Short but sweet, serves as a fun training platform.
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Reviewing a game like "Wii Play" cannot be accomplished in the manner that one would review any other game. For one, the game basically costs $10 (the package with the Wii Remote costs $50, and the Wii Remote by itself will run you $40), so therefore the gameplay must be observed while keeping in mind that this is a bargain title. Secondly, there is no main game to play through. Rather, much like Wii Sports, there are a number of completely separate titles that are small in depth. So, to be fair in my judgment of the game, I will look at each mini-game in detail and then finish with a final overview of the whole product.
The Shooting Range is self-explanatory, the main idea is to point the Wii Remote at the screen like a gun and shoot the targets that appear. The game is simple enough, with targets ranging from balloons, to beer cans, to the ducks and clay skeets from the original Duck Hunt. The Wii Remote control is very precise and I can imagine that practicing here will help you get nice and warmed up for Metroid Prime 3. There's even a two-player mode that can get competitive, considering that you can shoot special targets showing your opponent's Mii to take points away from them. However, given that the game runs a similar target sequence each time, you won't be having as much fun with this one as you did the first time, and thus its depth takes a plunge.
Next up in line is Find Mii, a sort of "Where's Waldo?" where you find Miis with your remote pointing at the screen. Wii remote control is as precise as the Shooting Range. The challenges involve picking certain Miis that the computer instructs you to find in each round. If you find the correct Miis you get time added for the next round, if you don't then time is taken away as a penalty. The rounds get progressively harder, and I can safely say that you will find later rounds to be extremely challenging, possibly even frustrating. There is a two-player competitive mode, but there are no time bonuses for picking the correct Miis. Masochistic old-school gamers might get a kick out of this, but Nintendo's targeted demographic of the "casual gamer" won't be spending too much time here.
Continuing the trend of mini-game / remote-instruction is Table Tennis. I found this to be one of the more engaging games of the package. Pointing the remote, you move an on-screen paddle back and forth across the table. The remote precision, like the previous games, is spot-on, and any mistakes made here are purely the user's fault (here's a tip: hold the remote like a pencil when pointing at the screen, it's a great help for the precision movement of this game). Two-player mode can be extremely fun and it makes you wonder why this title wasn't involved in "Wii Sports" instead. Strangely enough, there is no swing movement involved with the remote here, it is done for you automatically. Therefore, don't expect the same tactile feel you get from "Wii Sports" tennis.
Following Table Tennis is a game called Pose Mii. This is one of the least fun games of the package. The goal here is to pose your Mii into one of three poses, switched with A and B, in order to fill and pop bubbles that have the poses drawn inside of them. You must also twist the remote to fit the Miis inside of bubbles where the pose is angled. The tactile control of the first three games isn't as evident here, as you will find yourself sometimes struggling to get the Mii to reset to an upright position after twisting your wrist. Two player mode is just as dull as the single player excursion, with very little difference.
After Pose Mii is Laser Hockey, essentially a Wii remote-controlled "Pong" with a fluorescent, laser-based graphical sheen. You point the Wii remote at the screen to control your side's paddle, and you can twist the remote left and right to angle your shots. Moving the paddle toward the ball as it comes to you will cause you to shoot faster. The controls are fairly tight, but you may find yourself attempting to shoot a harder shot and accidentally whizzing your remote off screen, causing your paddle to get stuck for a split-second and leaving your side open to the opponent. This is a really fun two-player game and, much like Table Tennis, is right at home as a tournament game for a party.
Next up is the take-it-or-leave-it Billiards. This is a game of 9-ball pool where you use the Wii remote as your cue to pull off shots. To aim your shot, you can turn by either holding B over the trajectory of the ball and moving the remote left and right, or using the directional buttons. Holding A gives you an overview of the table. To shoot, you position the remote marker over the cue ball and hold B, which will bring up the cue. You then pull the remote back, and push it forward while releasing B to strike the ball. Depending on where you position your cue on the cue ball, you can add top-spin or back-spin to your shots. The control is where the take-it-or-leave-it nature comes into play. The mechanic is great in theory, but you will find that the execution does not always go as smoothly as one would hope. Some people will really dig the way the remote mimics the movement of a real pool cue, while others will be turned off by the sometimes wonky on-screen movement.
The next game is Fishing, which is probably the worst of the bunch even though it seems like a good idea on paper. You can move the remote forward, back, up, down, left and right to move your on-screen fishing rod. Simply dip the hook in the tiny pond of fish, and yank it out once a fish takes a bite. However, the movements are awkward to execute, and you will find yourself often moving your remote outside of the range of the sensor bar. In two-player mode, it's double the fishing poles, double the frustration. You probably won't play this one again after the first time.
The second to last game is Charge!, a silly cow-riding game in which the remote is turned sideways a-la Excite Truck. Rolling the remote forward will increase speed, while rolling it backward will slow you down. Turning the remote left and right (you guessed it) will turn your cow left and right. Jerking the controller upward will cause the cow to jump in the air. The controls for this one are very imprecise, as sometimes you will be turning and then all of a sudden the on screen character will stop turning with you. Even so, it doesn't really detract from the experience too much, as the game is still fun and bound to get a few laughs from onlookers due to its comical presentation. The quality of this game is much like the Shooting Range; fun for a little while, but it won't keep bringing you back.
The final game of "Wii Play" is Tanks! (with an obligatory exclamation point). This is the only game controlled with the remote and nunchuck (it isn't necessary, though most certainly preferred), and is the most fun outing on the disc. You move your little tank on-screen with the nunchuck joystick and aim your shots on-screen with the remote. Pressing B will fire missiles that can be bounced off a wall, and pressing A will lay mines that explode when shot or when an enemy come within their proximity. The mines even add a strategical element as they can destroy certain walls in the field. The remote moves a cursor on screen, and when you fire missiles, they go on a direct path to the cursor and will then keep moving until they hit a target or bounce off a wall. Think of Wii's own Alien Syndrome and you have a good idea of the move-anywhere, shoot-anywhere style of the game. It's tough to say whether using the remote is more precise than a dual-analog set-up for this style of play. In the end, I think that argument will simply come down to player preference. Either way, the remote control is very precise and feels right at home in this little game.
"Wii Play" is in no way an epic or deep game. Even compared to a title like "Wii Sports", it has the depth of a baby pool. Still, for $10 plus the price of a Wii remote, I think that the game is worth picking up. The game has a very slick, cartoony presentation to it. The visuals aren't going to blow any minds, but they are warm and welcoming to the casual crowd that "Wii Play" is so obviously targeted at. The use of Miis in the game, as well as the messages sent to your Wii's message board when you earn medals, give this game a very personalized and friendly feel. The music is enjoyable and fits into this title extremely well, as do the sound effects (I almost fell off the couch in laughter at the screaming Miis running from the UFOs in the Shooting Range). If you need another Wii remote, and you have an extra $10 at your disposal, then go pick up "Wii Play." At the very least, you'll be making a more enjoyable first-time Wii experience for your friends and family.
Meelee Master: I for one believed this was going to be quite an amazing game, but everybody has dreams slightly shattered.... read more
Quartz: More Miis is definitely good. The game itself is pretty fun. It has nine modes of play: Shooting, Find Mii,... read more
Ja-Mez: Wii Play is a game that not many people would go at every day. I'd say it a sort of filler game. It's the... read more
aaron: So you want to play multiplayer on your Wii but aren't sure if the extra 5 or 10 bucks is worth spending to... read more
Jax: I initially purchased this game because it came with a second Wiimote (which I needed), but have come to... read more
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