Unfortunately Wii Play is just way too shallow.
Wii Play comes packaged with a “free controller” which means the game would cost around £5 or $10 if it was being sold separately. This has to be taken into account when reviewing it because as a full priced game this wouldn’t even be worth writing about. It’s all built around nine mini-games that are all designed to showcase the controllers fundamental mechanics, ok lets go out on a limb and call this a ‘tech demo’. It’s also a chance to play with your Mii’s because we all know how addictive those little critters can be.
Shooting Range is a Duck Hunt rip-off, in addition to shooting ducks you get to shoot targets, soda cans and even flying saucers who threaten to abduct your precious Mii’s. The controls are tight and responsive and you don’t even have to put up with that annoying dog, what more could you ask for? Well considering the game only has five short levels to it (each one ending around the one minute mark) you could ask for a whole lot more, it feels like it’s over before it ever really begins.
Mii Pose has fantastic potential and with a little nurturing it could be Nintendo’s answer to Geometry Wars. It’s simple and addictive with a pleasing soundtrack to keep thing’s flowing nicely, plus more bright colours than you’d find on a hippie’s attire. The game sees you twisting and turning your controller in an attempt to fit your Mii into the scrolling silhouettes that move down the screen. The key is to find the right pose for the right silhouette before it reaches the bottom and you inevitably lose one of your lives. It starts off pretty simple and gets progressively harder the longer you survive, eventually becoming so manic that your eyes begin bulging and you lose vision altogether.
Laser Hockey is a psychedelic version of the classic Pong, you control the paddle with your controller movements and have the options of tilting your platform allowing some variation in your shots. While it’s simple in its presentation it feels clean and polished and along with its catchy music is the most accessible game you will find here. The computer A. I. is pretty dozy but when you play with a friend it can become an extremely fun way to spend a few umm… minutes.
It really makes you wonder why they didn’t just make a huge compendium of mini-games similar to this because while it doesn’t have the greatest of value there would have been an element of diversity that could have held our interest for more than five minutes.
Billiards is probably the ideal fit for the WiiMote, the mechanic of pulling back the controller and thrusting it forwards like a cue feels oh so right. While navigating around the table can be a tad clumsy everything else flows well and you should be able to play through a fair few games before the novelty wears off. The use of the overhead view can become a little cheap if it’s used excessively though so agreeing not to use it in multiplayer would probably be the best solution.
The other 5 mini-games are Tanks which is the only game to make use of the nunchuck; this sees you piloting a tank (duh) to clear the screen of even more tanks. Chase which sees you holding the controller like a set of handle bars as you attempt to navigate a cow into a bunch of scarecrows, exhilarating stuff I’m sure you will agree. There’s also Find Mii which has you searching for certain Mii’s within a crowd, Table Tennis which is self-explanatory and Fishing which isn’t even worth a mention to be honest.
Unfortunately most of these games are uninspired pieces of garbage and will hold your interest for seconds not minutes. You can go after medals for each one and these will unlock two new mini-games for you to dabble with but obtaining these medals takes little effort, taking away any real sense of achievement, the games aren’t all that inspiring either.
The graphics do a solid enough job without ever really excelling, it has that Wii Sports feel which isn’t exactly a compliment but considering this focuses more on the controller side of thing’s it is a little more forgivable. The audio is probably the best part of the whole experience; many of the songs are addictive and fit the action to a tee. The effects are competent enough, every knock and tap sounds the way it’s supposed to and suits the games simplistic feel really well.
Unfortunately Wii Play is just way too shallow, while the games in Wii Sports last hours some of the games here can last only a matter of minutes before they become tiring. They simply don’t possess enough in terms of depth and bring nothing fresh to the WiiMote concept. This ‘complimentary piece’ is nothing more than a lackluster attempt at exploiting the peripherals motion-sensor capabilities, if you’re looking for a quick fix and are in need of a new controller it’s probably worth it but otherwise steer clear.