When I fired up Racquet Sports I was immediately intrigued by the use of the MotionPlus controller-free gaming. Additionally, as I got into the set-up and began playing, I realized that the game had a slew of features five different sports, a load of unlockable items, six different play modes and a bunch of characters to select from that are eerily similar to Miis.
However, the more and more you play, the more and more you realize that the game play falls miserably short, despite the coolness of MotionPlus.
The sports included in Racquet Sports are Tennis, Squash, Badminton, Ping Pong and Beach Tennis. For the most part, the gameplay is pretty much the same with each sport. There are some variations, such as with Squash, which is played in an indoor room, Ping Ping is played on a small-ish table and Badminton uses the classic "birdie" instead of a ball. So while the motions are the same for each game, there are slight nuances (including swing strength) that entice the user to play each style of game.
All of the games use the Wii remote and the motions are just like playing tennis in Wii Sports. However, Racquet Sports doesn't have as much precision in terms of player control. With the MotionPlus, one would assume a little more finesse. However, that's not the case. The camera really just allows the user to add a little more top spin or back spin to a shot. Other than that, in my experience, the MotionPlus doesn't add anything special to the game.
Using the MotionPlus camera is simple to set up, I will admit. All the user needs to do is stand in front of the camera and line up with an on-screen body outline and that's it. Then the you use your hands instead of the Wii remote.
While the set-up is easy, however, to really use the MotionPlus, you have to make small, controlled motions as larger movements don't seem to get picked up by the camera — which prompted me to use the Wii remote instead, mostly out of frustration.
In terms of game modes, there are standard Quick Match and Tournament modes as well as Around the World and Party Mode. Around the World can be played with one or two players, and basically is a series of challenges and tournaments for every sport. The challenges are single matches and allow your to unlock different characters. With tournaments, you play and unlock new courts. Party Mode is a series of fast-paced games with three other players.
In terms of graphics, the visuals are up to par with the characters being spitting images of Miis. However, the players are very diverse ethnically and have specific names. During game play, you can unlock clothing, accessories and new equipment.
To sum things up, Racquet Sports, on paper, is a great idea, but honestly, it's a weaker version of Wii Sports. The idea is executed poorly, trying to outdo Wii Sports, but with an emphasis on cuteness versus game play. Adding salt to the wound is your initial excitement over the MotionPlus camera, which delivers zero game play value. For those who are nutty over racquet-type sports, they will love it. Otherwise, you might want to keep this game on the shelf.
Racquet Sports is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.