Review: Giving you your daily dose of exercise... one sport at a time.
For many gamers, receiving a free game with their console was once something they took for granted. How many people remember the classic Duck Hunt/Super Mario Bros. cartridge that Nintendo released with the original NES? How about when Super Mario World was included with the SNES? Those were the days when you could buy a system and already have everything you needed to get started. Then came a long, dark history where no system included anything except a CD with a few demos. Now, for the first time in more than a decade Nintendo has included an actual complete game with their new console. That game is Wii Sports.
Originally slated for release separately from the console, Wii Sports is designed to give players a taste of what they can come to expect from the Big N's innovative controller. Included in the game are pick-up-and-play versions of Tennis, Boxing, Golf, Bowling, and Baseball. Although gameplay depth is relatively shallow compared to other console sports games, nevertheless this is the first game that you'll want to power on when you demonstrate your Wii to a group of friends.
Here is a brief description of each game and how you use the Wiimote and Nunchuck to play:
As you can pretty much guess, the Wiimote is perfect for tennis as the game is able to detect over 200 different types of tennis strokes. This game will appeal to both veteran tennis players looking to hone their skills and beginners seeking its entertainment appeal. Gameplay is limited solely to double matches.
Although in most baseball games you can control base runners and fielding, gameplay here is limited to batting and pitching. All games are also limited to three-innings apiece. When batting you hold the Wiimote as you would hold a baseball bat. Here your goal naturally is to try to swing at a pitch in order to land a hit. The amazing thing is that the sensor even picks up practice swings or waggling as you attempt to time your swings. When pitching, the game requires that you press specific combinations of buttons while making a throwing motion in order to throw a fastball, splitter, or curveball.
Visually, this is the most impressive of the bunch. At the same time it also has the most complicated game mechanics. The Wii's sensor bar recognizes your follow-through and upswing as the same, resulting in an occasional overpowered shot landing out of bounds.
Along with tennis and baseball, bowling is one of the more realistic sports simulated. In it you play a typical 10-frame game. The game recognizes the ball's trajectory from the angle of your wrists Twisting the Wiimote makes the ball spin while turning the character left or right helps you aim your ball.
This is the most physically exhausting of all the available mini-games. The game recognizes your movements including jabs, uppercuts, and hooks. All are performed through a combination of the Wiimote and Nunchuck. You block by raising both hands in the air and dodge by moving the controller and Nunchuck either left or right. Boxing is also the one mini-game where the sensor bar could have used a slight improvement, as it's sometimes unable to tell the difference between a left and right shot.
All of these games can be played either solo or in groups, depending on how many controllers and people you have. For those of us who are obsessed with keeping track of our own personal stats, Wii Sports included the ?Wii Fitness? program that schedules a daily three-event activity and rates your performance. While this adds a little bit of incentive to boot the game up everyday, at the same time it can be completed in a relatively short manner.
Presentation-wise, the game relies on simple visuals and audio. Players are represented through their user created Mii's and most of the backgrounds are generic and rather bland. The music is often limited to the menu and/or victory/losses.