Features// Day Two in the Wii House: Wii Play

Shooting, Billiards and Tank Racing

Posted 9 Nov 2006 14:21 by
So, now that you have convinced yourself that spending the equivalent of your monthly rent or mortgage payment* on a Wii dream package is perfectly justified/necessary, let?s have a look at the nine mini games you get in the Wii Play package.

The first thing that strikes you about the games is the simple, cartoony graphics. They are, fortunately, the most disappointing aspect of the game and perhaps the least impressive Wii graphics SPOnG has seen so far. However, we say to our doubting photographer friend, ?it IS almost free, so let?s see if the games work eh??

Satisfyingly, they do. Well, at least some of them do.

Shooting Range, the first game we try, certainly does. It?s a basic ducks, balloons, clay pigeons, Wii-Mii-stealing aliens-shooting kind of a thing. You aim the Wii-Mote at the target on screen, and, erm, kill it. The game is hugely satisfying in two-player mode, as you both compete to shoot the maximum number of targets first. The fact that you have infinite ammo is also a bonus, although you soon find that blasting away willy-nilly doesn?t necessarily bag you a good score!

What is also satisfying is to see that our cynical, non-gaming photographer is almost immediately immersed in the game and wanting to beat my score on each increasingly difficult (and increasingly funnier) level. The fact that he does beat it simply annoys me. For this game, if none of the others, Wii Play is already a winner.

What would really top off the game would be a gun-shaped Wii-mote holder to give the controller that proper Duck Hunt feel. SPOnG happens to have seen prototypes of such a thing (pictured here) and we?ve been speaking to Nintendo in the past week, who will be announcing a 2007 release date for this cracking peripheral very soon.

Moving on, the next game we try is Table Tennis. This does more than look very similar to Konami?s early 1980?s arcade Ping Pong it plays like it too, only worse. There?s no getting around it, it?s a dog. Especially for fans of the ultimate ping pong game, Rockstar?s Table Tennis on 360. I played it for all of five minutes before the clumsy controls just annoyed me too much. One for the non-gamers.

Next up, for fans of card-matching memory type games is Find Mii. The simple premise of this game is that you have to match up two identical Miis in a crowd using the Wii-Mote as a pointer. The game gets increasingly harder and as you move through the levels. One level involves having to identify the fastest-swimming Mii, which is a real synapse-snapper as your brain races to process the information on screen faster than your opponent?s. Pleasingly frustrating and certainly bound to be one of the younger kids? favourites.

Pose Mii is the next Mii-based puzzler, and is equally as hard and perhaps even slightly more addictive than Find Mii. You have to change the pose of your floating Mii character on-screen in order to match the same spaces which are available within a number of floating bubbles. You then need to move and twist the Wii-Mote accordingly to drop your character into the bubble. It?s both huge fun and incredibly childish, very similar to a ?baby?s first match the shapes? game.

After that, we experience the second duffer in the pack, a game called Laser Hockey. This is a bit like a laser version of the arcade favourite, air hockey ? the one where you try to hurt your opponent?s hands by hitting a hovering, plastic puck as hard as possible over a cushion of air. Where that game is and was pure fun, the Wii Play equivalent is pure pain. The controls are way too sensitive and we can?t even see the non-gamers spending more than a few minutes with this one.

Thankfully, after that setback, we play what is technically by far the best game in the pack, Billiards. This uses the Wii-Mote to simulate the movement of a pool cue, and it does it remarkably well. You take a top-down view of the table, then (in first person view, looking behind the cueball, as in actual billiards) you line up your shot on the white ball. After selecting the direction of the shot and the type of spin on the cue ball you simply pull back the Wii-Mote and hit the ball. Everybody your SPOnGespondent saw who played this game made a little squeaking noise of joy the first time they did this! For fans of snooker, pool or billiards this is perhaps the only justification they need for buying a Wii.

The last few games are all decent diversions, although none come close to Billiards or Shooting Range for me. There?s a top-down tank racing game, which was a multiplayer highlight, a fishing game which was fun but limited (?one for the kids?) and a game called Charge, a tilt-controlled racer in which your Wii-Mii sits atop a cow. All good, clean multiplayer fun.

To sum up, Wii Play contains a couple of cracking little multiplayer games which anyone can pick up and play within seconds. While it lacks the longevity of Wii Sports or WarioWare Smooth Moves, for forty quid (including a Wii-Mote) it?s a no-brainer.

*Central London excluded!
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RiseFromYourGrave 10 Nov 2006 17:01
sounds like if you want a wiimote, you might as well pick up wii play and get some half decent software for a tenner

good stuff
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