Image via Wikipedia
The Nintendo Wii is one cool little device. I love this thing and I am always puzzled when I read or hear people say that ‘oh, people only bought it for the Wii Sports and then stopped playing’ or ‘no one buys games for the Wii’. What are they talking about? I know lots of people who have them and they not only continue playing, but BUY LOTS OF GAMES for the console. In fact, if no one buys games for it, then why do Wii games tend to dominate the top 20 sales charts? But, enough of that, there are some new games that are just fantastic and I thought I would put together a few capsule reviews of the games.
The more interesting games, for me, are the Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort games as well as the old fashioned platformers and racing games…all of which excel on the Wii. With the motion sensing controllers and the new Motion Plus add on for the Wii controllers, these games-when done right-are a blast and tons of fun. While the cartoony like graphics do tend to be overused (the Wii IS capable of superb graphics and smooth animation, most developers, sadly, want to stick with the cartoony look) and can be as tiresome as the gee-whiz graphics but little substance that seem to permeate the games on the other systems.
Wii Sports Resort
Wii Sports Resort is a brilliant example of a collection of games that not only are engaging, they encourage physical involvement. While you could play the games sitting down, they make you want to get up and actually act out what you are playing. For example, the Frisbee game makes you want to stand and actually go through the motions of tossing a Frisbee. While that sounds kind of dull, once you start playing, it gets very addictive. The airplane dog fight game is another that, on the surface, seems pretty dull but, in fact, pulls you in and you don’t want to stop. The collection also features updated versions of Wii Sports bowling, tennis and golf. The Motion Plus adaptor makes the games more accurate and far more challenging. My only complaint is that many of the games require you to recalibrate the Motion Plus. While it is not hard to do nor is it time consuming-you just place the controller on a flat surface for a few seconds-it gets tiresome after a while. This game is safe to buy at it’s full retail price as there is something for everyone and it is done very nicely. If you can find the version with two Motion Plus add ons, buy it. Otherwise, you will need to spend another twenty dollars for a second Motion Plus. You will need to purchase additional Motion Plus add ons for each additional player (up to four.)
The decades old game of Monopoly has made yet another virtual appearance. The Wii version of Monopoly is well done and lots of fun. You can choose from many different variations of the game and select different rule sets. Game play can be very faithful to original or as different as you want. The visuals are spot on and the game interface is easy to use and intuitive. My only real complaints are in the sound department. Play the game with the sound turned down. The narration is repetitive and often lags behind the game play and the music is 70’s lounge music…awful. The game is worth the retail price.
Super Mario Brothers Wii
The new Super Mario Brothers Wii game with co-op play is stunning. While the game itself is pretty much an update and amalgamation of all of the Mario 2D side scrollers, the ability to play-at the same time-with up to three other humans is just awesome. There is no online game play as this game is aimed at in-person game play. There are many ways to play and, perhaps, the best way to play is the ‘free play’ mode. The graphics are very nice and the sound is spot on. It has a very retro feel yet the visuals are very contemporary. While the 3D platformers, which came from the Mario world, are lots of fun, this 2D side scrollers makes me feel like I am a kid again having just as much fun now as I did then.
Raving Rabbids go Home
The Rabbids games are lots of fun and are, other than some first party games from Nintendo, a great example of how to effectively use the motion control scheme. In fact, I would think these games would be difficult to impossible without the motion controls. The latest installment in the Rabbids series finds our little friends, err, pests, trying to reach the moon. The usual Rabbid mayhem ensues and the hilarity is continuous. The game play is simple and a bit repetitive but the Rabbids are so much to watch you forget that the game play seems to be an after thought. This installment is not perfect-far from it-but it is a ton of fun to play. Buy it on sale, though.
Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games
Ten years ago, the notion of a game that featured both Mario and Sonic was something to laugh at since Nintendo and Sega were ‘mortal enemies’. Sega’s Dreamcast console, sadly, met an untimely demise and Sega exited the hardware business and became a software company. The first thing they did was buddy up to the three remaining console makers: Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. Ten years later, we’ve had a slew of games for Nintendo consoles that feature Sega properties. Sonic, sadly, has not had a really good game for quite a while. Sadly, this one does not do much to advance his career. Winter Olympic Games is not a bad game, but it is not a great one either. The visuals look fantastic and the sound is pretty good. Sega did a really nice job integrating the various Nintendo properties into the games but the Sonic stuff seems tacked on and this is really weird since Sega produced the game. The individual games are all based on real Olympic games and, as such, they range from really cool to ‘man, this sucks.’ Some games translate well to the video game world, others not so much. And what is Curling anyway? Seriously, what’s the point? This is one of those ‘man, this sucks’ games. Overall, the game is decent, but not at the full retail price. Buy this one used or on sale.