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Wii Play Review

By Brian Beck, 2/20/2007

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It’s no secret that Nintendo’s Wii has revolutionized the way that people look at games. No longer are video games too complicated for your grandma and grandpa to jump in on, no longer are they just relegated to a sedentary activity. Now you can get up and get into your games to an extreme degree or, if you want, play them in a more old-fashioned way. The face of gaming has changed.

The first game to really get that going was the Wii’s packin game, Wii Sports. It was simple, sure, but most people know the basic rules of the included sports. That ease of understanding let almost anyone pick up a Wiimote and bowl a game or two, hit a baseball, play a game of tennis, get in a boxing match or go golfing. Now, video gaming is more of a thing to do as opposed to something you do because there is nothing to do.

Now, Nintendo has released Wii Play. Wii Play is, in a way, like Wii Sports – is is essentially a packin game with a Wiimote (you get a $40 wiimote in a package with the game for $50 total). Wii Play involves a whole lot of pointing at the screen and, in your first playthrough, acts more like a Wiimote tutorial than an actual game. Aftery our first run through the 9 minigames, though, you’ll get a chance to go back and play through them again to score higher and earn medals.

Shooting Gallery is the first game you’ll play and, to me, one of the more entertaining ones. This is the one that made people believe there was a sort of Duck Hunt remake in the game. During the five stages, you’ll have to shoot up balloons, targets, clay pigeons, cans and UFOs trying to abduct six copies of your Mii running around. Throughout all of these, ducks will fly by. You’re given bonuses for long strings of accurate shots but not penalized for misses.

Find Mii and Pose Mii both involve doing things with your Mii and other Miis on your system. In Find Mii, you’ll be asked to do various tasks that involve finding certain Miis in an increasingly large crowd. If you have a ton of Miis on your system, you’ll actually see them appear. In Pose Mii, you’ll have to switch through three different poses and rotate your Mii by rotating the controller to match the pose in falling bubbles. Your goal is to pop these bubbles before they reach the bottom of the screen.

Table Tennis and fishing are probably the simplest and least entertaining games in the package. In table tennis, instead of playing it like the (hard to say this) more full-featured tennis game included with Wii Sports, you just move a paddle to the left or right to rally the ball. You can’t win or anything – it’s just a back and forth that goes on until you miss. It gets boring, and fast – play it once to get through to the rest of the games, avoid it after that. The same goes for fishing – you literally just put the line in the water and pull it out when a fish bites. The game tries to spice this up by giving you more points for some fish and having “bonus point” fish, but there’s no real control at all over what you catch.

Laser Hockey is pretty much Disco Pong with a twist. Each player has a paddle and you’re trying to keep the puck out of your goal. Instead of just moving up and down, however, you can twist your Wiimote to turn your bar and put spin on the puck or to hit it in a different direction. This one is definitely more fun with two people playing as the computer is, to say the least, incompetent.

Billiards is a basic game of 9-ball pool. Hit the balls into the hole in the proper order to win – the game keeps track of how many tries it takes. The nice part about this game is the control scheme. You’ll pick a spot on the ball, hit a button, and draw the Wiimote back then push it forward like a real pool stick. The ball even reacts somewhat realistically to the various types of spin you put on it. This game, to me, gets the award for “most potential shown in control scheme” for this package.

Charge! is entertaining for the first few playthroughs, but gets boring fast. Your Mii will end up on top of a cow and you’ll have to steer it through a fairly simple track while jumping over hurdles and knocking down scarecrows. You’ll hold the Wiimote like a handlebar – to accelerate, rotate it forward and to decelerate, rotate it backwards. To turn, turn to the left or right. To jump, lift the Wiimote upwards. While this is definitely fun the first few times, it gets boring fast since there’s only ever one track.

Tanks! is the last game you’ll play and also one of the most entertaining in the package. You’ll take a top down view of a couple of tanks and have one simplistic goal – annihilate the enemy. You can move around with the D-pad or the nunchuk. You can fire your gun or place a mine for enemies to blow themselves up on. Overall, the game is very simple but still entertaining because of the fun to be had when you blow up a buddy.

The graphics in Wii Play vary from simple (table tennis) to very stylized (Fishing and Laser Hockey) and the sounds, while crisp and clear, are also very simplistic. Nintendo really presented the game for what it is – a simplistic way to learn the Wiimote and give fans of the simple games something else to play.

Overall, Wii Play is another game not aimed at the typical gamer audieice. This is aimed squarely at the crowd that got a chance to try a Wii because they saw their gamer buddy playing one. The games are simple and range widely in quality but there are enough keepers here to make this a worthy purchase if you don’t already own four Wiimotes. However, if you do, the game’s effective price goes up since you don’t really need the included Wiimote. I can’t help but think that Nintendo would have done well to just include this on the disc with Wii Sports on the system’s release – they really don’t need to use it as a gimmick to sell a Wiimote as people likely won’t buy the $50 package just for the game. However, as a $10 packin, Wii Play does provide a good value, if only for Laser Hockey, Billiards, the Shooting Gallery and Tanks.

Overall: 78%



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