Review: Wii Play Motion

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Reviewed by Gina Dvorak

Nintendo’s Wii Play Motion is a compilation of a dozen mini games designed for the Wii’s upgraded Wii Remote plus controller and letting players use their “Mii” avatars. Let’s face it: If you’ve liked the Mii games and have been pondering a Wiimote upgrade, this bundle sells itself.

That’s the good news. The better news is that quite a
few of those Mii games are pretty fun, especially if you can get the
family together.

First, though, let’s start with the controller: Players who haven’t picked up a Wiimote in awhile may not notice the
difference between the original and the new Wii Remote Plus controller.
(I didn’t.)  Players who have been playing with a Wii Motion Plus —
basically the original Wii controller elongated by the bottom attachment
— will probably appreciate the opportunity to upgrade to the new
norm, especially if they have plug-in accessories such as a steering wheel, a tennis racket or a golf club.
But enough about hardware; let’s get to the games.
Players have to try each mini game in order to unlock others, so in a sense, players are stuck with playing all 12. My favorite? “Pose Mii Plus,” easily. Figuring out how to rotate a “3D” Mii to fit into a
shape that doesn’t look like a person could ever fit through is BIG FUN.
Who knew? And players who like brainier challenges will also dig “Teeter Targets,” which is like mirco/strategic pinball.
Not surprisingly, all the Play Motion games
are exponentially more entertaining (and chaotic) when played with a friend, or two, or even three in some cases. For example: The
whack-a-mole game “Veggie Garden” is awesome, with enough variations to
keep players interested for a while. And the more mallets gamers throw
into the mix, the more ridiculous it gets to keep track of who’s
hitting what, especially if someone biffs and flattens a Mii.  Doing so
sends fruit flying into one’s line of sight for a few seconds, and that of
course leads to a repeat of the Mii flattening and fruit launching. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
If that seems like a hoot, pairing up with a friend for
“Jump Park” will certainly scramble a gamer’s brain. The mini game challenges players to take turns making split-decisions on where best to land in one’s bouncing Mii in order to
properly ricochet and grab blocks (points), or tools to help you grab
blocks (points). Confused? Experiencing it for yourself will help…
If a player’s ability to concentrate isn’t completely
drained by then, one can take a shot at “Star Shuttle,” which forces players to think backwards in order to properly fire a landing spaceship’s retro rockers.That’s slightly
challenging, given that one must think in terms of opposites (activating
the left thruster pushes you to the right, the back thruster propels
you forward, etc.), It’s too hard for little kids, but not
challenging enough for the older set, so that particular game tires out
well before you get to the finish line on your space station.
The youngest players will thoroughly enjoy trying to
keep ridiculous stacks of ice cream scoops from falling to the ground
in “Cone Zone”; skipping rocks — and other goofy if not aerodynamic
objects, enhanced with sound/visual effects that no mere rock could hope
to acquire — in “Skip Skimmer”; and getting around a la Mary Poppins in
“Wind Runner.”
“Flutter Fly” and “Spooky Search” are creative,
but will quickly wear players out mentally if not physically. The former forces players to furiously fan their controllers to navigate tediously through a rather
touchy maze. The latter has players chase ghosts into theoretical
off-screen corners via only audible cues. Yeah. Really.
“Trigger Twist” definitely fares better. With a nod to the earliest of Nintendo shooters, “Trigger Twist,” starts out fairly entertaining with players shooting aliens and
ninjas, but gets plain weird when you’re tasked with hunting odd-looking
CGI-ish dinosaurs. I guess that’s the price of “family friendly”
shooting games, but frankly, I was more creeped out by those weirdo
dinos than if they had been more believable-looking Jurassic Park-like
Overall, though, this pack is great for families,
especially (but not exclusively) those with younger children, and
probably worth a grab, especially if you can find it on sale down the road.

Wii Play Motion
Nintendo Wii
Rated E for Everyone 10+