Wii: Wii Sports
Published by Nintendo
Developed by Nintendo
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Reviewed by: Andy Staats | Contributing Writer Gamer’s Perspective
“It’s more of a tech demo than a game…But that doesn’t mean you’ll have your fill after a few minutes of playing.”
For the first time in a looooong time a launch system comes packed with a game. Not just any game, but a collection of several games…Well, sort of. Wii Sports is a low budget, low tech way of showing off some of the unique things that the Wiimote can do. The presentation overall is solid, but I don’t think anyone would have bought this if it didn’t come with the system.
The game itself is broken up into several mini-games of sorts. You can choose from tennis, golf, bowling, baseball, and boxing. Out of those games, the only that uses the nunchuck attachment is boxing…But more on that in a bit. The way that I saw this game pan out was that the guys and gals at Nintendo made this as a way to show off some possibilities of what the Wii can do, then based on the positive reaction and how much fun they ended up having decided to polish it up and make it a full fledged game. Mind you, that isn’t a bad move, but it’s not the same as packing in a Mario game.
The graphics are sharp, but the simplistic character models will fool you to think otherwise. There aren’t arms, only blobs of hands, and only several characters have legs. This isn’t a bad thing, just kind of freaky looking. After initial impressions, it ends up making the characters look cute. If you spent anytime making a Mii avatar, you’ll find that it’s the same model, and your Mii is who you play as unless you choose otherwise. Okay, now on to the games themselves.
Tennis is either really hard or I’m just really bad at it. I’m lucky if I can hit the ball and have it land in bounds. Serving is fine, no problems there…It’s the returns that kill me. My girlfriend had much better luck at this, so I’m not going to say the game doesn’t work right…Even though I can’t get it to work right. The controls act like you would expect them to. They are responsive and change depending on speed and angle and such. While they do change depending on your actions, they aren’t totally independent based on your movements. There are only a few ways you can hit the ball. You can also add spins by pressing buttons, but I honestly can’t say I have figured that out entirely. Overall, it’s a fun little game even if I’m terrible at it.
Bowling is my favorite on the disc, hands down. It’s easy to play, but challenging, and it’s fun. Lots of fun. There isn’t much to say in the way of controls. You hold down the trigger on the Wiimote (button B) and go through the typical bowling motions. You can add spin the same way you would in real life. Once you get a feel for how you toss the ball, you should have no problem getting strikes. Since I hate bowling in real life I can honestly say that this is more fun than reality.
Baseball is really fun, but kind of disappointing at the same time. You can only pitch or hit, the fielding, base running, etc is all done for you. This makes for a quick game, but it also takes some of the fun out of a baseball game. That said, it’s probably my second favorite to bowling. Hitting the ball is way fun and quite responsive. You have to hold the Wiimote like a bat and actually swing it. Based on your speed and timing you will hit it far or not so far, or just foul. Pitching is a mixed bag. You can change up your tosses with button combinations, but you don’t have to act like you’re throwing to get the best result. I found that holding the Wiimote at waist height and flicking it towards the TV resulted in a quicker toss. I also can’t tell if you have control over the pitch aside from the style of toss. I’m hoping they kept it simple because a Mario Baseball game is in the works…
The golf portion of the game is pretty weak, in my opinion. It was fun to swing the Wiimote like a club but I honestly couldn’t get a good feel for how much power to use or where to aim or anything. I just hit it and hoped it would go in. I’m sure there’s a lot more to it than that, but I didn’t have the patience to stick it out and master it like I did the others. Probably the weakest of the five, but you may enjoy it if you enjoy golf.
Boxing is fun. It’s simple, addicting and fun. You take the nunchuck in one hand, Wiimote in the other and you swing them to punch and hold them up to block. Not only are the controls responsive to your motions, but also varied on how you hold them or where you swing them. You only have one opponent to face, which is disappointing, but again, more of a tech demo than a game. If this is any resemblance of a Punch Out game for the Wii, color me excited. There are two additional modes, training and fitness age. Training is pretty self-explanatory, but fitness age is unique. If you have played Brain Age for the DS, you’ll know what to expect. Several games are given to you and you perform them to the best of your abilities and you’re given an age, where 20 is the best. It’s not the most advanced system in the world, in fact, Brain Age is more complex, but it’s fun.
Overall, as a pack-in game, Wii Sports delivers. Since you can play some of the games with more than one person to a Wiimote, it makes a good party game, too. If nothing else, gives naysayers something to chew on when they are wary of the controls of Nintendo’s new system. Personally, I have awakened muscles that have been dormant, and I’m still aching two days after a three hour marathon session. If that’s any indication of the systems capabilities, expect a total shift in gaming.