong remakes, these two games aren’t half bad.

Billiards IS half-bad. It seems as though a game of nine-ball with Wii Remote controls would be a perfect marriage, but the unresponsive Billiards mini-games proves otherwise — at least for now. Off-screen motions don’t translate very well to on-screen action, and the experience, though well thought out and intuitively designed, suffers as a result. Fishing, on the other hand, is as simple as can be. Players dangle their Wii Remote fishing poles into a pond until a fish bites, and then yank up to secure their catch. Detection of the Remote in 3D space is solid, but the game lacks any depth and feels bland. Each fish is worth a certain amount of points, and the goal is to earn the most points before time runs out. It isn’t terribly exciting.

Charge! and Tanks! are the last two games on the list, and are best as multiplayer endeavors. Charge! is a race on cow-back with hurdle-jumping and scarecrow-smashing thrown into the mix. It’s controlled much like ExciteTruck, with the remote held horizontally. Speed is regulated by rotating forward and back, and turning is controlled by tilting side to side. The cows jump when the remote is quickly moved upward. The action in Charge! is hectic, and points are earned for every scarecrow that is smashed on the way to the finish line. Tanks! is the only part of Wii Play to make use of the nunchuk, although it’s an optional addition. In an overhead BattleTanx-like arena, players must move their tank around obstacles with either the control stick or d-pad while trying to shoot down enemy tanks with the Wii Remote’s pointer. This game is simple and fun, and the difficulty scales up nicely over the game’s many levels. It’s a good way to end this collection of mini-games.

Although it’s not nearly of the same quality of the average retail release, Wii Play can be enjoyable for a little while. Multiplayer mode is hands down the more enjoyable way to play, and the fact that the game is bundled with an extra Wii Remote is incentive enough to play it that way. Considering it a Wii Remote bundled with a bonus game justifies the additional $10 spent, and with the scarcity of Wii Remotes it might be a wise purchase for those in search of one.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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