Nintendo’s follow-up to the phenomenally popular ‘Wii Sports’ collection, Wii Sports Resort brings back a couple of favourites (like bowling and golf) along with 10 brand new games, plus introduces a new level of control, with the addition of Wii MotionPlus. Wii MotionPlus requires a new accessory, which slots neatly into the base of the regular Wii Remote, vastly improving the accuracy and response of the wireless controller. This doesn’t just help with making the games feel more realistic, if that’s an appropriate term to use here, but actually really increases the enjoyment factor, because it now feels like your actions are having a more tangible effect, so it can feel much more rewarding when you do well. This is most evident in the more skill-based events, such as table tennis, where the added control allows for some fantastic contests. It’s evident, too, in the swordplay activities, where my Kendo training from Uni seemed to genuinely pay dividends – or at least it made me feel like it did, which is a success either way!
The collection goes a long way in exploiting the Wii controller, often asking the player to hold it upright like a staff, or sideways on like a mini pair of handlebars. There are tutorials to help with new movements and control schemes that are compulsory the first time around – and boy are they geared towards the lowest common denominator where IQs are concerned! – but they at least orient the player before a new activity.
Even then, some feel more difficult than even the real thing; the Frisbee game being a good example, but you soon pick it up and get into the fun of it all. Like the Boxing in the first Wii Sports game, some demand a fair bit of wild thrashing around to get going, too, giving you a mini workout in the process. This emphasis on innovative controller manipulation, if you like, also means that the younger players in your family might have a bit of difficulty with some of the games. Bowling retains the familiarity of the original but adds a much needed layer of depth to the control, so everyone will be fine here, but others, such as the wakeboarding and the archery may prove a little too complicated, limiting their appeal as something the whole family can enjoy. Still, the inclusion of the Pilotwings-esque flying segment, with its no-pressure adventuring and delightful sense of discovery will ease the pain, being simple to control and entertaining as you explore the island at leisure.
One point to note is that Wii Sports Resort only works with Wii Remotes fitted with the new ‘MotionPlus’ accessory. This isn’t too much of a problem for one controller families, since there’s one packaged in the box with the game, but many of the new games are actually designed for 2 players (or more). This means you’re virtually compelled to go out and buy a new Wii MotionPlus unit. And if Wii Sports Resort achieves anything like the penetration that its predecessor, Wii Sports, did (a one-for-one correlation, since it was packaged in with the console), then the boys at JB HiFi and Big W will be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of nearly every Wii owner forking out a further 20 bucks each.
As is nearly always the case with any title that comprises a bunch of separate mini games, quality is patchy, with some sports far more responsive and fun than others. While there are those that require a little patience, but are worth taking the time to get the hang of so you can improve and enjoy them more, others feel and play like ‘filler’ to pad out the offering. Mostly, they fail because they’re just unwieldy and awkward but there are only really a couple like that and none of that matters if you loved the bowling in the last game because the new, improved bowling in this release is worth the price of admission on its own.
Additional pricing information
Wii Sports Resort sells for $99.95 RRP, and includes the new Wii MotionPlus control attachment. The Wii MotionPlus is also available separately, for $29.95 RRP.
Wii Sports Resort is on sale in Australia from 23 July, 2009.
About Max Everingham
Max Everingham is the owner of Game State, a B2B videogame software analysis & marketing consultancy. Max is a videogames veteran, having worked in the industry for over 13 years, including brand & product marketing positions at EA and Codemasters.