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Nintendo Wii Review: Wii Play

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Hey people, it’s the Raucous Rocker here. If you have seen me before, you most likely know I review metal bands, as that’s what I’m good at. But, not always, and today I will be reviewing Wii Play for the Nintendo system. Yeah, I have a Wii but I don’t use it too much, so don’t expect a whole lot of these reviews.

So this game uses your custom Miis and it’s kind of cool to see them in action as many more advanced Wii games do not utilize them. The title has eight mini-games, some of which are fun and some that are just plain stupid. On the menu, these mini-games are positioned in a half-circle around your Mii(s), which stand in the center. If you move the cursor over them and press the A button, they wiggle around.

Our first game, Shooting Range, is surprisingly fun and one of the best games of the eight. It’s very straightforward; just shoot the things on the screen. Targets vary from balloons, to tin cans, to UFOs that are abducting your Miis, etc. Occasionally ducks will fly across the screen, and if you are quick enough to shoot them they give you a large point bonus. It’s really addicting and about the only bad thing I can say is that the levels sometimes become monotonous (especially the tin can level) but otherwise it’s a great game.

Next is Find Mii. This game is not as fun; it is essentially Where’s Waldo for the Wii. Some random Miis are doing things like walking, running, swimming, watching a ball game, or standing on an escalator and you have to fulfill a certain objective like finding two look-alikes or find your owns Miis in the crowd. It’s fun for about three scenes, then it gets boring, especially if you are playing alone. If you like this kind of game, check it out, otherwise you should probably pass it by.

Table Tennis is next, and it is just that, some floating hands without bodies attached playing table tennis. The controls suck — you can’t really control how hard you hit the ball or where it will go, and it’s very easy to miss your target because when you move the Wii remote the paddle just flies all over the place. It’s not too bad once you get the hang of it, but they really screwed up the single player mode where the key is just to hit it back and forth 100 times with the computer and if you miss just once, its game over. You can’t even try to score because the computer will never miss. Quite a mess.

Next is Pose Mii, or as I like to call it, “the stupidest game ever invented by the human race.” All you do is wave your Wii remote around to change your Miis’ positions on the screen and match them up to little bubbles…it’s kind of hard to explain in writing. Your goal is to prevent the bubbles from reaching the bottom of the screen, which is really hard to do because the controls are, again, bad.  The remote is overly-sensitive and it’s hard to turn it quickly and still make your mark and later on, you have to press buttons to change poses in the middle of a round, which just amplifies the problem. The background pictures are really distracting as well — they’re mostly either really colorful or really cutesy, which makes me think this game was probably designed for little girls. Just stay away from this game… unless you fit the appropriate age category.

Then there’s Laser Hockey, which is pretty much just air hockey on the Wii, complete with bad controls. Yeah, the controls suck here too; out of all eight games, this one has the worst control, no competition. It is so hard to move your paddle to where you want it to go; it just fidgets around, making it almost impossible to go anywhere in a hurry. The computer is pathetic; it moves around really slowly and doesn’t use any force when shooting towards your goal, which is actually helpful because it will give you a chance to get used to the controls. There’s no difficulty setting, so unless you want to be stuck playing the same crappy opponent every time you want to play Laser Hockey, you really need to find a friend.

Billiards is the next game on the disc, and this one is really a hit or miss, depending on whether or not you like the actual game of billiards. I hate it because of its slow pacing and the fact that it is almost impossible to hit the ball accurately.  When you’re aiming for a shot, you get a close up of the cue ball so it’s hard to align things correctly, and although you can change views, it’s awkward when you’re trying to concentrate and aim. Beyond that, you have to hit and sink all of the balls in the right order, i.e. 1, 2, 3 etc. all the way up to 9, so you’re constantly having to go out of your way to hit the stupid 2 ball which is clear across the table when a perfect shot for the 6 ball is lined up right there just for you. Why do you have to do that?  Unless you’re playing Rotation, you don’t have to do that in real pool! This could have been a fun little game, but instead it sucks.

We’re up to game number five, Fishing. That’s all it is, just fishing. You don’t control your Miis, instead you’re some freaky disembodied hand, probably the same ones that haunt Table Tennis.  In testing this, I grabbed the fishing rod and this stupid black box that covers up the entire bottom of the screen kept popping up, saying that I need to move closer to the TV, but because I’m sitting down on the sofa I can’t really do that. Why would anyone stand up to play fishing on the Wii? Anyway, the graphics suck compared to the rest of these games; the rest are three dimensional and look good, this one on the other hand looks like it was doodled by a grade schooler; the fish are like cardboard cutouts just floating around, and they occasionally flop over, which is kind of funny. All you do here is put your fishing rod in the water, wait for a fish to bite it and pull it out. Fish generally nibble a few times before they are actually ‘on’ the hook, so you just gotta wait. A message that says ‘pull it in!’ helps to some extent, but you’ve got to have really good reflexes to get some of these fish. The worst thing are the little fish called ‘small fries’ which latch on to your hook after just one nibble and drag your fishing pole all around the lake. If you pull them in, it takes points away, and if you’re just sitting there waiting for something to start pulling there’s no way you’re going to avoid it. The ‘pull it in!’ message doesn’t appear, so you’ve sorta got to keep your eyes on that part of the screen rather than the fishing pole. The small fries also like hiding under bigger fish, making you think that you’ve caught something good only to take points away. So yeah, this game is kind of annoying and there’s not much going on, but surprisingly (and sadly) it’s one of the best games.

Next comes a weird racing game, Charge! Here, you ride a cow that looks like a sock puppet through a little farm and knock down scarecrows and these weird guys bouncing around on pogo sticks. It’s pretty straightforward, but it’s awkward to turn and once you get off track, it’s hard to get back on without wasting a lot of time (yeah, it’s timed). Jumping is also a pain, you’ve got these hurdles scattered around the track that you need to jump over or else you lose speed, and jumping (raising the Wii remote very quickly) only works about two thirds of the time, meaning the rest of the time you just crash right into the hurdle and lose all your speed and waste 10 seconds getting back on track. Kind of a fun game, but it can get very annoying.

Finally, there’s Tanks, an army game where you control miniature tanks that are trying to blow each other up. I always wonder if they’re being controlled by those little green army guys from Toy Story. Anyway, you have missions where you need to destroy all of the other tanks (unless you’re playing multiplayer, where two people work together), and at first it seems pretty easy, but it gets really hard really fast. The first problem, as usual, are the controls. You have to use this little D-Pad on top of the Wii remote to move your tank around, and it’s so small and awkward it’s hard to maneuver around with any speed. The A button in the middle of the Wii remote drops mines while the B button on the back of the remote shoots, and I can’t help but think it would be easier if it was swapped; the D-Pad is on the top of the remote so it’s annoying to have to reach down to the B button every time you want to shoot and it’s easy to drop mines and kill yourself if you hit the A button by mistake. Second, your missiles bounce off the walls. It makes no sense, and I’ve died so many times by accidentally shooting a wall and hitting myself with my own missiles or dodging an enemy’s missiles only to have them come back and hit me after they bounced off a wall. Why would projectiles from a tank bounce, wouldn’t they just explode? Other than that, the game is alright; it’s kind of cool to play for a bit but not a game you would want to invest too much time in.

So that’s Wii Play. How does it hold up? Well, let me just say that Wii Sports is better. Wii Play is not a bad offering and has quite a bit of variety, but most of the games are boring and the controls are so bad that it makes quite a few of them not fun to play. Shooting Range is easily the best, followed by Charge!, Fishing, and Tanks; the rest of the games are pretty monotonous unless you specifically like what they offer, and don’t really give much bang for your buck.  There are much, much better games out there for you to play on the Wii. 

Wii Play is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Mild Cartoon Violence.

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