Wii Play Review
Wii Play box art

System: Wii

Review Rating Legend
Dev: Nintendo 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Nintendo 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Feb. 12, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 - 2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: E 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Improving your Wii skills

by Maria Montoro

Wii Play was launched in Europe back in December '06, at the same time the Wii was released there. Why did we have to wait so long here in the US? The fact that Wii Play comes bundled with a Wii-mote explains everything. Nintendo's factories have been really busy producing new Wiis and accessories to satisfy the high and unexpected demand, but the shortage of Wii-motes is the reason why the launch of Wii Play was delayed. Oh well…

 Wii Play screenshot

I'm happy Nintendo decided to pack Wii Sports along with the Wii instead of Wii Play, because Wii Play is not quite as good as Wii Sports. However, it would have made sense to make it part of the bundle and the game is actually not that bad! Wii Play is very simple; the disc contains nine different games, some of them much more fun than others. The basic goal of Wii Play is showing you how to use the Wii-mote in different ways. By practicing, you should be able to master your skills. This is how you have to approach this game when you start playing it. You might not play this game as much as Wii Sports, but if you want to have a good time and improve your hand-eye coordination, this will be more than satisfying. Plus, you get a Wii-mote along with the game so it's a good deal!

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You will have to start off by playing each individual game in order to unlock the other ones. Choose your Mii and get started! The first game you will be able to play is the "Shooting Range." Some will say -"Oh! It's Duck Hunt!" when they first see it, but it's different and I'd say more entertaining. In Duck Hunt, every level was the same except that the ducks moved faster and did some pirouettes in the air. In Wii Play's shooting range, you will be shooting at all sorts of things such as clay discs, targets that are worth different amounts of points, cans that bounce around the screen, and random ducks that flash from one side of the screen to the other once in a while. It's actually hard to shoot at the ducks, and that's why they're worth at least five times as much as the other items. In the last level, the aliens will come in their UFOs and try to abduct your Miis. It's up to you to keep your Miis safe, just gun down the UFOs before your Miis have gone bye-bye!

 Wii Play screenshot

After playing the "Shooting Range" game, "Find Mii" will be available. Similar to the "Where's Waldo?" strategy, you will need to find the right Miis within a group. Sometimes you will have to find a pair, other times you will be looking for the odd one out, and still others you will have to point at your hidden Mii. This game can become quite a challenge, but it's not as rewarding and enjoyable as some others.

"Table Tennis" is fun, but it could be better. This game is pretty straightforward. Just move the Wii-mote from side to side as if you were holding the paddle. Then hit the ball by moving the Wii-mote forwards. The table appears in a vertical perspective and, when you're playing against somebody, the table flips every few turns. I think this is because the player at the bottom of the screen has an advantage. The moves are not as easy to perform when you're playing in the top part.

 Wii Play screenshot

"Pose Mii" will have you pointing at the screen, twisting the controller around, and pressing buttons at the same time. This will make you more agile with the Wii-mote, and you will be thankful when you play more complicated Wii games. You will move your Mii around the screen with the goal of placing it over the bubbles that keep falling, matching the position and direction of the silhouette within. That will pop the bubble. At first there's only one pose, but in later stages the postures and directions will vary much more and the bubbles will drop faster, so you might have a tough time while you're learning! But don't stress.

"Laser Hockey" comes next. This is, without a doubt, my favorite. Just like if you were playing air hockey in real life, you will have to hit the puck with your pad. Of course, you move the pad with the Wii-mote and, if you move your hand swiftly, you will be able to add force and speed. The physics of this game are right on; the puck will bounce with the same agility it does on a real air hockey table. This game is really amusing and will make for some good competition. The catchy music along with the flashy, colorful theme really add to the experience.

The physics of the "Billiards" game are also very accurate. First, you will have the chance to choose the angle of your shot. Then you will point at the cue ball and, while holding the B button (trigger), just move your hand smoothly backwards and then forwards in order to hit the ball. You will have to plan your shots just like in real life pool. The game provides you with an alternate view from the top that is very helpful when planning the shot. If you like playing nine-ball, you will enjoy this one.

 Wii Play screenshot

"Fishing" will be a very fun game to play with my nephews and nieces. I think the graphics are a little out of place since all of the other Wii Play games fashion somewhat more realistic 3D environments. Here, you will see a cute, hand-drawn pond with colored, cut-out shapes of a few different fish species. You can move the Wii-mote (the rod) forwards, backwards, up, and down. It's difficult to recognize how deep the hook went and how close it is to the fish's mouth. By practicing a little bit you will get the hang of it and become much better at this game, but it's certainly not as interesting as the other ones. Competing against somebody is more fun since you will be fishing in the same pond, fighting for the bonus fish, etc.

Later, but not last, you will unlock "Charge." It's the only game where you hold the Wii-mote as a steering wheel, just like you might have done before in Excite Truck or other Wii racing games. Your Mii will be riding a cow along a sneaky path, ramming over all of the scarecrows along the way and jumping the fences that you come across. You will jump just by quickly moving up the Wii-mote; the controls are simple enough and they work well. Again, playing against somebody else makes the game more enjoyable. You will be fighting for the same scarecrows and trying to push each other away.

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