Review: Wii Play (Wii)

[ editorial ]
Wii Play shares more than just a word with Wii Sports. Both games serve to introduce people to the functions and features of the Wii through simple, intuitive mini-games that use the Wii Remote in different ways. However, the main difference between the two is the level of depth present within each game. Overall, Wii Sports is a more engaging and in-depth game than Wii Play, a fact which can be seen in the many details present in Wii Sports -- details such as Training Mode, selecting your left or right hand, and the ability to select from several AI skill levels. These features do not exist in Wii Play.

Itís obvious right from the get-go that Wii Play assumes the player has little to no knowledge of how the Remote works, as at the main menu only one game is selectable: Target Gallery. Initially I thought something was wrong, but it turns out that you must work through each game in sequence to unlock the next one. Also, before you play each mini-game the game itself tells you what function the Remote will be performing, e.g. pointing. While I'm sure that this is a useful thing for novices, most of us donít really require the pep talk, Mr. Play. Especially when you hear there's a game that involves racing cows. I don't want to have to play through the other ones first, give me my cow.

Luckily though, I got to my beloved bovines rather quickly. But that does raise another point: There are only nine mini-games. And these ones don't have the depth of the ones from Wii Sports, either. Most of them are just glorified tech demos, or actual tech demos in some cases. As a result, while some of them are fun deviations from time to time, none of the mini-games really stand the test of time.

At times, this game can be quite a pedestrian affair. (Ha!)

Shallowness isn't the only problem with the games, either. In fact, the cow-racing game I was previously excited about (Charge!) seems to be a real pain to steer, often being far too insensitive. Iím not sure if this was intentional or not, but itís not beneficial, thatís for sure. Likewise, the Billiards motion sensing doesnít always work 100% and the less said about Laser Hockey, the better. Actually, Iíll say something about it: Itís awful.

Though the collection of mini-games was enjoyable for the two days after I got it, the novelty quickly wore off and I found little reason to return. Admittedly, attempts at a single player mode have been made through the collection of gold, silver and bronze medals depending on your performance, but it feels tacked on, like Nintendo realised near release that not everyone has a video-game loving family, or freeloading friends.

Control issues? That's a paddlin'.

But perhaps I'm sounding overly harsh here. Wii Play isnít a terrible game, per se; the multiplayer is still enjoyable, for one. While the good times canít last forever, itís still not a bad way to spend a few hours, as long as the people playing donít mind Table Tennis, because that game is pretty damn good, as are Shooting, and Fishing. The best part of Wii Play, however, is the price. While it does retail for $50, the game comes with a free Wii Remote, which is worth $40 anyway so youíre getting the game pretty cheaply when you look at it.

Essentially, if you're looking at getting another Wii Remote to add to your menagerie, I'd seriously consider giving priority to this bundleóthe inclusion of the remote with the game adds a serious value proposition to the whole deal. However, if all you're looking for is a game, it's probably best advisable to stay away.