Just when I was thinking about e-mailing Gameplay about my order yesterday, the package arrives this morning. It just also happened to be the day when the highschool exam results are sent out but that's another topic. Usually you'll see a student with straight As appearing on the news but haven't watched it today. I don't usually do, just read it online instead.
Anyway, after spending a few hours on Wii Play, I found it's more like a set of training games to get you used to the Wiimote. In fact, when you first load up the game you have to play the 9 mini games in order before you can unlock them all. I think the original Japanese title, "Hajimete no Wii (My First Wii)" describes it well but, I guess a name like that wouldn't have worked with the Western audience. I'm sure the first thing that comes to mind when you read that title (especially if you're a gamer) is, "I don't need anything to teach me how to use my Wii." Saying that however, the collection of mini games was amusing for a short while...
Once you're done with the short "lessons", you can earn yourself medals depending on how well you do just like Wii Sport's training levels; Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
The first game you start off with is easy enough. Point with the Wiimote and press the A or B button to shoot. There's basically 5 levels to play through, each with different targets. It starts off with balloons then moves onto targets, discs, cans and UFOs. Sometimes there's ducks flying by for bigger points. There's no reloading so you can (almost) just spam your way through the levels. It was very easy to get a high score for the platinum medal.
Reminds me of the cartoon I used to watch, "Where's Wally?" but not as well, colourful. As the name suggests you basically have to look out for certain Miis as the clock ticks down. The conditions change quite a number of times but usually you're just looking for matching Miis. Other conditions include finding the odd ones out, the fastest moving Mii and the "sleepy head". It might sound easy but it can become pretty difficult as you go up in levels. The number of Miis you have to search through increase, they start running around the screen and sometimes you'll have to look in the dark with a spotlight.
Looking at the screenshots, you would probably be expecting something along the lines of Wii Tennis but it's not. All you do is move the bat left and right to hit the ball back and try to reach 100 hits. Very boring. The two player mode experience is a little more interesting. First one to score 11 points wins.
For this game you have to use the A and B buttons to change between 3 different poses for your Mii. You then have to rotate the poses by twisting the Wiimote so that they match up with the angled silhouettes that appear on the screen. The idea is to match up these poses before the bubbles fall to the bottom of the screen. If 3 bubbles drop to the bottom it's game over. The game starts out slow but gets pretty exciting when the screen is filled with bubbles.
The game looks much cooler than the air hockey tables you'll find at arcades, that's for sure. Everything is outlined in neon lights and sparks fly as the puck clashes with its surroundings. All you have to do is try and hit the disc into your opponent's goal while trying to defend your own. Pointing at the screen moves your paddle and you can rotate it to hit at an angle. The action can get very fast and unfortunately, the controls don't work that well to keep up.
A game of Nine Ball where you must choose a focus point on the cue ball first before you can pull the Wiimote back and push forward to hit it. This can be harder to control than Wii Golf when you're pulling back with the Wiimote. The idea is to hit all the balls into the pockets on the table but you must always hit the target ball first. You get a score by using the least number of shots to pot all balls. It's pretty fun considering the skill involved.
This isn't as fun as pulling up fish in Zelda:TP. You don't need to cast your line and you don't get to "wind" the nun-chuk to pull in your catch. You simply lower your line and pull it up when you have a catch. Every fish has a certain number of points and if you manage to catch the current bonus fish displayed, you get double the points.
One of my favourites. Here you're riding a cow on a farm race course. You hold the Wiimote sideways and tilt it to control the cow, no buttons used. There are scarecrows to knock down for points, fences to jump over and a timer to beat. The problem with this game is you only have one course to play. In two player mode the course feels longer because you're only limited by how far you can go within the time limit.
You can use the nun-chuk's analog stick in this game if you want to but the D-Pad on the Wiimote itself works well enough. You move your tank around maps, aim by pointing your Wiimote, fire shells with the B button and plant mines with the A button. Destroy enemy tanks and you're onto the next level.
The Wiimote itself costs £30 which means you're really buying this Wii Play collection of mini games for £5. Not too bad in terms of value for money. I have to say my personal favourites were only "Shooting Range" and "Charge!" though. The rest of the games were just too average and limiting so the amusement didn't last long, even in two player mode. That said, the mini games should be entertaining enough for young children. Wii Sports is much better in my opinion because the activities are much more engrossing and longer. I won't be going back to Wii Play much.
Now, back to playing some Mario Strikers then! Gameplay actually dispatched my copy of Trauma Centre: SO today so it should arrive in time for its release date this Friday. Or, since I paid for first class postage, it might even arrive on Thursday morning but I doubt it. I've said it before but I'll say it again... Can't wait! I just wish they dropped the price a little to say £20~25 if the game truly is only 10 hours long.
On a side note, I saw an advert for the operation game on prime time terrestial TV this evening. You see a doctor in the operating theatre holding the nun-chuk and Wiimote followed by clips of the game. I'm glad to see they've got some advertising going for it. I'm curious to see how well it'll do in the UK charts once it's out.