Hey, you know what? Wii Sports Resort is fun. I'm not ashamed to admit it! Granted, it's the same sort of brief, lightweight fun the first game was: grab a Wii-mote, ideally in a four-player setting, and flail your way through a few competitive activities starring your silly Mii people. This isn't the kind of game you're going to play daily or for long stretches, but it certainly has the kind of pick-up-and-waggle accessibility that made the first Wii Sports a sublime party game in mixed company.
The good news for those of us who identify ourselves as "hardcore" gamers is that the MotionPlus control doesn't feel gimmicky or tacked-on in Resort's dozen minigame categories. On the contrary, I felt like it genuinely added some actual depth to games like bowling and ping-pong, where you can put spin on the ball using the same wrist movements and muscle memory you might have retained from the real-life activities. This is still bowling and ping-pong we're talking about, of course--you aren't going to play them forever--but it seems like utilizing these sorts of advanced techniques will actually give you an edge in a competitive setting, which is always good for replay value.
There's also a series of wakeboarding and jet ski challenges that caught my eye. They're quite simplistic; the former has you doing basic jump tricks by steering and flicking the Wii-mote, and the latter is just a time-trial race to slalom through a series of gates. But since the MotionPlus gives you one-to-one control over the tilt and orientation of your board, you get a strong, satisfying tactile feeling of interacting with the water as you lean and dig into waves to maneuver around. What I'm really saying is, these levels totally made me want a new, MotionPlus-based Wave Race game.
The controls work better in some games than others. There's a cycling game that has you pumping both the Wii-mote and Nunchuk to simulate a pedaling motion while also tilting both of them to steer. That one felt a little unwieldy and tough to control without any prior experience. But the three-point contest didn't require any experience at all; I just started acting like I was shooting actual hoops and got a better than 50 percent accuracy rate my first try, which I think speaks to the intuitiveness of the controls in the right circumstances. I felt that way about more of the minigames than not.
Nintendo says it's trying to make all the content in Resort more obvious and accessible than in the first Wii Sports, which had some of its minigames obscured by the interface. So now you simply get every minigame category presented to you upfront in a grid format, and the company says you'll unlock all the different categories and variations of games with less effort than it took in the first game.
The game world has a decent feeling of connectedness, since all the minigames take place in a single resort environment called Wuhu Island (don't ask me). So while you're cycling a race around the island's perimeter, you'll pass by the basketball court. When you're buzzing around in the two-player dogfight mode, you can fly straight down into the volcano that acts as the last level of the archery game. There will be some secrets scattered around that diehard Wii Sports players (if there are such people) can scour the island for. Each area of the archery challenge, for instance, will have a hidden bonus object that will be damn near impossible to hit, in my brief experience.
MotionPlus is going to be 20 bucks at retail by itself, so if nothing else, Wii Sports Resort seems like the best way so far to get your hands on the device (especially if you're not all that interested in golf or tennis). It's a nice gesture that the majority of the multiplayer games in Resort are pass-and-play, meaning you can get four players involved with only one MotionPlus. Everybody will need their own if you're going to play all the minigames in here--but if MotionPlus adds as much to the Wii experience as I'd like to hope it will, having spent a good bit of time with Resort, I think everyone will want to have their own, anyway.