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Wii Play
Review By: Andrew Joy
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Compilation
ESRB: Everyone
# Of Players: 1-2
Online Play: No
Accessories: Bundled with Wii Remote
Buy Now: Buy Wii Play at Amazon.com!

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With the exception of perhaps a few games at the extreme ends of each spectrum, most every game has both flaws and merits, which should be apparent in every review we write here at Video Game Generation. Sometimes, in order for a game to live up to its original intentions, it has to be played in the right kind of setting, a perfect example of which is Nintendo’s Wii Sports. Although some of my fellow reviewers (both here at VGGEN and throughout the industry) were woefully disappointed at the quality of the title as a pack in for the Wii, I actually enjoyed it (and, to be honest, continue to enjoy it). Of course, the game was “tested,” if you will, in somewhat different environments. Instead of a bunch of middle-aged men sitting alone or in like-minded company, all comparing it games of a grander scale and that sort of thing, I played the game at home, with my family...and I think that made all the difference.

For me, it was the first time I had ever played the system, as it was for the two casual gamers and two non-gamers who joined me, and together we had a blast figuring it out and just watching each other play. Rather than learning complicated button combinations or even maneuvering an analog stick, in order to play Wii Sports you need only pantomime simple actions with the remote to play. Not only is it a new way for experienced gamers such as myself to play, it is simple, easy to remember and it offers an opening for non-gamers to step in and play...which is, of course, the whole point of the system. Unfortunately, this isn’t a review about Wii Sports (but, if you’re interested, we have one you can read right here), but the concept is the same for Nintendo’s other mini-game collection, Wii Play.

Wii Play

Though the more seasoned gamers likely picked up a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess to go with it, as a pack-in game, the gesture-based controls of Wii Sports provided everyone else with an easy way to jump right in and start enjoying their brand new system. However, Wii Sports was a simple game and it didn’t require much explanation. Wii Play, on the other hand, is a game all about explanation – rather than a video game, this title is more a tutorial for using the system’s controller. As a genre, mini-game compilations can really be divided into just two categories: those that tell a story and those that don’t. Far from being Rayman Raving Rabbids, Wii Play falls squarely in that second category; there is no attempt to weave an intricate story, just “this is what you have to do, now do it”. Of course, that isn’t to say Wii Play is without a sense of structure, as it tries to ease you into the experience, and you must play each mini-game as it is unlocked in order to open up all nine. The first game on that list is Shooting Range, then Find Mii, Table Tennis, Pose Mii, Laser Hockey, Billiards, Fishing, Charge and, last but not least, Tanks.

In Shooting Range, you aim with your Wii-mote (using the sensor bar, not the TV – this isn’t an old fashioned light gun game after all) and press A or B to shoot balloons, targets, clay pigeons, aluminum cans (which you have to try to keep up in the air) and, finally, UFOs, with the occasional duck or two flying by for a classic homage and extra points.

In Find Mii, you once again aim using the Wii-mote, but this time you are trying to tag the described Mii (by pressing A), whether it is finding the matching ones, the odd ones (they are acting different from all the others), the sleeping ones, the faster ones and even your own as they swim, float, walk, ride an escalator, or just stand around...sometimes in the dark.

Table Tennis is pretty much the same game you remember, as you try to rally the little ball back and forth, only this time subtle side to side motions are tracked using the sensor bar while moving your paddle up and down on the table (I believe) is handled with the Wii-mote’s motion sensors.

You’ll once again make use of the Wii-mote’s pointer function in Pose Mii, this time moving your little Mii around to the onscreen bubbles, though you have to twist the controller to either side to match the angle and press A and B to get the correct pose before you can pop it.

Wii Play

Pointing your Wii-mote around, you can move your paddle in Laser Hockey, and twisting the controller allows you to angle your shot; as expected, the goal is merely to score on your opponent, as well as block any shots he makes on you.

Probably a game you know and love, you’ll aim your stick with the pointer function in a simple nine-ball game of Billiards, where you squeeze B, pull it back and then pop it forward to send the cue ball flying; the game even includes topspin and backspin, too.

You’ll use the Wii-mote like a rod in Fishing, aiming with it to move your line around the tiny lake, tipping it forward to dip it in the water and yanking it back to catch the fish; each fish is worth a certain number of points, and catching the fish shown at the top of the screen earns you a bonus while catching one of the annoying small fish that shoot around will make you lose points.

In Charge, you hold the Wii-mote on it’s side like a racing game, tilting it to the left and right to steer your runaway cow around and hit scarecrows, tipping it forward to speed up, pulling back to slow it down and flicking it up to give jump hurdles.

Tanks is the last game in this little collection and it is also the first and only game that gives you the option of using the Nunchuk to steer your tank around with the analog stick. Otherwise you’ll use the D-pad to drive, the pointer to aim, B to fire your cannon and A to drop a mine as you try and destroy all the other enemy tanks on screen.

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Posted: 2007-07-05 13:31:21 PST