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Nintendo Wii Review: Wii Play Motion

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Nintendo’s latest Wii title, Wii Play Motion, is the exact sort of game that I would have called utterly brilliant and hugely fun four-and-a-half years ago when the Wii was a brand new system.  It expands on the Wii Play and Wii Sports titles already in existence, and while the exact activities you do here are different than in the other games, they have the same look and feel as what came before.

Those mini-games, while people initially marveled at them and garnered hours of amusement from them, have kind of fallen by the wayside with the plethora of other titles that have come out for the Wii.  Nostalgia, as I have previously noted elsewhere, is a powerful thing, but nothing four-and-a-half years old is nostalgia worthy quite yet.  However, upon playing the various mini-games included here I did nothing so much as to think back to how much fun I had with Wii Sports when my console arrived the day after Thanksgiving 2006 and that’s not really what you want from a new game.

Wii Play Motion comes with 12 different main mini-games which all have unlockable components.  The title also requires MotionPlus and comes with a Wii Remote Plus, which has MotionPlus built in (which, as I see it, is probably the best reason for buying the game). 

Do not mistake what I’m saying, some of the games are incredibly amusing, but they’re all only incredibly amusing for a few moments here and there before the slow pace, repetitiveness, and/or shallow depth of play comes screaming to the fore.  For instance, the first game you can play, “Cone Zone,” features you trying to hold massive scoops of ice cream being piled onto the biggest cone you’ve ever seen upright.  But, that’s all there is too it.  Just hold them upright.  You can unlock the ability to play with soft serve instead of just scoops, and it’s cute, but that’s it. 

Wii Play Motion‘s version of whack-a-mole isn’t bad, but it’s really just whack-a-mole and how long can you possibly play that? Skimming stones is amusing, until you realize that it’s oh-so-much better to skim stones in real life than on your Wii.  There’s also a Ghostbusters-esque game which has you grabbing ghosts from off screen and pulling them into a box to trap them.  But, that becomes overly obnoxious when the ghosts fly away due to their bobbing and weaving in unpredictable ways (which is what they’re supposed to do, but too often you’re given too little time to react before they go bobbing ever… when they opt to try to go that is).

Maybe part of the title’s problem is that virtually all of the games are ones you feel like you’ve seen before, whether it’s busting ghosts, whacking moles, or shooting things a la Duck Hunt.  If you are new to the Wii you can certainly have some fun with the mini-games, but if your system came with a Wii Sports/Wii Play title (or you went out and bought one) you’ve probably experienced all you need to experience of this type of mini-game. 

In short, it feels like Nintendo went to the well one too many times to bring us Wii Play Motion.  Additionally, to be advertising MotionPlus and MotionPlus built in devices still strikes us as odd as it seems to be fulfilling the promise that the Wii said it delivered upon initial release but apparently didn’t (having the remote truly sense how it was being manipulated).  Is it great to have MotionPlus built into Wii Remotes?  It is indeed, and they do function better than ones without, but other games (like Tiger Woods) highlight that fact far better than Wii Play Motion and are far more rewarding to boot.

If you have small children who love mini-games, particularly Mii-based ones, they will find this amusing for a time.  Just make sure you have enough MotionPlus Wii Remotes for them all to play at once.

Wii Motion Play is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Cartoon Violence.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.