Tagged "Wii"

Jan 03
By Jake In Reviews 3 Comments

Worms Battle Islands - Wii - Review

Like many gamers of a certain age, I remember multiplayer games of the original Worms with great fondness. But since then, I have played some awful Worms games in the name of this website. So I wasn’t exactly expecting much from this budget Wii release. But praise Team 17: it’s not messed up at all!

Worms doesn’t work in 3D, and this isn’t. Good start. From there, it doesn’t deviate much from the established blueprint: it’s your team of worms against other teams, taking it in turns to attempt to blast the heck out of each other with weapons ranging from the standard (missile, grenade), via the unusual (boomerang, dragon ball), to the plain daft (banana bomb, exploding sheep). It worked beautifully 15 years ago, and it’s no different today.

Worms Battle Islands - Wii

Perhaps the headline addition is Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection – which means online multiplayer. I wasn’t convinced that it would be easy to find a game, but I’m happy to report that the matching worked nicely. There are a lot of modes, so it could be a bit more helpful in telling you where someone is waiting. Once in a game, though, it’s seamless, and a rudimentary chat system is all I wanted. It’s hardly a compelling community, but for playing Worms online it’s more than adequate.

As I said, there are plenty of ways to play – and one of them called forts. That’s worrying, because Worms Forts: Under Siege was one of those awful Worms games. Luckily, it’s not the same – essentially, you and your opposing team are on separate islands.

The solo player has not been neglected, with a load of puzzles and campaign missions to take on. These often involve a restriction – usually on weapons, sometimes on movement – and force you to think in slightly different ways. The campaign mode gives you a brief period for strategic planning – recon the landscape, deploy a sniper – before battle commences. It’s quite nicely done, in a tinkering with the formula sort of way.

All this earns you bits and bobs to customise the game – items to dress your Worms in, blueprints to build new weapons, alternative voice samples, that sort of jazz. It’s moderately diverting.

In fact, it’s all moderately diverting. Team 17 have in the past demonstrated that reinventing Worms leads to disaster, and this is no reinvention – it’s really very familiar, despite the bells and whistles. Is that good enough? It’s certainly not bad.

Dec 21
By Jake In Reviews No Comments

Hot Wheels: Track Attack teaches children a valuable lesson: that having fun gets you nowhere; it’s a methodical, cautious, mundane approach that yields results.

That’s especially true of about two-fifths of the game: the Checkpoint and Token Grab events, which tend to be unreasonably difficult to complete in any manner involving fun. In the former, checkpoints are so close together, and the game’s handling so twitchy, that you frequently can’t get from one to the next reliably at anything more than a crawl – and time isn’t so limited that you need to. Chug around at a snail’s pace and victory – but no real satisfaction – is yours. In the latter, it might be tempting to go for the exotic tokens in loop-the-loops and the like, but that takes too long; so you’re better off sticking to the ones close to the ground, and get the job done with as little enjoyment as possible.

Hot Wheels: Track Attack - Wii

The other events – Race, Hot Lap and Elimination – all require you to travel at speed. Which is definitely less tedious. On the better designed tracks – of which there are a couple – it’s even quite fun. There are some neat alternative routes, big creatures roaming the course – dinosaurs, robots, etc – and fast and fun set-pieces on special Hot Wheels orange track.

But some of what should be fun is actually unforgivably frustrating. Once you get speedier cars, jumps are best avoided – otherwise you starting hitting invisible walls around the edge of the track, and losing masses of time trying to regain control and speed on landing. In fact, the faster cars are barely compatible at all with some of the track designs.

What’s worse is that your computer controlled opponents cheat insufferably. Actually, it’s worse than cheating: the same laws of physics don’t apply to them. While you’re flying through the air, they drop straight down after a jump and speed off. On one later track where a jump cannot be avoided, this is beyond frustrating.

There are more retro glitches too: falling into white space outside the track, slow down. Oh, and one I don’t think I’ve seen before: shadows of cars on a section of track below being projected onto the section of track of above. Clever! The engine noise is awful, so it wasn’t much of a loss when it cut out midway through one race. Slick it is not.

One almost redeeming feature is the track builder. It’s pleasingly intuitive, and shoving a load of massive set-pieces down then blasting around your creation is reasonably diverting. Multiplayer is fine too.

A lot of the time, it’s a mediocre racing game from about 1998: reasonably playable, but utterly unsophisticated. It’s easy, apart from a few genuinely unfair moments, and not huge. A lot of this is probably to be expected from a budget Wii racing game. But you’d also expect it to be a lot more fun.

Dec 16
By Jake In Reviews 1 Comment

Wheel of Fortune - Wii - Review

The mind boggles at the opportunities a Wheel of Fortune video game might present: imagine Carole Smilie turning the letters for John Leslie. Their tenures on the show never overlapped, but in the virtual world, anything could have been possible. But no: here you can play Wheel of Fortune, or you can not play Wheel of Fortune. And the American version at that.

But hey, hangman and spinning wheels – what’s not to like? Nothing in particular, as it turns out: it’s a proven quiz show format, and it looks pretty slick. The spinning and puzzling is all good, if occasionally unexpected: would anyone guess “BRIGHT SUNSHINE AND WARM TEMPERATURES” from the clue “THING”? No, thought not. But despite the utter lack of localisation, the puzzles are no more frequently baffling than they were on the UK TV version.

Wheel of Fortune - Wii

The problem is that it’s obvious where a little bit more time and money could have gone. It’s a nice touch having mini-games to play during what would be the commercial breaks, but where’s the option to play them in isolation? They’re not breathtakingly different to the main game, but it would be nice to have a shorter alternative to playing a whole show.

There are other niggles. The crowd dutifully applauds when you correctly guess a letter in a puzzle, but it’s not until they’ve gone quiet that your Mii celebrates. It grates on me every time. Another one: it’s curiously satisfying to spin the wheel by swinging the Wii remote, but why do you have to press a button at the same time? It makes it feel unnecessarily artificial.

It’s just indicative of a game made on a budget – which, for a budget game, really shouldn’t be a surprise. To the game’s credit, it’s a bit of fun to dress your Mii in the clothes available – and more are unlocked as you win prizes in the show.

There’s little fun to be had in playing on your own. But play it with a pal or two, and you’re guaranteed a moderately entertaining half hour or so.

Dec 02
By Jake In Reviews 2 Comments

F1 2009I am a simple man. Give me a decent circuit, a good sense of speed, a believable enough simulation of a Formula 1 car, and a grand prix weekend’s complement of practice sessions, and I’m happy. F1 2009 does just that, so in terms of their first game with the license, it’s job done for Codemasters.

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Nov 18
By Jake In Blog 10 Comments

More good Wii news: the BBC iPlayer is back, and on its own dedicated channel.

Actually, it was announced on the BBC’s Internet Blog last week, but I missed that. Never mind, this morning it’s available to download.

I’ve had a quick look around: browsing is quick and effective, and the search feature is speedy and efficient. I did manage to get an error page when exiting a programme I’d searched for, but nothing fatal.

As for quality, it’s certainly no worse than standard streaming in the main browser version of the iPlayer.

So: it’s all good.

May 26
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

Boom BloxIf you’re thinking that a game designed by Steven Spielberg would undoubtedly feature aliens, dinosaurs and robots – or even robotic alien dinosaurs – then you’re completely mistaken. Instead the stars are chunky block-like animals, but all signs suggest that these oddly sinister looking creatures aren’t anything to do with Spielberg as early builds were sans character. It’s probably all down to EA’s marketing men, as in case you’ve forgotten, all Wii games have to feature colourful critters of some description.

Boom Blox is a game that requires both aggression and patience although rarely at the same time. You see, some levels involve knocking over stacks of bloxs with as few throws of a ball possible to send precious gems crashing to the ground; others involve carefully removing blocks, Jenga-style, via a disembodied floating hand. The better you do the shinier the medal you receive.

Along the way you’ll come across bloxs that explode when hit, bloxs that vanish, chemical bloxs that go ‘bang’ when struck together and a range of different balls including bomb balls and bowling balls that cause more damage. The laser weapon is a bit pointless though – merely pointing and clicking is nowhere near as fun as taking a swing with the Wii remote.

Granted it’s an incredibly simple game at heart but one that’s perfect for the Wii and has several streaks of genius. The physics for starters are brilliant – often you’ll be waiting with baited breath to see if the last few bloxs will eventually topple over – while stray airborne bloxs have a habit of crashing into spectators. Scouring for weak spots is another joy, as is looking for ways to start a chain reaction. The controls work perfectly taking in both speed and power of your swings and pulls. Later levels throw new ideas into the mix, such as time limits and having to remove blox without causing characters to topple from the top of the pile.

Bad stuff? Well, the presentation isn’t up to the usual EA standard – the menus aren’t anything special and the music sounds like it has been taken directly from MySims. However, on the plus side you can make your own puzzles in the easy to use create mode and host them on WiiConnect24. There’s also an adventure mode with a loose story attached and a wealth of multi-player modes such as co-op. If your friends and family are still to be convinced by the Wii, then there is no better game than this to change their perspectives.

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