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David Low
13 Dec, 2006

Wii Play Review

Wii Review | Is the first 'controller pack in game' worthy of the honour?
So, you got yourself a Nintendo Wii. It comes packed with a great multiplayer game, but only one controller. So you're definitely going to pick up another controller, and since this Wii Play + Wii Remote pack is only a few bucks more then a plain jane remote, you grab that instead. Since Wii Play is such a good deal it's highly likely the majority of PAL Wii gamers will have taken advantage of the package as their second remote, and as a result, this review is semi-redundant from a purchase advice point of view (much like our Wii Sports review). But if you have an imported Wii, or have yet to pick the console up, Wii Play is a great first purchase for the machine. The collection of nine Mii-enabled minigames is deliberately simple and no-frills, but they're just so well executed that the game would be worth it as a stand alone budget title anyway.

As mentioned, there are nine minigames on the Wii play disc:
  • Shooting Range is like a modern version of Duck Hunt (minus the Animal slaughter theme of the 80's version, although the ducks make a cameo appearance), and shows that while the Wii Remote isn't quite the same as using a light gun, it's possibly better, because the technology allows fire in quicker succession, and doesn't require the screen to flash. The game itself is as fun and varied as any game featuring single shot targets on a static screen could be, with multiple rounds of varying difficulty.

  • Find Mii is a great little 'Where's Wally' type game, where the object is to point and click on the right Mii(s) in various crowded situations. A great game for those afraid of the more action-intensive experience.

    Less action makes Wife/Girlfriend/Mum play game more!

    Less action makes Wife/Girlfriend/Mum play game more!
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  • Table Tennis is a simple version of the sport, requiring the user to simply point where they want the paddle, hitting is automatic. There's still some strategy, as you can whip the pointer in any direction to direct the ball or add spin.

  • Pose Mii is another pointer game, where you must match up a posed Mii character to silhouettes in the background, this time taking the rotation of the cursor into account.

  • Laser Hockey is a pointer based version of the classic Air Hockey,

  • Billiards is a surprisingly in-depth 3D billiards game, where you push the remote forward just like a pool cue to make your shot.

  • Fishing is a race to catch the 'featured' fish, using the Remote much like a real fishing pole

  • Charge is the world's first cow racing/scarecrow booting sim (translation - racing game with targets to hit) using the Wii remote on it's side as 'handlebars'

  • And Tanks, which is a modern version of the classic game Combat.

The purpose of Wii Play is threefold. The first playthough of the game serves as a deliberately paced introduction to the functions of the Wii remote. Initially you are forced to play through all nine games in order as tutorial, and the games are ordered so that each teaches a Wii remote function. The first three, Shooting Range, Find Mii and Table Tennis all teach the player uses of the pointer function - as a gun, a mouse and a hand respectively. Pose Mii and Laser Hockey develop the pointer function by using it's rotational abilities. Billiards and Fishing teach the Remote's 3D space abilities, Charge shows off the tilt abilities, and Tanks is a demonstration of the 'nunchuck plus pointer dual control option'. Once someone has played through each game they will have a strong idea of what the Wii remote can do, and will have a handle on it's abilities as a gaming device.

Simple, but difficult at the same time.

Simple, but difficult at the same time.
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The second purpose of the package is as a set of casual minigames for some quick fun. There is a medal system designed to keep you playing for high scores, and in this way it's a bit like an old arcade, with a bunch of specific-action games that are addictive simply because you get better at them every time you play. Much like the minigame elements included in several DS games (like Super Mario 64 DS and New Super Mario Bros), the games here are novel simply because the control method works so well, and the immediacy let's anyone play with mere seconds.

Thirdly, and likely most importantly long term, are the games multiplayer options. Due to the points based goals of each section, every game is two player enabled (some split screen, some not), and while some work better then others, all are worth a go or three. The gems of the collection are Shooting Range, Table Tennis, Laser Hockey, Billiards and Tanks, primarily because they are well designed multiplayer games and they make confident use of the Wii remote's functions. What's great about Table Tennis is that it's simplicity means the game is only strategy and reflexes, with very little learning curve and simply raw control of the pointer for skill. While Wii Tennis, with it's range of shots and surprisingly deep Tennis gameplay will be the clear preference for more seasoned Wii players in years to come, Table Tennis may be the one that hooks grandma initially. Laser Hockey is probably the hardest game to get a handle on, but is a blast between players who have mastered the Wii Remote, as is the dual control cleverness of Tanks. But the surprising overall highlight is Billiards, because it's just such a complete version of the game. They could take the engine, add in a bunch of options and a career mode, and it would be the only game a Billiards fan would ever need.

Graphically the games are simple but effective. Apart from the realistic 3D of Billiards and the Paper Mario styled Fishing they all fit in with the Wii's menu and Mii channel aesthetic. Sound wise it's the standard polite but nice Nintendo music. The only real complaint about Wii Play is that it lacks depth in the content department. There's absolutely no customisation or training modes of any sort, there's just the nine games in one or two player versions. Simplicity was obviously the point here - you can't even change the number of goals for a win in any of the games. And the presentation, while functional and attractive, is as bare bones as possible – but of course that's the point too. Ultimately, Wii Play could have done with a few more options, and given the content it may have served better built into the system's memory or as a free download from the Wii Shop, simply to save us swapping discs.

Light gun games have never played this smoothly

Light gun games have never played this smoothly
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Wii Play doesn't quite match the wow factor of Wii Sports, primarily because the use of the remote is much more subdued then the phenomenal 'magic wand' control of Wii Tennis, Bowling and Golf and Baseball, and the subtle depth of the former three. It lacks the longevity of it's pack-in brother for this reason, as well as the fact that Wii Sports has the extensive training and fitness modes to keep it alive. However, as another psuedo pack-in game, Wii Play excels at what it sets out to do, and as a package deal with a Wii Remote is a no-brainier purchase for new Wii owners.
The Score
As a package deal, purchasing this is a no-brainer. The software is short-lived fun, but does exactly what it sets out to do with style. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Wii Play Content

Wii Play Preview
30 Oct, 2006 Everybody's second game purchase?
Wii Sports Review
07 Dec, 2006 PALGN's verdict on the title everyone is going to own.
Nintendo Wii hardware review
05 Dec, 2006 Buckle up, strap in. The Wii ride starts here.
24 Comments
7 years ago
I really really really suck at ping pong/table tennis. Everything else I'm decent at...
I can't get a hang of it icon_dumb.gif
7 years ago
Great review David. I now know what you meant when you said you preferred Wii Sports.
7 years ago
9-Ball rules on this, cannot wait for a Snooker game on the Wii, one that will include all uses for a snooker table (with options for pub size, round and different gameplay modes)

Ive got gold medals for 9-ball, the cow racing game & fishing so far
Mind you I am busy on Zelda and Rayman
7 years ago
yeah I'm getting this game...still I reckon Air Hockey may be the only fun game
7 years ago
yeah, that's about what i would give it.

i actually think it would've made a better pack-in game to the console than WiiSport, tbh. while you're right that probably everyone who got a Wii got this pack, the simplistic nature, and tutorial system seems better for a pack-in than WiiSport's more indepth gameplay.

i guess it doesn't ultimately matter, it just seemed odd to me.
7 years ago
Is it really a 7.0 for graphics?

Or are you saying 7.0 when compared to other Wii games?

Because I can't see anything spectacular about the graphics.
7 years ago
While they're not spectacular, they are solid (in a simplistic way).
7 years ago
On the other hand, there's nothing particularly ugly about the graphics either.

Considering I got Wii Play for $65 at JB, I technically paid -$5 for it, so I'm happy either way.
7 years ago
The Air Hockey is pretty cool looking. Reminds me of Geometry Wars.
7 years ago
which game is the worst of the bunch and the best?
7 years ago
i really didn't like MiiPose. so that's my pick for worst.

i kinda like all the others though. Laser Hockey is nice and easy to get into and have a smack-around.

Cow Racing is awesomely stupid fun though.
7 years ago
COW RACING?

well at least Laser Hockey is good
7 years ago
Yeah it's an unloclable minigame. From what I played, Laser Hockey rocks icon_biggrin.gif
7 years ago
El Taco wrote
Yeah it's an unloclable minigame. From what I played, Laser Hockey rocks icon_biggrin.gif
you mean unlockable mini-game cool I can't wait to play this on Friday then
7 years ago
Lord Halo Nerd wrote
El Taco wrote
Yeah it's an unloclable minigame. From what I played, Laser Hockey rocks icon_biggrin.gif
you mean unlockable mini-game cool I can't wait to play this on Friday then
unlockable what?

unless you mean you need to unlock each game in order to play it then well... that's just part of how the game works..

or do you mean there's a 10th game i havn't got yet icon_confused.gif
7 years ago
Rush152 wrote
Lord Halo Nerd wrote
El Taco wrote
Yeah it's an unloclable minigame. From what I played, Laser Hockey rocks icon_biggrin.gif
you mean unlockable mini-game cool I can't wait to play this on Friday then
unlockable what?

unless you mean you need to unlock each game in order to play it then well... that's just part of how the game works..

or do you mean there's a 10th game i havn't got yet icon_confused.gif
I have no Idea thats what El Taco said probably yeah you have to unlock it. I haven't got this game yet so I donno
7 years ago
Lord Halo Nerd wrote
yeah I'm getting this game...still I reckon Air Hockey may be the only fun game
Wait till you play 9-ball
7 years ago
Pool, Hockey look interesting. But mainly pool got my eye.
7 years ago
I can't get any force when playing pool. I can only do little pipsqueak shots because the friggin thing won't register great big burly thrusts. Tanks and Duck Hunt are my fave by far.

Has anyone even used the mines in the Tank game? I just go all out spraying the cannon everywhere.
7 years ago
I use the mines as booby-traps since they explode so big icon_cool.gif

Laser Hockey is impossible for me as I seem to be a bit of an unc. The paddle seems to get stuck, move at hypervelocity or give me "point remote at screen" errors icon_lol.gif
7 years ago
I like the shooting game, pool, laser hockey and fishing. The others I like, but not as much. I got it for $65 as well at EB (price match) and I am pleased with the price considering I got the Wii-mote with it.
7 years ago
Really, for the price you can't pass it up. Sure, a lot could be better about it, but it's decent enough for a start up.
7 years ago
yeah, i got it for cheaper than the Wiimote's solo were going for, so couldn't really complain.

if it had been full-price, with or without the extra Wii-mote, i'd be complaining.
7 years ago
i agree with obs on this one... i hated mii pose. i like the cow racing, duck hut and billards
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Nintendo
Developer:
  Nintendo
Players:
  4

Extra:
Free Wii remote

Read more...
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