Platform: Nintendo Wii
Developer - Nintendo
Publisher - Nintendo
Wii Sports is a title that is included with every purchase of Nintendo's newest console. This game showcased what the wiimote was all about while allowing casual and non-gamers to try their skills at what is a new and simple game. Well three months later Nintendo has released yet another title that is aimed at showing what the new wiimote is all about. Wii Play is a collection of nine mini-games that are supposed to highlight innovative uses of the console's specially designed controller. This time around the wiimote specific game is packaged with a new wiimote for instant multiplayer play.
This game is so similar to Wii Sports that most of what was said in that review pretty much carries over to this review. The graphics are very simple, not processor intensive, so the game runs without a hitch. It was nice to see my own Mii in the game again too. Some of the mini-games are well designed too. One that really sticks out in my head is the Laser Hockey. It is a neon themed interpretation of the classic pong of yesteryear, but it is very well designed and actually quite funky. Overall one has to be very expectant of less then mind bending graphics in this game, as it is not meant to do so. As I always take care of those tech-heads out there. Wii Play does run in 480p and 16x9 widescreen modes. So those taking advantage of an ED or HDTV will have an improved image over the standard composite cable on a standard TV.
As with the graphics, sound is not particularly a big feature of this game. Music is somewhat suitable, and some tunes are even catchy. One mini-game that really does benefit from music is the aforementioned Laser Hockey. The music definitely suits the level and it manages to change as you score points against the computer AI. The rest of the sounds are well represented too, from the crowd cheering when you find the right Mii's, the gun firing when you shoot at the various targets in the Shooting Range to the cue ball striking any one of the pool balls in a game of nine ball. Overall the audio is pretty well represented, but it doesn't go over the top to further the gaming experience in Wii Play.
Wii Play contains nine different mini-games that have been designed to once again highlight the innovative design features of the wiimote. There is no story, no level up features, just nine simple mini-games to play through. Some may revel at the fact that this disk contains nine separate mini-games, however each of these games can be played through quite quickly and they don't have the ability to keep one's attention as much as I would have liked to have seen.
The nine mini-games included on this disk are as follows:
1. Shooting Range - A five level mini-game designed to mimic the once heralded Duck Hunt on the original NES. Use the wiimote to aim your on-screen crosshair. Games range from balloon shooting, target shooting, skeet shooting, keeping pop cans in the air and shooting down UFO's.
2. Find Mii - Find specific Mii's on screen (e.g. match two Mii's that look alike). The wiimote is used as a pointer.
3. Table Tennis - Rally a ping-pong ball with the computer or human opponent. This game only requires you to get the paddle in front of the ball, no swing required. The wiimote is once again used as a directional pointer.
4. Pose Mii - Change your Mii's pose to one of three poses that match the silhouette in the on-screen bubbles. Here you will have to twist the wiimote to match the angle of the pose.
5. Laser Hockey - A psychedelic updated version of Pong. Here you use the wiimote to control your on-screen paddle in an attempt to hit the ball, puck, what ever you want to call it, into the opponents goal.
6. Billiards - Play a game of nine ball using the wiimote to simulate the pool cue. Place a curser on the cue ball, enabling some control in such things as spin, and pull back the wiimote and push forward to hit the ball.
7. Fishing - Very self explanatory. The wiimote is used as a fishing rod and you have to catch as many fish as possible in the time allotted.
8. Charge! - Ride a cow down a tack and knock over scarecrows. The faster you do it, while hitting as many scarecrows as possible, the higher your score. Hold the wiimote like a regular controller tilting it forward to go faster, tilting it back to slow down and raise it up and down to jump over obstacles.
9. Tanks! - Very much an update to a well known Atari game. Fire shells at enemy tanks in an effort to destroy them. This game can be played using the nunchuk to control the tank and wiimote to aim.
These nine games sound great in principle, but they are over quite quickly. I would honestly have to say that out of the nine I really only enjoyed four of them, including the multiplayer modes. As for the rest of the nine, I got tired of them quickly or they just didn't interest me. I found myself most interested in the Shooting Gallery, Laser Hockey, Billiards and Tanks. During the Shooting Gallery I found that I had that desire to work towards perfection, not missing any of the targets offered. The five shooting levels go quite quickly but are fun in the bursts that are offered. As for the Laser Hockey, playing against a friend is really where it is at. Playing the computer AI is somewhat of an unrewarding experience and having that buddy sitting beside you to gloat over; well that is part of the fun. Billiards main feature was how the wiimote was actually used. It somewhat simulated a pool cue and made for an interesting game of nine ball in the comfort of my own surroundings. Finally my enjoyment with Tank was mainly in the multiplayer mode. It is a mix of cooperative and competitive. You can both play against the computer AI in an effort to wipe them all out. The player with the most points is the winner. I was somewhat amazed how much time I spent on the Tank mode.
The rest of the games just didn't do it for me. The two Mii games (Find and Pose) seemed somewhat tacked on and really weren't as innovative with the wiimote. Add to that the fact that the Find Mii mode had some strange challenges that just didn't make sense, picking out two Mii's that did not belong was one of them. Fishing was outright boring, Charge! was fun the first few times through but didn't have any staying power and Table Tennis was just too simple as it only required you to move the paddle back and forth without swinging. Overall these five games just didn't have what it takes to really be appealing. Don't get me wrong, I know that the whole idea of these games, and the other four that I really enjoyed, are really aimed for the casual and non-gamer, but at least the give them some staying power. Wii Play is definitely a showcase for innovativeness of the wiimote, but it is nothing more. Sure the four games I enjoyed have some sort of attraction to me, but I can't say the same for anyone reading this review.
People looking for replayability will only be somewhat satisfied with the fact that each mode can be played in single player in an effort to reach the top. In this case the top is a gold medal in each mini-game. Each of these mini-games rewards one's performance with a gold, silver or bronze medal depending on one's performance. These medals are reachable, if not immediately it can be done with a little practice.
Continue to Page 2