Game Name: Wii Play: Motion
Platform(s): Nintendo Wii
Genre(s): Mini-game Compilation
Release Date: June 13, 2011 (US), June 24, 2011 (EU)
Since the launch of the Nintendo Wii, we have seen many mini-game compilations come out which have been hit or miss over the past few years. Wii Sports & Sports Resort as well as the original Wii Play have sold exceptionally well due to the bundled format they were presented in which made each a no-brainer for most owners of the console considering the value (and quality) of a package deal. Five years after the launch of the Wii, Nintendo have released Wii Play: Motion, which includes the new WiiMote with the Motion Plus sensor built in as well as the game itself that includes 12 different mini-games that each claim to fully utilize the motion sensor accessory. The question most would have for this new bundle is the quality of the content included. How do these 12 mini-games fare? Here is my review for Wii Play: Motion.
As I mentioned, there are 12 separate games in Wii Play: Motion. The original Wii Play was known for the game “Tanks!”, a title that became a true gem for the collection and included hours of gameplay alone. Sadly, Tanks! is not in this predecessor, but there is still a few gems that can be found within that all present their own clever way of utilizing the Motion Plus controls. One could argue that we have seen it all before when it comes to compilations on the Wii like this, but where Wii Play: Motion sets itself apart is the sheer variety presented. Here is a breakdown on what is inside the package:
The very first title you will see when booting up Wii Play: Motion is Cone Zone. The object of the game is to balance a large cone while scoops of ice cream are continuously added. When the tower of creamy goodness collapses, your game is over and the total number of scoops are tallied where you are then judged by score. In order to keep the cone balanced, the player must gently move the WiiMote in all directions as the tower of ice cream sways. This may be the most simplistic title on the compilation, but I will admit I enjoyed the concept and the actual game controlled quite well.
Two players can also compete as they stack scoops side by side. This adds a bit more challenge as the other player’s tower can now collide with your own. I felt completely evil smashing my tower into a friends, but seeing the shocked look on that Mii’s face as he sat covered in ice cream was well worth it. After reaching a certain score, “Swirl Mode” is unlocked, which changes up the gameplay formula as scoops are replaced by a swirl of ice cream that pours from the sky. It’s not a huge change, but it does slightly change up the control scheme as the player must focus on catching all of the ice-cream correctly as well as balancing the tower.
Trigger Twist was one game on the compilation that took some time to get used to. The objective of this game is to hit various targets such as UFOs, Ninjas, balloons, and several other objects as quickly as possible. While it sounds simple, the control layout is a bit awkward as instead of simply pointing and shooting, the player must literally “twist” the controller to quickly hit an enemy or object on another area of the screen. Waves of targets are presented quickly and while this mechanic works, I found myself a bit uncomfortable constantly trying to aim my reticule in the twisting fashion.
I would consider this game to be a small tribute to Duck Hunt (as there is even a small reference), but with a very unique control scheme. Trigger Twist isn’t bad by any means as the controls do work, but most will tire quickly of this one with the awkward layout presented. Thankfully, there is a bit of a variety with the enemies and settings that add a nice incentive to continue playing until the end.
Imagine your Wiimote is a spool of string with an open box of treasure on the other end, located deep underwater. That is exactly what the game Treasure Twirl is. Gripping the Wiimote, one hand on each end, the player must twist the controller to reel in the box of goodies and balance each line of sting attached to the box by tilting the Wiimote back and forth, preventing the treasure from falling out on the way up. My initial thought on Treasure Twirl was how interesting the control scheme was as I haven’t ever used the WiiMote in this way before.
Two players can cooperatively play the game where the balancing really comes into full play as both players must be in sync as they steadily reel in their load. I didn’t find myself really wanting to go back into Treasure Twirl all that much after I completed the levels as there isn’t a whole lot of actual replay value, but I do think the control concept would be a brilliant addition to future fishing titles on the console.
Every compilation has it’s duds, and sadly Star Shuttle was the weakest of this collection. Star Shuttle has the player use the D-pad controls as they steer and accelerate their shuttle to a target while controlling a shuttle with the motion controls. Each shuttle has a small ball at the end which must be inserted into a proper position at the end of a linear path to finish the game. This simplistic concept was quickly made downright aggravating however as the D-Pad controls were overly sensitive, shooting my Mii past the target on more occasions that I’d like to remember. When it comes to mini-games, I feel simplicity is crucial. The control scheme for Star Shuttle just feels a bit off and convoluted though, making my big trip to space a one time experience.
Pose Mii Plus
Pose Mii was included in the original Wii Play, where players had to move the Wiimote to guide their Miis through approaching shapes by changing the position of the controller. Pose Mii Plus takes that same formula, but uses the Motion Plus controls to add a bit more depth to the control layout as Miis can now rotate and twist into different positions. The whole setup works fine, but it just comes off as a bit bland compared to the other titles in this compilation and it doesn’t do much to stand out. Since the first title was actually an nice addition to the first Wii Play, I felt that this successor of sorts would try to do more to enhance the game. Sadly, turning a Wiimote in circles is about all that Pose Mii Plus brings to the table.
Take one cup Breakout, one cup Pinball, and add a bit of Nintendo’s charm and you have the recipe for Teeter Targets. As various balls fall to the ground, it is the player’s job to control a wooden teeter-totter by holding both ends of the Wiimote to knock the balls into the air, smashing the targets that fill the screen. The single player game is fun on it’s own, but for those with friends, this is one of the better titles on the compilation as players must try to grab the high score while preventing their balls from landing in the opponent’s area, which turns that ball into their own color and allows them more ammunition to knock out targets.
If you hate waggle controls, Flutter Fly is not for you at all. The point of this game is to take control of a fan to blow balloons into a target at the finish while dodging obstacles. How do you do this? Waggling the controller of course. Players must use the Wiimote as a fan and flap the controller in different directions to guide the balloons upward. Much like Trigger Twist, Flutter Fly isn’t a bad or boring entry, it just suffers from an uncomfortable and awkward control scheme, making multiple playthroughs less likely.
There is no way to describe Veggie Guardin’ other than a Whack-a-mole clone. Prevent moles from grabbing your vegetables by whacking them on the head and avoid smashing innocent Miis along the way. As simple as this title is, I found the idea of a mole wearing a Wii mask to attempt thievery a charming little touch and this was one mini-game that I found myself going back into again and again as the formula works well with the Motion controls.
Ever been to a bouncy castle? Jump Park is like that, but with gems scattered in the air that the player must collect as they control their Mii. There really isn’t a whole lot to say about this addition to the compilation as it is pretty basic and there is very little strategy to actually collect the gems aside from forcefully jumping off walls to be propelled the higher areas.
Wind Runner has the player take control of a Mii with an umbrella (the umbrella being the controller). As wind blows, players must open their umbrellas up to gain speed while flying off ramps and avoiding obstacles such as sludge that slow down the action. The trick to going faster is to catch the wind at just the right moment, boosting the Mii forward at a lightning pace. This is yet another game that truly shines during multi-player as things heat up quickly and the game becomes a windy race to the finish.
If I had to have a “runner-up” for the best titles in this compilation, Spooky Search would win that prize hands down. In Spooky search, players are thrown into a haunted mansion where ghosts run rapid. Some of the ghosts are hiding though, which means it is your job to fish them out and catch them in a Ghostbusters like fashion. To do this, players point their WiiMotes off screen and must closely pay attention to the sounds and vibrations coming from the Wiimotes. Frightened Miis on the screen also assist by yelling out directions of where the ghosts are located. Once you have a ghost, it is then your job to press down on the trigger button and pull it onscreen to catch it. Once you have a ghost on screen, the true game begins that consists of using your device to pull at the ghost until it is finally captured. If you ever wondered how Luigi’s Mansion would have worked on the Wii, Spooky Search is a excellent example of what could have been as it shines as one of the most innovative games on the disc.
I saved the best for last. Enjoy skipping stones? You will after this one. Skip Skimmer puts us on the shores of a lake with a few flat stones to throw. The objective is as simple as it sounds. Find a stone, line-up a throw, and toss it into the lake where every skip is counted toward your final score throughout five rounds. As you progress, more stones become available to use for the actual skipping. What makes the extra stones interesting is different abilities they possess. For example, a stone with a dog face will bark upon each skip, until it lets out a whimper as it sinks at the end. A more advanced dolphin stone will perform jumps as it skips throughout the lake, with proper sound effects in tow.
To sweeten the deal, an extra mode is rewarded for a high score that ups the competitiveness with players skipping in front of a crowd. This mode also changes up the gameplay as skips are no longer counted. Instead, players must aim their discs (which replace rocks in this mode) through rings with a giant bullseye waiting at the end. I spent hours with Skip Skimmer as it was additive and quite honestly the most fun I have had with a mini-game in a long time as this title feels like it could honestly go on to be a disc-based release.
The visuals in Wii Play: Motion won’t provide shock and awe for anyone as they look about the same as Wii Sports/Sports Resort with bright colors and shapely textures. Skip Skimmer however stood out from the rest as the details used in the stones and the lake itself were quite impressive for the console and helped make that particular game more relaxing and addictive. Miis do grace us with the presence nearly every game, so if you are someone who prefers a Mii-less experience, you will probably not enjoy our rounded friends over-exposure here. I wasn’t huge on the idea of a Mii controlled game myself, but after playing Wii Play: Motion I think I am finally ready to accept these lovable little avatars as the expressions and personality displayed added a lot more enjoyment to each game.
Music for this title is a bit standard fare as each game plays a few different tunes. Nothing is too memorable but each tune works well enough with each mini-game to give the soundtrack a pass. I must say that hearing a group of Miis scream for their lives in Trigger Twist was a humorous touch and small little flakes of charm with sound effects can be heard throughout. I also would not be judging the audio for this game correctly if I didn’t bring up Spooky Search, as the speaker in the WiiMote proved useful for the game and each sound came out clear and vivid.
Wii Play: Motion came out a bit late in the game for the Wii as the mini-game compilation concept has been done to death on the console. Interestingly enough, the games found within actually show off the Motion Plus with new and innovative control schemes that very well could open a few doors for what few games the console has left in it’s life cycle. While this compilation doesn’t come without a few mini-games that missed their mark, I honestly feel like Wii Play: Motion may be the strongest bundled offering to date due to the sheer amount of love found in titles such as Skip Skimmer and Spooky Search. Wii Play: Motion’s simplistic, yet fun offerings make this bundle one to pick up for the game itself, rather than just the addition of another controller.
I Give Wii Play: Motion: