Wii Sports Resort releases today (Sunday) and if you have a Wii system, run (don’t walk) down to your local game vendor and pick up a copy. Many people I know consider the console pack-in Wii Sports title to still be one of the best around for family friendly pick-up and play fun. Wii Sports Resort takes that style of game and kicks it up another level with even more games and options as well as incorporating the new MotionPlus attachment for even better control. If you had any interest at all in the original Wii Sports, you owe it to yourself (and your family) to check out Wii Sports Resort. I’ve had the pleasure to take the game through its paces in the past week. It has dominated my limited play time and I believe it will be my go-to game for weeks to come.
First, the controls. Wii Sports Resort has as a pack-in a new MotionPlus attachment for your Wiimote controller. Simply plug it into the back of your current Wiimote (where you used to plug in your nun chuck) and slip on the included, longer rubber jacket. The nun chuck now plugs into the back of the MotionPlus attachment. This is the same thing that was promoted a few weeks ago with EA Sports Tiger Woods golf and their tennis title. While it does reduce controller errors somewhat, what is most noticeable is the increased sensitivity. Very small tilting and rotations of the Wiimote are accurately reflected onscreen, even without pointing at the screen to use the sensor bar. Thus, all the games in Wii Sports Resort have a much more natural feel and are more likely to respond to the motions of a casual gamer. Unfortunately, this means that simultaneous multiplayer games require more than one MotionPlus attachment. Thankfully, I had just picked up one for twenty bucks to play with the recent Tiger Woods so two player games were not going to be a problem. (As one might expect, you can play several games, like Archery or Golf with a single Wiimote with MotionPlus, as you just pass the single controller around.) There are not too many multiplayer games that require more than two simultaneous controllers so I would recommend only buying one extra attachment and holding off on a 3rd or 4th until you find it absolutely necessary.
And there are quite a few new games to play, 12 in all but each of the twelve basic games have two or three different modes of play. For instance, once you’re tried the three point shooting basketball game a sort of 3 on 3 half-court basketball game is unlocked that uses very similar features. Some old games make a comeback like Golf and Bowling but the some of the best titles are new. Teen boys that have tried the new title quickly gravitate to fencing and archery. In fencing, two players match off on an elevated circle. Duel with padded swords to try to knock the other player out of the ring and down into the water below. The archery title aims with the improved Wiimote while you draw the bow back with the nunchuck controller. This title is one of the best to show off the sensitivity of the MotionPlus attachment as even minor wobbles of your aiming arm are accurately reflected onscreen.
For younger kids, I’d recommend the air sports. Two modes here allow you to control an airplane as if it were the Wiimote. Simply tilt the controller forward and back to go down or up, and rotate the controller to tilt the plane to the side and turn. My 3 year old son enjoys flying the plane. The main goal is to fly over sightseeing locations to tag them, but he finds the most fun just in pulling loop to loops or crashing the plane repeatedly into the ground.
Older gamers may appreciate the more sedate golf or bowling, but I recommend the Frisbee golf mode for a nice cross-generational experience. As a fan of the actual sport I have to report that the flight of the discs aren’t quite accurate, but the game itself is still quite fun, using the Wiimote to fling the Frisbee using motions very similar to an actual Frisbee throw.
All of these minigames make Wii Sports Resort a fun multiplayer game, but I am quite impressed at how much depth is present for a single player experience. As in Wii Sports, every event that is presented has an associated skill and performing well will earn you skill points. Earn 1000 points and you are considered “Pro” status, garnering you slight graphical bonuses when you play the game in the future. However, what really gives the game legs are the Stamps you can collect. Every game mode as about a half a dozen different stamps that can be collected. Gamers would instantly compare them to achievements on the Xbox 360. While some stamps are straightforward (sink 5 shots in a row in the 3-point shooting game) others open up entirely new goals and change how you would play the game. For example, the airplane sightseeing game has stamps for accomplishing quite a few different goals so what is initially just a sightseeing trip can turn into a number of different aerial skill challenges.
If my overly glowing review hasn’t convinced you to try the game out, there’s very little I have left to tell you. It is definitely a casual game and not one that has deep strategic decisions or require hard core gaming skills. However, all the games present an enjoyable activity to learn and master, and players who simply must have a challenge can try to perform well enough to acquire all the stamps. Perhaps the only negative I can find to say about the game is the lack of online support in any manner. However, this style of game is far better suited for head to head competition when players are in the same room. In a typical Nintendo fashion, the game is not groundbreaking in what is presents, so much as how final result is a polished and fun game with a strong appeal to a wide audience.
Kid Factor: Very little to object to here, and the wealth of games mean there is something for everyone. Hardcore gamers will probably pursue a high skill ranking and try to collect all the stamps while less intense gamers will sample all the games and find a few they like the best. Controls on several games are easy enough for even the youngest players to mess around with, but still other games have an appeal for a slightly older audience. Since game information is saved according to players’ Mii characters, multiple players within the same family don’t have to worry about overlapping save games. More competitive families can even use the recorded high scores as a bit of a challenge.