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    noopnomad's Wii Play (Wii)

    [January 21, 2008 02:00:46 AM]
    Wii Pay is a simple collection of mini-games that introduce players to the Wii remote’s unique infer red (IR) and motion controls. Players go through a variety of differently themed mini games that will have players doing everything from shooting targets, to playing table tennis and even to racing cows, at some point in the game.

    Wii Play starts with only one mini game: “Shooting Range”. In this mini-game, players find themselves shooting a variety of objects, both animate and inanimate, in an attempt to achieve the highest score. By pointing at the screen and pressing A to shoot, this control scheme both simple and intuitive. In an age where shooters seem to emphasize complexity, it is certainly a pleasant surprise to see a step in a different direction. In fact, this single mini-game set the tone for the entire game – that is, that this game would be a simple and intuitive one.

    At the end of “Shooting Range”, I was told that I unlocked the next mini game, “Find Mii”. This time, my objective was to find a specified character in a crowded area by pointing at that character on the screen and selecting him or her with A. In fact, four other mini-games are based on this same idea of pointing at the screen, making more than half of the mini-games IR based. At times, it can be frustrating to see so many mini-games controlled in this way – especially for a product that advertises itself as an introduction to the Wii’s controller, a motion based one.

    However, to say that all the IR-based mini-games feel the same is simply untrue. True, the foundation of their controls is the same but their objectives and themes vary greatly. Some of these IR games will have the player bombing walls and shooting other tanks, some games will have players twisting their wrist to match silhouettes. The objective of each game is certainly very similar as “get the highest score” easily summarizes the goal of all the mini-games, but the way in which the player goes about this goal varies from game to game. This helps in keeping each mini-game feeling fresh and unique, even if their controls are not.

    It is also worth nothing that Wii Play lacks an overarching story to connect its mini-games. This is very rare for a video game – even ones that are comprised mostly of mini-games. Rayman Raving Rabbids revolves around the idea of escaping from a prison controlled by “rabbids” and the Mario Party series has a game board in between mini-games to tell that game board’s specific story. Even Wario Ware: Smooth Moves which tries to be as zany and off-the-wall as humanly possible, has an overarching theme: make money. The lack of a story in Wii Play will leave players asking, why should wii play?


    Surprisingly, even without a story, the game does show progression. Players unlock a new mini-game with each successive mini-game played. This will make up the first hour of play. However, for my second play there was nothing left to unlock and after having played every mini-game once, revisiting this game felt like a chore. Players are expected to replay mini-games to achieve the highest score but the problem is that so many of these mini-games are shallow and uninteresting. There is a serious flaw in the reward system in Wii Play. Oh, and about leader boards, they don’t exist for this game. Are you even serious about online games, Nintendo?

    Even after all that I have said, I still recommend this game. The reason for this: its social aspect. The bright colors and unique appeal of the Wii remote is sure to draw in a crowd. The shallow, and sometimes slow-paced mini-games will not totally consume the concentration of the players and allow them to talk among themselves. The lounge-music Wii Play theme song is sure to brighten any living room and the bubbly soundtrack of the entire game is sure to draw a crowd and melt the heart of even the most hardcore gamer.

    I am almost tempted to call this game “Mii Play” because that title would certainly highlight on the better aspects of this game: the use of Miis, that Wii’s digital avatars. I admit that I am no artist but using the Wii’s Mii creation channel, I was able to create a variety of avatars which I would later revisit in Wii Play. It was hard choosing between playing the game with an avatar that looked like me or one that looked like a tooth fairy, a fortune teller, or a new year’s baby. The designers certainly thought of this problem beforehand. Even though I chose to play as a fortune teller, I saw these characters in the audience of a table tennis match. Trying to find out person that fell asleep in the “Find Mii” minigame? Maybe it will be Sean Connery – if you can create one. It is this customization that makes Wii Play so charming and it continues to draw me back to this game.

    There is so much that is innovative about the Wii Remote. Yes, IR controls are one of these innovations but this is not the only one. For a game that is meant to showcase the possibilities of the Wii remote, the fact that Wii Play focuses heavily on IR controls and not motion controls is certainly a let down. Instead of this game, players can play Wario Ware: Smooth Moves and other games which show that motion controls are can be both unique and varied. True, there are three games mini-games in Wii Play that are motioned controlled but it’s certainly nothing novel when compared to other wii games.

    Nonetheless, Wii Play’s mini-games are shallow but fun in small bursts. This game will also help you draw a crowd together on those lonely days and you’ll never get over this game’s charm. Did I mention that it’s only 10 dollars when you factor in the bundled controller?
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    noopnomad's Wii Play (Wii)

    Current Status: Played occasionally

    GameLog started on: Monday 21 January, 2008

    noopnomad's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstar

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