|Dev: Nintendo EAD|
|Release: June 13, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p||Cartoon Violence|
by Sean Engemann
The original Wii Play released in early 2007 as a clever marketing strategy for Nintendo. The game was bundled with a Wii Remote, offering a few samplings to would-be skeptics and presenting parlor games to the audience it was aiming to grab hold of. With the initial success of Wii Sports, the Mii-based Wii Play presentation was an easy addition to offer the casual and family based console owners. With the controller-enhanced WiiMotion Plus yet to receive stable third-party support, Nintendo has taken it upon themselves to showcase its potential with their newest bundle, Wii Play: Motion.
Using your custom made Miis, you can tackle an assortment of twelve minigames, all with different—and some unexpected—control styles. While twelve games may seem fairly light for what will inevitably be labeled as glorified tech demos, each has several variations to mix up the formula. Just trying each mode in all twelve minigames will take you well over two hours, with a couple of them sporting thirty-stage challenges. As expected, some have a little more luster than others, with a few particularly noteworthy entries.
Veggie Guardin' is an addictive variant of the classic Whac-A-Mole arcade machine, and one of the few that could potentially break the hardcore gamer in the family away from Mortal Kombat for a few minutes. There are three modes to choose from. In guard mode, a single player will advance through a series of stages, using the Wii Remote like a mallet to pummel the pests as they pop up. Adding several twists to the classic arcade version, Miis will pop their heads out, which you must restrain yourself from hitting (unless you have a beef with that particular person). Also, the moles jump around between holes, slap on Mii masks to try to fool you, and wear helmets which require an extra whack to send them back to the depths. Building up a power meter rewards you with a super whack, and the game finishes with a nice boss battle. Versus Mode has you compete with a friend to score the most points in a round, and Recall Mode adds even another twist, taking liberties from Simon, as you must hit the rodents in the musical order shown, with a new note added each round. The sad thing is that although arguably the most enjoyable of the bunch, Veggie Guardin' is also the one with the least responsive motion controls. You'll often inadvertently strike a Mii, or hit the wrong mole in Recall Mode, leaving you frustrated with your loss.
Teeter Targets is the personal favorite of mine, and offers a great multiplayer rush. Blending elements from the wooden board game Labyrinth and a pinball machine, you must use a flipper (or several, depending on which of the thirty stages you're tackling) to keep the ball in play, trying to hit the targets before your timer expires. The control style is what really gives this game its catch, as it forgoes button pressing and keeps to pure motion control. Holding the Wii Remote sideways, you tilt the controller to adjust the angle of the flipper, trying to balance the ball, and then giving a stiff flick to send it skywards. It takes a good deal of skill, but this is a minigame that will keep you saying, "Just one more stage." In Versus Mode, you must rack up more points than your opponent through hitting targets, and avoid passing your ball over to them, as it then becomes theirs to use.
Wind Runner is an odd but exciting take on a racing game, and I can only describe it as a Mary Poppins racing roller derby. You accelerate by catching wind with an umbrella, and must make your way through the course, collecting as many gems as possible. Timed jumps and skillful use of the changing wind direction are the requirements for success in this one, and you may get so caught up in it that you'll feel like you're actually being pulled along for the ride.
Spooky Search is the final minigame worth mentioning, and the only one that actually brings the game into your living room (or whatever room you're playing in). Ghosts will fly beyond the confines of the television screen and soar around the room. Using the controller's speaker as a radar, you must scan the surroundings until you've spotted one, then catch it Ghostbuster style and bring it back to the TV to be captured. Some will put up a fight, so you must counter them as if you were reeling in a fish. While far from eerie, this is a great one to play at night with all the lights turned off.
Most of the other games have some fun factor to them, and I would only consider a couple of them throwaways. With group play clearly in mind, almost all the games are better played with friends and family, and many are enjoyable for spectators as well. Some even allow for four-player matchups, an improvement on the original Wii Play's two-player limit.