As expected, Wii Play: Motion follows the lead of the rest of the Wii _ series of titles from Nintendo, with a bare-bones appearance filled full of cute Mii characters, twee colours and either relaxing, laid back, or cute and upbeat tunes thrown in for good measure. The whole setup precisely mimics the feel of Wii Sports, Wii Music, Wii Play, Wii Fit, Wii Sports Resort, Wii Party and Wii Fit Plus (...and, well, Wii Chess, but Nintendo has seemingly forgotten about that). The main menu screen has all of the different games arranged in a semi-circle, with only a couple available to play through from the start. More unlock as others are played for the first time, along with new modes of play for previously tackled games appearing, meaning that there are in fact far more than twelve games in total, and there is also the ability to tackle almost everything in a multiplayer version for added longevity.
Usually in games of this ilk, there will be a mixture of fantastically addictive mini-games and the odd few that are real stinkers and should have been left on the cutting room floor. However, with Wii Play: Motion you would expect each and every game to be of the highest quality. After all, Nintendo did go out to a large collective group of developers and get their best ideas thrown onto the pile, only for the supposed cream of the crop to be selected. Unfortunately, though, despite mini-games such as Skip Skimmer (Good Feel’s throwing stones across a lake game) and Pose Mii Plus (Skip’s adaptation of the original Pose Mii, where a Mii character must be positioned properly to fit through a certain gap) being extremely fun, there are others that are lacklustre in comparison, or downright awful in the case of Trigger Twist.
Prope, headed up by ex-SEGA man Yuji Naka, brought Trigger Twist to the table, where players must aim at numerous targets, UFOs, balloons, and so on, shooting them down as quickly as possible, with some targets requiring the Wii Remote Plus to be positioned away from the TV screen. Sadly, whereas previous target-based mini-games or on-rail shooters over the past two years have been immensely enjoyable due to the speed of the reticule movement and high levels of accuracy, Trigger Twist feels somewhat ‘faulty’, with the added MotionPlus accuracy not exactly coming to the player’s assistance due to the slow speed in which the cursor moves. Oddly enough, the game requires players to actually move the controller to the side, off the screen completely, which becomes quite disorienting and, as a result, may make players somewhat disconcerted.
On the flip side, games like Skip Skimmer and Pose Mii Plus are thoroughly entertaining. The former involves selecting stones of differing size and shape, or even special items that get thrown into the mix later on, and then playing the mini-game in a similar fashion to that of the Frisbee mode in Wii Sports Resort. Holding the controller firmly, players can watch as their Mii smoothly moves the stone around in accordance to the user’s movements, and then it is a case of making a swift flick to launch the item across the water.
There is a lovely little Easter Egg whereby if the B button is held on the title screen, the scene changes to a hand holding a ball that can be rotated around to reveal the Staff Credits, as well as a fun kaleidoscope that reacts to the Motion Plus controller being moved around. Clearly the meat is in the mini-games, yet nice little extra touches such as this give it that special Nintendo feel. There are definitely some novel games included, like Jump Park where the controller is held vertically to begin with, then tilted from side-to-side to alter the angle at which your Mii bounces off trampolines, and when jewel targets are hit more platforms open up. A particular favourite has to be Teeter Targets where the Wii Remote is held on its side, mimicking the on-screen bar that needs to be rotated left or right and flicked quickly to launch a ball around the various arenas to hit targets, trigger time extensions and land in set locations. Some of the simpler challenges definitely prove to be the more addictive of the impressive line-up.
That is not to say the complicated games are not enjoyable, with one specific example jumping out: Spooky Search, which plays like the ghost collection aspect of Luigi’s Mansion. Players must move the Wii Remote around, sometimes off the screen, relying on the controller’s microphone to identify where spirits are hiding. When the microphone beeps like crazy, hitting the B trigger grabs the apparition and the player has to swiftly turn the Wii Remote to face the screen once more in order to drop it into a special machine. More awkward ghosts require the controller to be pointed in the opposite direction to where it is currently pulling away, eventually tiring it out before sending it off for disposal.
Mitchell Corporation’s Treasure Twirl also shows good use of the motion controls, with your Mii being lowered into the ocean depths by holding the controller on its side and rotating it away from you, then raising the Mii by rotating in the opposite direction, all the while tilting left or right to avoid obstacles. At the sea bed are treasure chests of differing size and the aim is to collect as much as you can, also grabbing diamonds, whilst dodging the likes of jellyfish, and proves to be highly entertaining. Overall, whilst there are a couple of average-to-poor efforts included, Wii Play: Motion actually proves to be extremely good fun either alone or with up to three friends tagging along.