Nintendo’s Wii Sports Resort with bundled MotionPlus accessory is just out, and I tried them out today. Sports Resort is the same concept as the original Wii Sports that is bundled with the console, with a mostly different selection of games and more advanced gameplay, while the MotionPlus accessory clips on to the Wii remote to make the motion sensing more accurate and sensitive.
I was interested in the game as the original Wii Sports was groundbreaking and for some time the best game on the Wii. While Microsoft and Sony beat themselves to a loss-making pulp by maxing out processing power and graphics performance, Nintendo introduced what was really the next generation of gaming, something that is closer to the real thing than using a conventional controller, and the company is now reaping the reward. Other factors are the high quality of the software, and that it targets the entire family rather than hard core gamers.
The MotionPlus is a hard sell, in that it seems on the surface to do essentially the same thing as the original controller, it is annoying to have to buy more than one if you want to go multiplayer, and it increases the price of the game (though your next MotionPlus game will not be so expensive). It also drains the battery a little faster.
In reality, MotionPlus is a significant advance, adding a gyro sensor to the existing accelerometer. This enables games to respond to rotational movement as well as movement in straight lines – see this interview and this video for more detail. Games like Swordplay and Table Tennis – both in Sports Resort – would not be possible without it.
In fact, Table Tennis was one of the first games I tried, and it was extraordinary. I held the controller, pretended it was a bat, played table tennis – and it worked, more or less. Admittedly the game is a bit more forgiving than the real thing (at least on the beginner levels), but it’s still remarkable; and I don’t have room for a real table in my house.
Sports Resort is a lot of fun. There are 12 games:
- Table Tennis
- Power Cruising
- Air Sports (Flying, Skydiving)
Of these, only bowling and golf repeat games in the original Wii Sports.
The games are pretty simple; the Wii is all about fun and accessibility. They are still challenging though, and have that “just one more try” quality that is characteristic of the best games. In cycling, for example, you pedal with your hands, but frenetic hand waving does not work since if your cyclist runs out of breath, he stops for a swig of water, losing you the race. If you want to do really well, you need to master steering, which is fairly tricky, in order to ride in the draft of cyclists ahead of you, as well as pacing the pedalling correctly.
Archery is in some ways a similar concept to golf – judge where to aim taking into account the wind and the arc of the arrow. There are also some secret targets.
Swordplay is a real workout. You can parry, stab and swing, and its difficult to avoid edging forward towards the TV screen – it would not surprise me if one or two accidents occur – but this is an involving and energetic game, and a highlight of Sports Resort.
I love the Table Tennis as I’ve already mentioned.
Basketball is disappointingly simple – a team game is much harder to execute successfully.
Bowling is great but a bit too close to the earlier version.
Overall the game displays Nintendo’s usual skill and attention to detail – recommended for indoor fun.