Wii Play: Motion Review for Nintendo Wii (Wii)

Wii Play: Motion Review for Nintendo Wii (Wii)

Don’t Just Play With Yourself

The original Wii Play released in early 2007 as a clever marketing strategy for Nintendo. The game was bundled with a Wii Remote, offering a few samplings to would-be skeptics and presenting parlor games to the audience it was aiming to grab hold of. With the initial success of Wii Sports, the Mii-based Wii Play presentation was an easy addition to offer the casual and family based console owners. With the controller-enhanced WiiMotion Plus yet to receive stable third-party support, Nintendo has taken it upon themselves to showcase its potential with their newest bundle, Wii Play: Motion.

Using your custom made Miis, you can tackle an assortment of twelve minigames, all with different—and some unexpected—control styles. While twelve games may seem fairly light for what will inevitably be labeled as glorified tech demos, each has several variations to mix up the formula. Just trying each mode in all twelve minigames will take you well over two hours, with a couple of them sporting thirty-stage challenges. As expected, some have a little more luster than others, with a few particularly noteworthy entries.

Wii Play: Motion Screenshot

Veggie Guardin’ is an addictive variant of the classic Whac-A-Mole arcade machine, and one of the few that could potentially break the hardcore gamer in the family away from Mortal Kombat for a few minutes. There are three modes to choose from. In guard mode, a single player will advance through a series of stages, using the Wii Remote like a mallet to pummel the pests as they pop up. Adding several twists to the classic arcade version, Miis will pop their heads out, which you must restrain yourself from hitting (unless you have a beef with that particular person). Also, the moles jump around between holes, slap on Mii masks to try to fool you, and wear helmets which require an extra whack to send them back to the depths. Building up a power meter rewards you with a super whack, and the game finishes with a nice boss battle. Versus Mode has you compete with a friend to score the most points in a round, and Recall Mode adds even another twist, taking liberties from Simon, as you must hit the rodents in the musical order shown, with a new note added each round. The sad thing is that although arguably the most enjoyable of the bunch, Veggie Guardin’ is also the one with the least responsive motion controls. You’ll often inadvertently strike a Mii, or hit the wrong mole in Recall Mode, leaving you frustrated with your loss.

Teeter Targets is the personal favorite of mine, and offers a great multiplayer rush. Blending elements from the wooden board game Labyrinth and a pinball machine, you must use a flipper (or several, depending on which of the thirty stages you’re tackling) to keep the ball in play, trying to hit the targets before your timer expires. The control style is what really gives this game its catch, as it forgoes button pressing and keeps to pure motion control. Holding the Wii Remote sideways, you tilt the controller to adjust the angle of the flipper, trying to balance the ball, and then giving a stiff flick to send it skywards. It takes a good deal of skill, but this is a minigame that will keep you saying, “Just one more stage.” In Versus Mode, you must rack up more points than your opponent through hitting targets, and avoid passing your ball over to them, as it then becomes theirs to use.

Wii Play: Motion Screenshot

Wind Runner is an odd but exciting take on a racing game, and I can only describe it as a Mary Poppins racing roller derby. You accelerate by catching wind with an umbrella, and must make your way through the course, collecting as many gems as possible. Timed jumps and skillful use of the changing wind direction are the requirements for success in this one, and you may get so caught up in it that you’ll feel like you’re actually being pulled along for the ride.

Spooky Search is the final minigame worth mentioning, and the only one that actually brings the game into your living room (or whatever room you’re playing in). Ghosts will fly beyond the confines of the television screen and soar around the room. Using the controller’s speaker as a radar, you must scan the surroundings until you’ve spotted one, then catch it Ghostbuster style and bring it back to the TV to be captured. Some will put up a fight, so you must counter them as if you were reeling in a fish. While far from eerie, this is a great one to play at night with all the lights turned off.

Wii Play: Motion Screenshot

Most of the other games have some fun factor to them, and I would only consider a couple of them throwaways. With group play clearly in mind, almost all the games are better played with friends and family, and many are enjoyable for spectators as well. Some even allow for four-player matchups, an improvement on the original Wii Play’s two-player limit.

Although only four games are available at the start, the rest are easily unlocked by simply playing the ones available. Each has a difficulty rating from one to four stars and provides a practice round whenever you choose, so even non-gamers can try their hand without intimidation. Many of the game modes are also locked, which are only accessible after receive a medal for exemplary achievement in your attempt. There’s also a local leaderboard for bragging rights, but no online functionality. I’m willing to dismiss this one fault, since the design of game is meant for fun with those near and dear.

Wii Play: Motion Screenshot

The graphics are nothing spectacular, and don’t look a far cry more advanced than the nearly five-year-old original. But it does keep with the Mii-inspired utopia, where perfect weather abounds and the flora and fauna seem genetically tailored for flawlessness. A throng of cheerful Miis add a morale boost as you perform pleasurable tasks like balancing a hundred scoops of giant ice cream that reach toward the heavens. The colors are vibrant, and the animations are simple but accurate, making this game (as all the Mii series forbearers are) inviting for everyone. Well, everyone except the hardcore purists, that is.

There’s a line drawn between Nintendo and the anti-fanboys yet again. With their attempt to rekindle any affection with the shooter/fighter centric crowd, Wii Play: Motion only solidifies the market Nintendo has targeted from the get-go—the broad family appeal. This only heightens the arguments brought forth by the core gamers. But for those who still enjoy the simplicity of gaming and the hope that video games can bring families together, Wii Play: Motion may very well be just the thing.

Although packed with a fresh Wii Remote Plus controller, Wii Play: Motion may not share the same sales success as its predecessor. With the advanced control scheme still only required on a limited list of titles, many Wii owners will be satisfied with the four or more regular controllers they probably already own. But if one should happen to break down, or you are looking for full-on Plus gaming experience, there’s no reason you shouldn’t pick up the bundle. At a mere ten dollars more than purchasing the controller by itself, there’s enough play value in Wii Play: Motion to justify the extra cost, with a great assortment of games and modes to keep you entertained while playing solo or with a group.

Nice colors and animation, but nothing overly advanced by today’s standards. The many locales offer a variety of visual ambience, and there are some great water effects. 4.0 Control
A nice mix of tried-and-true motion schemes, as well as some we’ve never seen before. The response isn’t perfect, however, and Nintendo could still have done more to showcase the capabilities of the WiiMotion Plus. 3.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The expected mix of light and whimsical background music and sound effects is present. There’s nothing too shocking or even realistic, but it fits the bill for a Wii game series. 4.5 Play Value
At only ten extra dollars when bundled with a new controller, there’s enough content and replayability to consistently keep you breaking this one out, especially when friends and family are looking to play. 4.1 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Immerse yourself in 12 fun and exciting games with challenging gameplay variations. Using the Wii Remote Plus controller, up to four players can play a variety of games with unlockable modes.
  • No matter how many people are holding controllers, everyone in the room can participate in the fun of Wii Play: Motion. Games offer rich single-player experiences and even better multiplayer fun. Master the easy-to-pick-up controls and share the fun with others.
  • For those looking to add an extra controller to their collection, Wii Play: Motion includes one Wii Remote Plus controller, making this title a must-have for any Wii console owner.

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