Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wii Play Motion Review



As a Wii owner from the days of its first release, I'm very familiar with the handful of titles that Nintendo has produced over the years to introduce gamers to what the Wii's motion-based controllers can do. First, Wii Play and Wii Sports were released to show the unique game play opportunities presented by the Wiimote. Then, Wii Fit was released to demonstrate the capabilities of the Wii Balance Board. When Nintendo modified the Wiimote with the Wii MotionPlus accessory, it was bundled with the Wii Sports Resort game so that gamers could see how the new accessory enhanced Wii game play through greater accuracy. Each of these titles are great to play, but they were obviously designed and marketed as software to demonstrate Wii's hardware capabilities.

Wii Play Motion is a sequel to Wii Play, one of Wii's aforementioned demo titles. From what I've heard, Wii Play Motion is intended to demonstrate the Wii Remote Plus, which is bundled with the game. The Wii Remote Plus is the same as the Wiimote except that it has the WiiMotion Plus accessory built into it. I can see why Nintendo wants to promote the usage of the Wii Remote Plus, since that is one of the peripherals that will be part of Nintendo's upcoming Wii U system. Yet in terms of functionality, the Wii Remote Plus does everything that a Wiimote and Wii MotionPlus combo can do, so releasing a new game to promote the Wii Remote Plus seems anti-climactic--particularly since the Wii Remote Plus was released in November 2010 and Wii Play Motion didn't arrive on the shelves until June 2011.

With such an unusual background, how does Wii Play Motion fare as an actual game? It's better than what I expected, although it does have a few disappointments. Read on for my complete review.

Wii Play doesn't rank as one of my favorite Wii games, but it accomplished something that I thought was impossible: It got one of my parents interested in playing video games, an astonishing feat that was later repeated by Wii Sports Resort and Wii Party. Thus, I had to pick up Wii Play Motion to see if it could build upon the simple-yet-addictive game play of its predecessor.


I found most of Wii Play Motion's collection of minigames to be simple, engaging and addictive. Veggie Guardin' is a fun whack-a-mole game, and it proves that virtually smacking something over the head repeatedly with a Wiimote can be extremely gratifying. Skip Skimmer is a variation of the Frisbee game from Wii Sports Resort. While it isn't as difficult as its Sports Resort counterpart, Skip Skimmer adds special stones that have their own water skipping capabilities, as well as courses of ramps and rings to present additional point scoring opportunities. Wind Runner shares some similarities to other racing games such as Mario Kart Wii and Tron Evolution: Battle Grids. However, instead of racing in a motorized vehicle, Wind Runner has you speeding down a track with nothing but a pair of inline skates, an umbrella and strong winds as your means of motion; this goofy premise keeps the game both amusing and challenging.

The best games in this collection are the ones that take full advantage of the MotionPlus-enhanced Wiimote. In both Treasure Twirl and Flutter Fly, you twirl, tilt and shake the controller to guide your character around obstacles to collect points. These games challenge you to figure out how to best manipulate the Wiimote, thus making them worthy additions to the Wii's line of unique motion-controlled games. In Spooky Search, Wii motion-control extends the game action beyond the screen: you have to aim your Wiimote around your TV to find ghosts, and the noises emitted by the Wiimote's speaker indicate how close you are to capturing them. This style of play turns your living room into gaming space, thus demonstrating how the Wiimote literally adds a new dimension to video game entertainment.


Where Wii Play Motion stumbles the hardest is in Cone Zone and Star Shuttle. Cone Zone just isn't that interesting: you tilt the Wiimote to maintain balance as ice cream is added to your ice cream cone--that's it. There's already a minigame like this in Wii Party called Shifty Gifts, so there's no reason for a game like Cone Zone to be included in what is supposed to be a showcase for MotionPlus-enhanced Wiimotes. The game play mechanic of Star Shuttle is similar to the airplane minigames in Wii Sports Resort, except that it is set in zero gravity near an under-construction space station that orbits Earth. For as fascinating as this setting sounds for a motion-controlled game, Star Shuttle quickly becomes repetitive and frustrating.

Overall, Wii Play Motion is a fun collection of minigames to add to your collection, especially if you have more than one MotionPlus-enhanced Wiimote so you can compete against another player. While it's enough fun playing most of the games alone, Wii Play Motion really earns its worth when it's utilized as a party game. Furthermore, if you already have enough MotionPlus-enhanced Wiimotes and don't need another one, you also can get the unbundled version of Wii Play Motion for cheaper than the bundled version.




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