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Wii Play - Review
Written by James Hobbs

Wii Play is a curious title. Whilst Nintendo are marketing it as being in a similar vein to Wii Sports, it is considerably more difficult for the non-gamer to pick up - as such, it could be seen as the next step. However, despite the more complex control methods and game environments on offer, Wii Sports is undoubtedly the superior title. Whilst each game on Wii Sports seems to have been cherished and realised to it's full potential, many of the Wii Play games seem half-baked and haphazard in their nature.

Wii Play gives you a total of 9 games to choose from, which are progressively unlocked as you play. It literally takes minutes to unlock the next game, as you are only required to play once before you can progress. For seasoned gamers, this might be somewhat annoying, but it is fairly clear that the intention is not to provide a challenge - it's merely a progressive way for players to get used to the control system. It's worth mentioning that Wii Play is far better in a group that it is on your lonesome.

The best games are, surprisingly, the most complex. 'Charge' is a bizarre racing game, with your Mii in-game avatar mounted on a cow knocking over scarecrows and leaping over fences. The control system requires you to tilt, thrust, and turn the Wii remote, and it's very effective. Occasionally there are problems when over-compensating for a wrong turn made by your bovine steed, but on the whole it's excellent fun. 'Billiards is a highly intuitive and relaxing experience, instantly comparable to Wii Sports Golf - it's positively relaxing to play, and provides a surprisingly similar experience to the actual sport itself. 'Target,' despite being a Duck Hunt clone, is perfectly acceptable - it's not particularly innovative, but it does provide a satisfying challenge, especially when played in a group.

However, some of the games are absolutely dire, and tarnish the experience somewhat. 'Laser Hockey' requires the player to use the Wii remote to deflect a ball into the opponents goal - a fine concept, let down by the execution of the controls. It is an incredible struggle to control the game competently, and whilst you do eventually get used to the bizarre translation of your hand movements into on-screen movements, essentially it's just incredibly annoying. 'Tanks' offers such a limited area of play that it's hardly worth bothering with, particularly as it's often a case of who fires first wins.

'Fishing,' however, is so dreadful that it deserves an entire paragraph. It's possibly the most pitiful attempt at making a game I've seen in recent years. I can picture the scene - a hungover developer is sitting at his desk, with the Wii Play modus operandi sitting in front of him ( 'SIMPLE.' ), and a goldfish bowl by his side. He proceeds to knock up a crappy game in a matter of minutes. It's terrible, it really is. The controls are sickeningly imprecise, it's visually insulting, and I'd recommend you don't play it. Ever. Shite.

The other games fall somewhere inbetween - 'Table tennis' is quite fun, if slightly limited and repetitive. 'Find Mii' is a surprisingly fun outing that requires you to pick out certain Mii characters in a crowd. For example, you are required to find 3 Miis that look alike, or the 'Fastest Mii,' and so on. A particularly nice touch is that Miis that you have created and have been sent are featured - earlier on today I was asked to find Freddy Mercury in a crowd. Good stuff. 'Pose Mii' requires you to choose different poses and fit yourself into rapidly descending bubbles - it's also very difficult, and does get boring after a while.

Despite the shortcomings of the game, there is one thing to remember - you get a free Wii remote. As a game on it's own, Wii Play would receive an average score - however, due to the price of the Wii remote, you are effectively getting the game for 5. As such, it's incredibly good value. Wii Play is a fairly good introduction to Wii, that falls down on occasion, and never really fills the boots of Wii Sports. It's worth picking up purely for the decent mini-games and the addition of the free remote.

The verdict:

Some dodgy games don't entirely spoil an entertaining package that is excellent value for money. Recommended.


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