Wii Play: Motion
Another mini-game compilation on the Wii? This one does come with a controller, but still...
The Wii is an interesting system that will be remembered in a number of different ways. It was the first motion control based console system to hit the stores, revolutionizing gaming and bringing it into an entirely different realm of existence that most of us weren’t used to. However, at its launch, the system’s motion control capabilities were only par at best. To solve the problem, Nintendo released the add-on known as Wii MotionPlus, just under two years into the Wii’s life. This extra piece of hardware gave the system the ability to translate 1-to-1 motion from the hand to the screen. Giving gamers a new level of control, simulations in golf, sword play, and ping pong had never felt more intuitive and lifelike.
The problem, however, is that adopting the MotionPlus seems to be a difficult problem after not having the technology released at launch. Sure, many people have probably bought the extension and/or the original Wii Play, but to match one with every controller for the system is a difficult task. Also, the MotionPlus accessory can create new problems with its added length, especially when holding the Wii Remote sideways (the original Wii Remote is the perfect length and adding a few extra inches to it makes it a little less ergonomic).
Thus, Nintendo created a third revision to the controller in twice as many years. The Wii Remote Plus controller shows us what the ultimate form of the Wii Remote should be and beckons us to wonder what level of gaming we could have experienced over the years if the controller had been released at the launch of the Wii (sure the technology needed to improve for the costs to be cheap enough but it’s not like the technology itself wasn’t available to be placed in the Wii Remote from the beginning). After packaging it in with a game called Fling Smash, Nintendo looks to cash in again on the consumer by releasing another game in the Wii Play series. But can Wii Play: Motion hold up to the line of enjoyable mini games on the system or is it not worth your $50?
The first game offered is a game called Cone Zone. Here, the object is to catch ice cream scoops and balance them over your head by holding the Wii Remote upright and tilting it to compensate for the new center of mass introduced with each new scoop. A variant of the game can be unlocked that allows you to catch swirls of ice cream. All in all, I found the game to be a quick, enjoyable first mini game that shows off the controller’s capabilities but couldn’t see myself playing it more than once or twice (ever).
The second game on the list was Veggie Guardin’, the typical Whack a Mole experience, where you grab a hammer and literally whack down with your Wii Remote. I found the experience to be both lively and hectic as I rightfully lost to my fiancé (though I had a Wii Remote with Wii MotionPlus attached so my hammer was heavier ;-)
Third on the list is Skip Skimmer, a rock skipping game. I’ve always loved skipping rocks on the lake but I feel like the experience available in Wii Play: Motion loses some of the appeal of skipping the rocks. Also, the controls are a bit confusing, and I couldn’t figure out exactly what I was doing right when I finally figured out how to skip rocks a good distance (the motion part is correct but its simulation of picking up and releasing the rock with the A & B buttons is the confusing portion).
The fourth game called Treasure Twirl was an interesting take on the classic teamwork movement type of game. The goal was to carry a sunken treasure up to your boat by working together with a teammate. To move your character, you tilt the Wii Remote left or right and to swim upward, you actually have to spin the Wii Remote along its axis. I found the game to be fun but a little confusing with the wrist strap (my fiancé soon found out that wearing the wrist strap during this game was a recipe to disaster as we were only able to save one lonely piece of loot on our first try).
The next game was called Pose Mii Plus. This game had players rotating and spinning their Wii Remote to get the exact position necessary to push their Mii through a small hole in the wall. Just like the Japanese game show we all know and love, the game seems to feel a little too forgiving for my tastes (once you get the right position your Mii locks down and doesn’t move).
Next on the list is Trigger Twist. This is a classic shooting gallery type of game where you can fire at all sorts of objects in a number of venues. The game can be played in either solo or cooperative mode (though each individual score is also displayed so that you can know who’s really got the better trigger finger.
The seventh game in the package is probably one of the more interesting games in terms of team work. Jump Park is a land where Miis jump as soon as they touch the ground and your Wii Remote’s direction controls the resulting angle of trajectory. In cooperative mode, the Miis are attached at the hands and the two players take turns controlling the next direction of the jump. The goal of the game is to collect a certain amount of gems around the level and reach the exit in as fast as possible.
Star Shuttle is a game that allows you to control a spaceship using the Wii Remote to control the orientation of the shuttle and the various buttons as thrusters. The game is a nice way to show off the controller’s capabilities but falls a little flat on its difficult to handle control scheme.
Wind Runner is a racing game of sorts where your Mii catches wind currents with his umbrella and races through a course collecting coins along the way. The more coins you have and the faster your time, the higher the score you’ll achieve. The game reminded me a little bit of the more recent 3D Sonic the Hedgehog titles but all in all was a little boring after one race.
Teeter Targets is a cool take on a pinball/breakout hybrid. The game allows you to control a paddle at the bottom of the screen that is controlled via the Wii Remote’s tilt orientation. You must fling balls and destroy the targets at the top of the screen. You can create combos by hitting more than one target in a throw and can even use your opponent’s ball if he just so happens to fling it over at you.
Flutter Flier looked like a cool game when I began the training. The first thing I thought of when it panned over the level was “whoa, the put a Mario Galaxy mini-game in the game!” However, after I played the game, I realized that this is exactly what I don’t want in a Wii game. Rather than make the game enjoyable, it’s frustrating to control because you’re forced to flop the Wii Remote up and down over and over to create air to blow your Mii’s bubble around the course. The problem is that the level took me and my fiancé far too long to finish and we were exhausted after the match was over (and we both agreed that we would never want to play that mini-game again).
The final game in the compilation is called Spooky Search. This game uses some of the coolest features of the Wii Remote Plus by forcing you to search for a ghost by moving the controller in all directions without being able to actually see the ghost. By actually using the controller’s on-board speaker and rumble functionality, the game notifies you when a ghost has been highlighted and you then must pull it onto the screen. There are a variety of ghosts and teammates must work together on a few. However, despite the uniqueness of the game, I still didn’t find it very enjoyable and a little bit frustrating albeit.
Wii Play: Motion
The problem with Wii Play: Motion is not in what the game actually is but in its execution and in its timing. Sure, bundling a controller with a game that shows off the many features of the controller is a great way to get a new peripheral out to the consumer in the form of a bargain deal. However, the original Wii Play was plagued by a collection of games that weren’t enjoyable past the first hour or so of the game and didn’t seem to have the mass fun appeal that we saw in the Wii Sports line of games.
Wii Play: Motion not only has the same problems as Wii Play with only a few truly novel mini games to be had but it also comes at a rather inopportune time in the system’s timeline; this is the type of game that sells when a new peripheral has just come out, not 8 months after its first unveiling. And, with multiple pieces of similar hardware stacking up on the Wii’s plate, it’s difficult for anyone that bought a Wii MotionPlus accessory to want to shell out more money for a new controller that should have been released years before. Finally, even if you don’t have any form of MotionPlus on your Wii, I can’t say that I’d recommend spending $50 on this game, seeing as you’ll probably only get a few hours of quality time before you tire of it. Either wait for a further price drop on the peripheral (from the current $30-$40 you can find it for on Amazon) or hope that Nintendo will bundle one with the one game that everyone is still looking forward to on the Wii: Zelda.