Wii Play

Featuring nine mini-games, this compilation – bundled free(ish) with extra Wii remotes – is designed is to teach you how to use the remote, step by step. As such we’re wondering why it wasn’t bundled with the Wii instead of Wii Sports, and we’re also confused as to how Nintendo are going to sell this to the US market once it’s released over there next month. They’ve had their Wiis for longer than us, and we’re sure that they’ve already learned how to point at stuff on their TVs.

Wii PlayOf course, it’s not a problem with the game as such. It’s a nice little collection in fact, offering a couple of decent two-player time wasters. Everybody loves shooting things, so the shooting range always goes down well. Ducks fly across the screen occasionally that award a substantial 10-points, while one of the levels involves keeping tin cans up in the air. There’s also Ping Pong – in which the crowd grows bigger if you’re playing well – and a trippy variant on air hockey. In the latter you can rotate the bat to send the puck spinning at hard to hit angles. The overhead toy tank combat game is fun too, although you’ll need an additional nunchuk to play properly.

Each game is as intuitive as the next – literally, initially they have to be played through in order – although we did struggle with the fishing game at first as it wasn’t quite how we imagined. We thought you’d have to swing the remote forward to cast out, then pull it back to reel in, but it’s not like that that at all. If anything it teaches you how to use the remote in 3D space, trying to get the hook in line with the fish on the surface of the water and at the bottom of the pond. We really like the paper visual style to this mini-game – the fish are all as flat as pancakes. Another nice style is present on the 3D cow racing / scarecrow chasing game – everything looks like it’s made out of wool. It’s like you’re racing down a giant scarf.

Like all compilations there a couple of duff entries. Pose Mii entails spinning your Mii avatar around while changing stances to fit inside bubbles with corresponding silhouettes. If a bubble hits the water at the bottom of the screen then it’s game over. It gets frustrating far too quickly and requires too many button pushes for it to be accessible to non-gamers. Billiards is the most accomplished game present, requiring the remote to be moved back and fourth, but it gets dull really quickly. Find Mii is another game that features your Mii, and is like Where’s Wally in design. It starts off easy – simply pick your Mii out from a crowd – but then gets tougher, like trying to find three identical Miis in the dark.

Once all nine games have been unlocked – which shouldn’t take much longer than half an hour – the chance to get higher scores, reach higher levels and win medals are there for those who want to return. It would have been helpful if Nintendo had included a list of medal-qualifying scores, but you know, it feels wrong to criticise something that’s pretty much free. Does this stop us applying a score to it? Nope! Oh, and for a bit of fun try clicking on your Mii’s various body parts on the main menu.

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