Wii Play Motion - Video

Wii Play Motion
Wii Play Motion Cover
Platforms Wii
Genre Wii Game of the Year!?
MtAMinutes to Action 1
Keep Playing? Sure
Buy from Amazon

"Gathering dust" has become the meme of regretful Wii owners everywhere. I can't even count the number of times I've seen these words used to complain about the dearth of worthwhile Wii games. As someone who has found plenty of variety and quality in Gamecube 1.1's software lineup, I've let out innumerable deep sighs in response.

And yet, I must admit that my Wii has sat silent for over six months now. After a year that I wouldn't hesitate to call the system's very best, even the most forgiving Nintendo fanboys couldn't deny that Wii has been a ghost town in 2011.

But all that changes now, as I just picked up the brand new Wii Play Motion! Yes, I think it's safe to say that the 2011 Wii drought is officially over. Because if anything can get hardcore gamers excited about Wii again, it's a minigame collection bundled with a controller!

All sarcasm aside, Wii Play Motion's various motion-centric minigames were created by several different studios, tasked with outdoing each other in finding a fun and unique use of the bundled-in Wii Remote+'s capabilities. Featuring such contributors as Prope (Yuji Naka's new studio) and Good-Feel (the minds behind the excellent Wario Land: Shake It and Kirby's Epic Yarn), it at least has an interesting pedigree. Or a collection of interesting pedigrees, I guess.

So I synced my pretty new Wii Remote+ and popped in the disc. In just over an hour, I tried out every singleplayer minigame in the collection (as far as I know). And lucky you, I recorded video of all of them! Hopefully each video will give you an idea of how the player interacts with the minigame and what kind of depth it may offer.

 

Cone Zone
An ice-cream cone stacking game. Hold the Wii remote straight up and balance the cone as scoops of ice cream are piled onto it. There's also a soft-serve mode where you have to rotate the cone in order to swirl the dropping soft serve.

Keep playing? I guess so. It's one of the more basic games in the package, but the controls at least do not invite frustration. I had some trouble with the soft serve mode, it's tough to swirl ice cream without any balance feedback. Of course, I'm no good at swirling soft serve anyway, so maybe the game is flawless.

 

Veggie Guardin'
Basically Super Whack-A-Mole. A variety of moles can emerge from five mounds, but so can friendly Miis that should not be whacked. There's even a boss battle at the end against a Mii-styled king mole! Another mode has you playing a Simon style memory game.

Keep Playing? Probably not. The controls here seem too eager, often triggering a whack when I'm simply trying to move my mallet from right to left quickly. I also had trouble with the hammer randomly resetting itself when moving to either end of the screen, though there may have been some IR interference going on.

 

Skip Skimmer
Skim a flat rock across the water using a "forehand" frisbee motion. Success is determined by speed and angle of your throwing motion. One mode is a simple high score of total skips over five throws while the other channels both croquet and shuffleboard with a path of loops and a landing target at the end for points.

Keep Playing? I don't know...I do like the concept, and the obstacle course mode would be great in a group, but the game seems to have one fundamental flaw that really bothers me: you apparently have no control over when you actually let go of the stone. Unlike Wii Sports Resort's similar Disc Golf and Dog Disc modes where you let go of the button when you want to toss the frisbee, Skip Skimmer has you hold the B trigger through your entire swinging motion...and it sometimes triggers a throw. I have no idea why this is the case, but occasionally I would go through the throwing motion 15+ times the exact same way before my Mii actually let the rock go. Either I'm missing something, or the developers settled on an infuriating design choice.

 

Pose Mii Plus
You know that Japanese game show where contestants try to fit through a hole in an approaching wall? Or maybe the cheap American version of it? Pose Mii Plus is basically that. You rotate your Mii to fit it through upcoming holes in walls.

Keep Playing? I guess so. The motion controls seem to work without a hitch and the setup combines quick thinking and spatial awareness well. However, it seems like you could cheat the game by just rotating your Mii at random, because the correct pose is locked in if it is registered for even a millisecond.

 

Trigger Twist
A relatively simple game of target shooting. The gimmick is the ability to look further left, right, and up the landscape by pointing the Wii remote further away from the screen.

Keep Playing? I doubt it. This one is easily the most awkward for me, because it doesn't use the IR sensor to aim, which is how we've been conditioned to do so on Wii. Instead you have to swing the Wii remote waaaay off of the TV to shift your aim, and it just feels strange pointing to your direct right in order to hit a target in the right hand corner of the screen. Despite the lively and diverse targets, this one is currently my least favorite of the twelve minigames in the package.

 

Jump Park
Direct your jump-happy Mii upwards through a 2D platforming course by tilting the Wii remote to tilt your Mii. When straight, your Mii will jump straight when it hits a surface. If angled to the right, it will jump right, and so forth. You can also hit A in mid-air to dive-bomb in the direction of your feet. One mode has you collecting gems to unlock the next section of the stage in a sectioned time attack, the second appears to be the same thing but with the entire course available right away.

Keep Playing? I guess so. It's sounds simpler than it actually is, as there's a sort of rhythm and strategy involved in getting around quickly. This mode seems light on content, but I haven't delved into it much.

 

Teeter Targets
Somewhat reminiscent of Breakout, the player holds the Wii remote sideways like a NES pad and tilts platforms a la seesaws to flick balls at targets, trying not to let the ball fall past your platforms. There's a stage-based mode with targets and three endless modes that require a more delicate touch, like the one where you have to toss a ball up a series of teeter totters.

Keep Playing? Definitely. It's my favorite at the moment, and the minigame that appears to boast the most content, with a few dozen target stages and three endless modes. The motion controls are perfect, and the setup makes good use of that precision.

 

Spooky Search
LOOK OUT THERE ARE GHOSTS BEHIND YOU. Facing the TV, you have to hold the Wii remote pointing somewhere around you and use the Wii remote speaker's radar blips and on-screen Mii's directions to find them. Then hold B and drag the ghost to the TV so they can be captured.

Keep Playing? Probably. This may be the best use of the Wii Remote's speaker that I've come across, and it will have you pointing the thing all over the room while still looking at the TV. The controls are involving in a way that might turn some off, but I can't help but appreciate the level of immersion, something that motion-controls tend to break rather than produce.

 

Wind Runner
With the wind at your back, hold the A button to open an umbrella and rollerblade through the course, collecting gems for points. There's also a long jump mode a la the Olympic skiing event, and a Time Trial mode that is identical to the gem collection mode, sans the gems.

Keep Playing? Yes. Wind Runner is definitely the most exhilarating game of the package, and the imaginative concept is perfect for a quirky motion-controlled minigame collection.

 

Treasure Twirl
Your Mii is in a diving suit, scouring the seas for sunken treasure. Hold the Wii Remote sideways, like a NES pad. Rotate forward to lower your Mii, rotate backward to raise. Tilt left and right to direct sideways. Grab gems on your way down to the bottom, where treasure chests await.

Keep Playing? Sure. The controls are sensitive enough to navigate the crowded depths, and racing back to the surface by rotating the Wii remote feels great, too.

 

Flutter Fly
Using the Wii remote like a fan, you direct your balloon-suspended Mii through the sky, collecting gems and avoiding birds. Point the remote up and fan to push upwards, point it left and fan to push left, point right and fan to push right, and point down and fan to push downwards. You can also point at the birds and press A to scare them away, something I forgot to demonstrate in the video.

Keep Playing? I guess so. It's a little awkward waving constantly, but it's got that same mixture of frantic controls and slow action that made Steel Diver enjoyable.

 

Star Shuttle
A momentum-based spaceship game a la Lunar Lander or Asteroids, but in a 3D space. You have to navigate your spaceship to a determined spot against a space station in order to attach a piece to the hull. You have thrusters for all directions (forward, backward, left, right, ascending, and descending using the D-pad directions, A button, and B trigger) and have to twist the Wii Remote to approach the space station at the correct angle.

Minutes to Action: 1

Keep Playing? Probably. It's easily the toughest game to get a grasp of, but that's part of what makes it compelling to play. Using the thrusters alone is easy, the motion controlled ship tilting is intuitive, but the combination thereof requires considerable virtual spatial awareness.

 

Overall, I'm satisfied with the game. Where Wii Sports Resort introduced Wii MotionPlus as an alternate control method for common gameplay schemes, Wii Play Motion demonstrates the kind of games that can be created specifically with precise motion controls in mind. If you're in the market for a new Wii remote (maybe you need one that is MotionPlus enabled for a certain upcoming game of some importance?) then you shouldn't hesitate to throw in the extra $10 for this collection of quirky quickies.

Comments

Skip skimmer... Reminds me of

Skip skimmer... Reminds me of trying to figure out the fishing in Twilight princess. It took me ages to work out how that worked. The manual didn't help. But once I figured it out it was obvious.

Intuitively, it looks to me like they didn't write the instructions clearly. It seems far more likely from watching the video that you throw the stone by letting go of the B button. How else would it work?

Still, I could be completely wrong. And those instructions don't make a lot of sense anyway. Hold B through the entire throw? Why? If it doesn't have anything to do with determining when you let go of the stone, why hold down a button at all?

(intuitively, the most obvious thing for mimicking holding an object while using a Wii remote would be to press A and B at the same time. But that's probably awkward in actual gameplay.)

More minigame madness

I'm always looking for more party games for when my wife and her brother hang out on the weekends. We've pretty much exhausted Wii Sports Resort at this point so this looks kinda neat. Shame about the included Wii Mote as I already went out and bought FlingSmash for the bonus Wii Mote deal. Oh well. This is just one of a few last gasps for the system before the Wii U moves in.

Rumor has it...

...there's an unbundled version of the game for $30 that you can buy directly from Nintendo. People who have registered FlingSmash with Club Nintendo are saying they are getting an e-mail from Nintendo with this offer. Of course, since Wiimotes alone are $40 and this package is $50, you have to wonder where they got that $30 price from.

I'm sure you'll be able to find used copies of Wii Play Motion at online and retail outlets for under $20 soon enough.

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