Nintendo Wii

[last updated: 24-FEB-2012]

Big Beach Sports

RATING: 0/4

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Jul 2008

NOTES: First game.

Pretty dreadful.


As you're probably aware, one thing I dislike about video games is where it merely offers real sports but without anything truly magical added to it. Baseball without robots, tennis without obstacles, football without gratuitous deaths. I can almost see the appeal for a casual gamer, but for a cranky person like me I just don't see the point.

I'd seen advertisements for this game, and I laughed. American football! Volleyball! Some game where you throw little balls in a rectangle and whoever throws them furthest wins! All games that I don't think any member of the British population has ever actually bothered playing on a beach! Because our weather is crap! Needless to say, I had little intention to buy the game.

But lo and behold, it was one of the four games packaged with the system. I wanted to hope that there was at least some charm to the game, like the visual style wasn't as horrible as the box suggested, the motion sensing would be accurate, or if they happened to put the wrong disc in the box. No, no and no.

One thing that bothered me with the Wii at first was the fact that motion sensing just wasn't one of those things that had been perfected, and until it was I had little to look forward to of good quality. Wii Sports worked it out pretty well, but this just doesn't make the cut. Volleyball, a sport requiring much athleticism in reality (and a petite frame if you want a crowd gathering), really is boiled down to raising the remote a couple of times and then swinging it forward, and repeating until the computers make a boner. That ball throwing thing really is pointless - and pardon my Francois in an otherwise clean review - but what the hell-ass-cock-balls is it doing in a video game? It's not even a sport you need to do on the beach! All you need is something to make a rectangle, a few balls and there you have it. No need to deal with motion insensitivity and if you get frustrated you can just throw the ball at someone.

There's six games on offer, but I did not have the patience to play more than three, let alone actually finish any of them.

If this had been the first game I'd played, I would have had little faith in the Wii. Good thing for Wii Sports and Smash Bros., eh?

It's bad. I was really hoping for some redeeming qualities so I wouldn't be like every hilarious internet critic ever and give it a comically appalling rating, but I'm afraid that's the way it is.

| return to top |


Completion: No ending, I imagine.

Boom Blox

RATING: n/a

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Summer 2010

A quirky little diversion.


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: No.

Cave Story

RATING: 4/4

TYPE: WiiWare

WHEN: Jun 2010

I'd hardly have believed a Metroidvania with a story would actually work. And by god does it work!


What is there to say that hasn't been said? It's an exploration game where you jump around and shoot things. There are plenty of secrets to keep me coming back for more. There's a story that I actually got very engaged with. It was made by one man over the course of five years.

How can I not respect the hell out of that?

I have the utmost respect for such an endeavour being pulled off with such remarkable results. It's a remarkably big game,a nd I sincerely doubt I will ever see everything there is to see in it... and I like that. Also, seriously, I'm really surprised that the story works so well. It's actually integrated to the game! The Castlevania series has story, of course, and there are indeed story scenes, but they're just wedged in between screens of whacking skeletons with axes, making them feel more like intermissions than anything. Cave Story has you actually talking to people! Of your own accord! Fancy that, eh? Since you're exploring an island that, although a bit of a death trap, is still home to many kinds of people and creatures, it just comes across as a more lively environment with a lot of life to it. It's hard to convey that when you're exploring a monster castle where everything inside is trying to kill you. Also, serious points for being so bittersweet. My first time through I was like, aw man, there's so many dudes I could've saved! It's cute and sugary and then halfway through it's like a parade of all your acquaintances dropping like flies. It's awesome.

Yeah, I'd say the game's pretty rad. Just dropping a 10/10 rating is very tempting, but I'd rather be a little more acquainted with the game before acting so boldly.

| return to top |


Completion: Haven't beaten the Labyrinth.

Donkey Kong Jet Race

RATING: 1/4

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Aug 2008

I'm all up for a bit of craziness, but this takes that cake and turns it into palindrome.


Steve picked this game up because, hey, it was cheap and had Donkey Kong in it! What more could you desire? A good game, preferably. OHHH.

Originally Donkey Kong Bongo Blast or something like that for the GameCube's bongo controllers, they decided to not go ahead with that even though the Wii still supports the bongo controllers, and instead have you thrust the Wii Remote and Nunchuk up and down in a very, very vague imitation of using one. It's nice of them to try, but I cannot say I even felt remotely like I was hitting bongo jetpacks by doing it. Or even felt like I was in control of the vehicle, for that matter. Each race is just a hideous cluster of remote-generated noise, in-game squeals and controls and mechanics so incomprehensible that I never understood if I was in the lead or falling behind. It's... just... I don't know. It's a game that's hard to critique because it is so unfathomable on what the hell's going on.

Poor Donkey Kong. Yet another example of his fall from grace that he's yet to recover from.

| return to top |


Completion: No.

Donkey Kong Country Returns

RATING: n/a

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Dec 2010

Well worth the wait.


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: Need to complete Mirror Mode and get shiny gold Time Trial records.


Endless Ocean

RATING: n/a

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Sep 2008

Haven't played. Looks strangely fun in its serenity.


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: No.

House of the Dead: Overkill

RATING: n/a

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Oct 2010

A rather unremarkable lightgun game, but it's worth it for the general ridiculousness.


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: Finished the Normal mode.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

RATING: n/a

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Aug 2008

Was mildly entertaining until those goddamned lightning bugs slowed down my shit!


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: No.

LostWinds

RATING: 2/4

TYPE: WiiWare

WHEN: Summer 2008?

Reminds me of Star Fox Adventures, and for all the wrong reasons.


Lots of people don't like the ending song of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, but I think it's pretty cool, and the simple premise of being wind, or at least in control of it, would be pretty neat in the realm of a puzzle game, y'know. In reality it'd probably be a little lame. And LostWinds is effectively a micro-sized Metroid game where, indeed, you control the wind.

This basically amounts to pushing water onto plants to make them grow, blowing fire into wooden gates, using stones to activate switches or break down doors, and blowing your little character all over the place. The puzzles are fairly simple, and never any harder than anything from the likes of even Goof Troop - at the very most, the only trouble I had was when I had to disregard logic and throw a giant fruit to break a door, regardless of the fact it's giant it still squishes easily under light pressure. In all honesty, the main problem I had at the beginning was knowing where to go.

See, the person you're helping explains where you should go next, but the problem is that he does this by naming the areas. Despite the fact you otherwise have no means of finding out the names of areas, and there's no map of any kind to even suggest where places are. There is a rough estimate of "east" and so on, but given the wonky way you progress through areas, this can be confusing. An area can have two exits on the right-hand side, one above the other. The top exit can lead into an area with two exits above each other on the left-hand side, but those bottom exits will both lead to different places. It's jarring and needlessly awkward, and given how you quite explicitly can't go to places until you're told to go there, it's bothersome.

And combat is entirely friggin' pointless. There's a whopping three kinds of enemy in the game - blue blobs, green birds and boulder crabs. Blue blobs are destroyed by ramming them into crap with the wind power, the birds and crabs need abused enough to split into the blobs, and then they're vulnerable. The problem is, you don't actually benefit in any way from this. Unlike most games where it's a simple matter of bam, they're dead, the enemies are very erratic about how and why they die. You can gust the blobs into a wall; sometimes they splat, sometimes they just stick to it. The birds are frighteningly pointless; they're taken out of the air with even the most gentle of gusts, and then they lie like horrible sacks of crap on the ground. You can fling them around and crash them into things, but they never seem to die and, quite frankly, once they're no longer a threat that's all you need to worry about. And that's another problem - the enemies are not very threatening. The blobs stick to you and you're warned to blow them off, but I had them on me for quite some time and never had anything noticeable happen. The crabs can claw at you, yes, but in all honesty the major reason I got hurt during the game was falling from a tall height or accidentally throwing a boulder in my face.

Despite that, the controls aren't bad for the most part. Manipulating rocks to sit on switches is a hassle since they either budge an inch or fly several feet, never anywhere between those. And, really, the only other thing I can nag about is the amount of talking - the intro is particularly joyless because you've got to wade through a long slog of dull exposition before you can get properly exploring. Once that is out of the way the most you hear from other people is just directions on where to go, so it just takes a bit of patience. I just feel it would've worked better with merely creating a great atmosphere and letting it speak for itself, rather than GAB GAB GAB GAB GAB. Super Metroid did just fine creating a great atmosphere with only a narrated introduction, and even then it wasn't totally necessary.

A lot of the elements remind me of Star Fox Adventures, of all things. The combat is entirely lifeless, the navigation is remarkably cumbersome, and the plot is a load of balls with lots of boring jibber jabber to sit through. But at the same time, there's a kind of charm. The graphics and music, and the whole atmosphere in both games, are beautiful - Star Fox is more jungle beats whereas LostWinds focuses on oriental tunes that make use of flutes and wind instruments, but both games have beautiful environments; it's just a pity that what takes place isn't that exciting. Star Fox Adventures bogged itself down with artificial lengthening and LostWinds just doesn't make the best of its length; the game doesn't get truly fun until you've gotten yourself the cape and can truly get exploring, and that's when the puzzles get lengthy - and then it ends with a totally pointless and non-threatening boss fight. It leaves itself open to a sequel, but unless it really improves and cuts out the crap, I can't say I'll be in a rush to get it.

| return to top |


Completion: Finished (didn't collect all the stupid totem things).


Further reading: One of many games I played in 2009.

Mario Kart Wii

RATING: n/a

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Aug 2008

Fun times! A bit unbalanced, mind you.


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: 100%.


Further reading: First impressions.

Mega Man 9

RATING: n/a

TYPE: WiiWare

WHEN: Oct 2008

It's friggin' Mega Man, except this time they put a bit of love into it! What's not to like?


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: Finished. Need all achievements.

Metroid: Other M

RATING: 1/4

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Feb 2011

An intriguing little experiment, but man, so much bullshit!


[NEW!] Oh snap, some other guys are working on a Metroid game! And the previews do a terrible job of actually showing what the game plays like! How did it fare?

Well, it didn't work as a story because the plot is cookie-cutter anime garbage where nobody has anything worth saying and pointless symbolism is used like packing peanuts. It doesn't really work as a Metroid game because the exploration is a diluted and you don't get the privilege of actually discovering new items, just being granted usage of them. And as an acrobatic combat game, it gets rather tedious and repetitive having to use the same attacks every time and never getting any reward for defeating anything.

Mind you, it wasn't a totally rotten experience. I won't deny I have some memories of actually enjoying the game (heaven forbid!), and I'm quite happy to regard it as an "intriguing experience." That said, there was a lot of bullshit where I just planted my face into my knuckles and muttered, "for fuck's sake."
I think that's a good way of summing up Metroid: Other M.

| return to top |


Completion: Finished.


Further reading: Big ol' rant after finishing the rental.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

RATING: n/a

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Jul 2008

Haven't played.


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: Steve finished it.

Metroid Prime Trilogy

RATING: n/a

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Dec 2010

Haven't played.


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: See individual games.


Further reading: See the entries for Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade

RATING: n/a

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Nov 2010

Good combat, great graphics. Not sure about the rest of the package.


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: No.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

RATING: n/a

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Nov 2009

I am going to be so biased towards this.


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: 100%.


Further reading: E3 impressions and first impressions. Also one of many games I played in 2009.

NyxQuest

RATING: 3/4

TYPE: WiiWare

WHEN: Nov 2009

A competent little platformer that makes for a satisfying couple of hours.


When I first heard about NyxQuest, I heard it being compared to LostWinds. In the world of gaming journalism this would be a positive thing since LostWinds was highly acclaimed, and despite all my nags about it it definitely had the workings of a decent game, even for WiiWare; but yeah, comparing it to that game didn't exactly prompt an enthusiastic response from me. Thankfully, the only real resemblance between the two is that they're platformers, they're both visually and musically nice, and use a basic play style of "move with the Nunchuk, use omnipresent powers with the Wii Remote."

You play as a goddess of some degree named Nyx who's off to save Icarus, while the eternal flame of the titans has decided to go rampant and toast the world so it can start afresh, and she's got to take care of that, too. Nyx controls nicely and is fairly flexible on her own - she can walk, run, jump up to five times (they're slowly replenished if you're in an air current, and restored instantly upon landing) and glide for a limited time. She has no direct means of attack, but otherwise she's quite capable of exploring the surroundings without assistance, being able to leap high and travel far - the polar opposite of that guy from LostWinds, who was an incompetent little pudding without the wind powers. Along the way you gain access to the powers of various Greek gods - Zeus grants you the power to grab stuff, allowing you to push, pull and throw boxes, grab flames, topple towers and all kinds of fun things. Eolus grants you control over wind currents, though unlike LostWinds you can't use the wind anywhere - you explicitly need gusts coming from walls or the floor to manipulate, though the paths are sometimes hard to make when under pressure, and the game loves putting them close to spikes. Finally, there's... Colossus? I can't remember, but he gives you friggin' lightning bolts. You just aim at the screen and zap the crap out of everything. It is awesome.

While LostWinds was nonlinear and used its new abilities to let you explore new parts of old areas, NyxQuest is simply split into levels and the new abilities are simply to throw in new elements to the level design. You begin with a level that's simply Nyx on her own, no powers, then you're given a new power after the game has exhausted all of its challenges and uses. The level design can hardly be called complex - the basic path is still simply left to right, though each level has two treasures to collect, which are usually placed in obscure or dangerous locations just to mix things up - getting them all apparently unlocks an extra level, but I didn't bother. There's never really any times where you wonder where to go or face a completely incomprehensible puzzle - admittedly realising the wonky gravity regarding destructible blocks took a few minutes to wrap my head around, but the game is reasonably challenging but remains engaging throughout. If I had to cite flaws, it's probably that the levels kind of drag at times - they're decent lengths, but the visuals of the game, although nice and stylish, do get very samey. The silhouetted-against-the-sky style is one I've always wanted to see done extensively in a game, but unfortunately, they limit themselves by the story - there's no blue skies, purple skies or anything fancy and exotic, but it's all hues of orange and red. Appropriate for the setting, but it would've been nice just to have a little variety, but you can't win 'em all.

It takes a little while to get rolling and the straightforward gameplay probably won't interest some looking for more unique experiences, but I enjoyed it and poopoo on your opinion.

| return to top |


Completion: Finished. Need all Relics.


Further reading: One of many games I played in 2009.

Onslaught

RATING: n/a

TYPE: WiiWare

WHEN: Apr 2009

Not bad.


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: Finished.


Further reading: Blog entry.

Rayman Origins

RATING: n/a

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Jan 2012

Pretty darn stylish!


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: Fully completed, missing only the time trial trophies / high score medals.

Rayman Raving Rabbids 2

RATING: 0/4

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Jul 2008

NOTES: First game.

Probably a laugh in multi-player, but alone it's pretty dull.


I played it once, and not enough for a legit opinion, but I can't say I wanted to play more. Reminded me a lot of Crash Bash in the sense that the mini-games were incomprehensible and lasted way longer than they should've; now with the addition of wonky Wii Remote controls!

| return to top |


Completion: No.

Red Steel

RATING: 2/4

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Sep 2008

Wasted potential.


I never touched it and only got watching my brother play it. The setting didn't look too inspiring (what else is new) and the turning, as always with first-person Wii games, seemed stiff and awkward, but what bugged me was the sword fighting. Heavily promoted and essentially a major selling point of the game, it turned into... stiff, clumsy, heavily awkward bizarro-sumo battles. Rather than any realistic movement, you just followed predetermined movements to do predetermined attacks and techniques, and some of them looked pretty friggin' bizarre - shaking the Nunchuk and waggling the Remote to do a slide-between-the-knees slash attack? The future of realistic, virtual reality gaming, folks! And seriously, the fun of sword fighting in movies is letting the battle spiral into oddball locations; instead you're walled into a circle in a room and if you move outside of it both you and the opponent politely shuffle back to the centre. It's... hilarious in its stupidity. It's like people are battling to the death and then their mothers come along and scream "don't step on the carpet!" and they politely obey. It also completely screws up any chance of a good winning combo, so that's mega sucks.

I'm giving it a 2 because I'm judging just from watching someone else play and struggle with it. If I were to experience it myself I imagine I wouldn't be so generous.

| return to top |


Completion: No.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

RATING: n/a

TYPE: WiiWare

WHEN: Oct 2010

Could've used their time more productively.


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: Close enough. Need all Chaos Emeralds.


Super Mario Galaxy

RATING: n/a

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Nov 2008

The spheroid galaxies are kinda innovative, but I simple prefer the usual sane territory.


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: 100% as Mario.

Super Paper Mario

RATING: 1/4

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Jul 2008

First appears to be building up to something better, but never actually reaches it.


I didn't enjoy it.

I'd like to say "I'm renowned for my distaste of RPGs," but that would imply that I'm actually popular enough for that opinion to spread far. The fact remains that only having a tenuous control on your character/group and your input restricted to little more than choosing options just doesn't quite float my boat. The Mario RPGs provide the ever-so-simple addition of requiring timed inputs to attack and defence commands, and that somehow makes it so much more bearable for me. Both games had parts that were flat-out not fun (I'm looking at you, Flower Fields and that bit where you've got to backtrack to everywhere you've been before you can go to the moon!), but the simple battle system that actually requires some mild input was enjoyable. And hey, third time's a charm, right?

Screw that, let's make a platformer.

This should rock my socks to the Nth dimension. It's 2D, it's on a TV console, it's side-scrolling platformer, and you can play as not only both Mario brothers, but also as Peach and Bowser, each with their own unique skills! All it needs is assured good level design, co-operative multi-player and perhaps some better graphics and I would be making foulness in my undergarments.

But extra characters aren't enough - this is an RPG series after all! The main gimmick of the game lies in how Mario can transcend from the 2D dimension to the 3D world. 2D trees hide previously-unseen items in the 3D world, gaps with no means across are revealed to have walkways once you flip to three dimensions, and platforms become accessible that you couldn't see before. Each area is quite literally two whole worlds to explore, and there's plenty of exploration going on. Sneakiness abounds.

The problem is this subsequently ruins everything else that was good about the game. Those extra characters? They can't enter the 3D world. No way, no how. Peach has a floating ability and Luigi can jump to high places, but since so much time is spent fumbling around in 3D, when I actually required these skills I was often puzzled at how I was meant to get past the obstacle, forgetting the characters. Not to mention Bowser has flame breath, but he's too fat to go down pipes, is a huge target, and I can only remember his skills being demanded a whole twice. Plus, when I think 2D platformer (especially 2D Mario platformer), I think fast-paced excitement action. This is not a fast-paced excitement action game. This is a game that wants exploration, item finding, key collecting, puzzle solving, and... well, things you do in RPGs. This was no hassle in the other games because, well, they were RPGs. This is a 2D platformer, and subconsciously I am expecting fun, but am being delivered disappointment. It's like if Benny Hill and Rik Mayall spontaneously met in Future Sweden for what was advertised as madcap physical comedy, but instead sat down talking about the snooker scores.

And to rag further, the other games worked because they were designed as RPGs and designed in 3D. Super Paper Mario's 3D realm, merely being an expansion of the 2D world, is not interesting. It is sparse, it is primarily flat and blocky, and due to the way the 3D world is revealed, the camera is never in a happy place. You'll always be seeing the far end of the room, but if you're walking backwards (towards the screen) you will not have much warning before pits or enemies crop up. Every 3D area is designed like a tunnel, and while this works for typical linear left-to-right movement as you're seeing what's coming ahead, it doesn't take long before you've got to explore for nooks, crannies and paraphernalia, which means you'll be going in every odd direction. This does not work so well, and considering you're either going to be seeing the same old 2D world or the very samey 3D world, it's going to be grating! Compare this to the previous games, where although each area had a rough rectangle to work with, it was built to frame around scenery that was pleasant to look at, so that you got the best available angles. You saw everything you needed to see and it was pretty. It was practical!

Also, the hub world is a fucking bitch to explore. It was what pushed me too far and made me stop playing. Yes, I get it, you want me to use my newfound powers to reach new areas to do something insignificant, but can't I just go to the next world now? The story was hardly gripping in the first place, so to have it drawn out with those segments was not exactly joyous.

I wanted to enjoy Super Paper Mario, but I just don't think it and I were made to get along. If it had focused on making a good 2D or 3D game and not tried to cram the other into it, there's a chance I could have lasted out longer than the fifth chapter.

| return to top |


Completion: Steve completed it.


Further reading: Blog review.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

RATING: n/a

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Jul 2008

NOTES: First game!

Excelsior!


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: Need a few challenges completed.


Further reading: Buying the game and then getting a console to play it on.

Wario Land: The Shake Dimension

RATING: 3/4

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Sep 2008

Dear everyone: Make more 2D platformers with sexy visuals.


In a nutshell, it's like Wario Land 4 except with Wii Remote gimmickry, a few vehicles, awesome visuals, and a feature I very much liked: Challenges. Like, finish the level quickly, or do it without getting hurt, or don't collect silver coins. Finish all the challenges for a level and you unlock the music! See, the fact the game actually provides you these challenges rather than self-imposing them makes them credible for me.

Yeah.

Look, this is a badly written review, but it's because I already reviewed it. It's a bit more detailed.

| return to top |


Completion: Finished everything except the challenges.


Further reading: Blog review.

WarioWare Smooth Moves

RATING: n/a

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Oct 2008

More of the amusing same, but with silly movements required.


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: Pretty much done.

Water Warfare

RATING: 3/4

TYPE: WiiWare

WHEN: Aug 2009

A cute little change.


Hudson's earlier downloadable FPS Onslaught put a lot of its emphasis on working together, what with only offering co-op multi-player modes and having two people hanging to your ass for the entire story. Water Warfare, meanwhile, pushes the death match a lot more, despite being a lot more cutesy and kid-friendly. How about that.

What makes this quirky is that rather than toting around assault rifles and grenades and all manner of unpleasant armaments, the cutesy anime-styled characters are equipped with varieties of super soakers, from simple waters pistols to water bazookas to even friggin' water sniper rifles. They all run on water, of course, and once you're out you need to find means of refilling it (standing in a shallow pool or at a water tap) or just pick up a new gun. There's also a variety of items, used by pressing the C Button and with a wide range available, from simple grenades (water balloons or buckets of water) to shields (rainproof smocks) to Mario Kart levels of dickery (an umbrella that summons rain clouds). It's a cute and pleasantly non-violent way of making an FPS, though it does disrupt the flow of action a fair bit when you need to constantly run around for a way to top up your water; Onslaught at least gave you four weapons at once to toggle between, Water Warfare leaves you utterly helpless until you rectify the situation.

The single-player mode doesn't feature a story like in Onslaught, but instead is a series of challenges set over five maps, all with time limits but featuring different objectives. The most common is simply defeating a certain amount of people in the time limit, but things when interesting when it explores other modes - there's a checkpoint race, capture-the-treasure-chest, base assaulting, sniper challenges, and even a few brief stealth segments where you have to steal an item from the enemy base and get back without being seen. All of them are fun and engaging (though the checkpoint races are often rather unfair), the team affairs being a particular highlight, and it's a certain step upwards from the rather monotonous levels of Onslaught. On the downside, some levels are far too large for their own good, and the radar only recognises your allies, so if there's only one enemy left to find quite often you'll be hunting over the entire map without any luck. It's not too bad since if you outnumber the enemy you'll succeed once time runs out, but it's a little frustrating, y'know.

Aside from that, the rest of the game relies entirely on deathmatch. You can play it alone with seven computer-controlled opponents, or play it with a friend in split-screen, but given how the game supports up to eight players at once, it really wants to emphasise the online option. Problem is, not many people play it, and quite often I can't find anyone. This is saddening, as although you are able to play deathmatch offline against CPU opponents, they've never that smart; the scripts they follow are as plain as day, and quite often the best way to take care of them is just stand in front of them and blast away, as their rate of fire is remarkably slow.

Despite the setbacks, there's something strangely endearing about the game. It's probably an acquired taste and not something everyone will enjoy, but once you get used to it, there's some moderate fun to be had.

| return to top |


Completion: Totally finished as far as I'm aware.

Wii Fit Plus

RATING: n/a

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Nov 2009

An entertaining little niche until it loses its steam. Also mumsy wanted it, I AM CONTENT WITH POWER WALKS.


[no review]

| return to top |


Completion: No ending.

Wii Play

RATING: 1/4

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Aug 2008

An entertaining diversion, but Laser Hockey, Billiards and Tanks are the only ones that seemed like true games to me.


A game that sold over 26 million copies worldwide just because it comes with an extra Wii Remote. We gamers sure as suckers, aren't we?

SHOOTING RANGE: Well, it's a shooting range. Effectively a souped-up Duck Hunt. It's not bad, but it's nothing impressive; the 2-player mode is pretty average.

FIND MII: Find the odd Mii out from a crowd. Disgustingly simple, but it's actually embarrassingly fun in multi-player if everyone's in the mood to feel like idiots. I mean that in a good way. Even as a single-player game it's not bad, if you're up for a really, really minimalist gaming session.

TABLE TENNIS: Even more simplified from the regular Tennis from Wii Sports. The doubles partners are gone, and you don't even need to swing this time! Just move the paddle to where the ball is and it's automatically knocked back. It's faster-paced than the Wii Sports Tennis, but I never really got into this one; didn't sit quite as comfortably with me.

POSE MII: Tilt the Wii Remote to fit your Mii into silhouettes. It's as about as fun as it sounds. Not even 2-player can save this stinker.

LASER HOCKEY: Worthless in single-player due to the dumb-as-nails AI. Multi-player is pretty fun, but the oddly shaped paddles make it uncomfortable for me, personally; more often than not the ball just gets stuck behind it, and worrying about how you're holding the remote just gets to me. An option for a line-shaped paddel or a round one would've been nice, but psshh, options? That's asking a lot from the game!

BILLIARDS: In theory, this should work great on the Wii; a spot of virtual Billiards with motion controls and without the need for a giant table dominating a room would be really convenient. The problem just lies in the rather spotty controls. The "pull-back" function isn't well conceived because folks don't like to hold a remote straight out at the television like it's a Star Trek phaser, but if you hold it any other way, trying to make it recognise you're moving the remote backwards can be a struggle. If you know how to work it, it's not too bad, but what kills the game are the lack of options. The chance to play Pool or even Snooker would've been nice, but this single mode of play is all you get. Still, if you can work around the kinks, it's not bad.

FISHING: Intriguing idea, and in single-player it'd almost be a nice relaxing little diversion if, again, you could set some options for yourself, and if it weren't rather uncomfortable working with the Wii Remote in 3D space. It feels very unnatural having access to all three movement axes at once, all in this metaphysical non-tangible three-dimension space, just to pick up some cartoon fish. This one's a bit of a mess in multi-player due to the iffy controls, but it's an intriguing idea.

CHARGE!: Cute. An okay contest in multi-player, but there's just not enough meat to make it worthwhile. It's the kind of thing that could be expanded upon (a horseback archery contest?), but in its current state it's just no more than a minor diversion.

TANKS!: Now we're talking! It's a proper game! A very simple, but very fun and decently challenging game. The kind of game that'd work fine as a regular controller-based game, but the motion controls add to it effectively (unlike the rest of this package, where the motion controls are the game). The 2-player is great and adds some fun co-operative strategy to the game, but allows for competitive play as well. A few nags, though - it's pretty dumb how you're totally obscured from view if you move against the backside of a wall. That could easily have been avoided with some bare-basic transparency. Also, I wish the game kept track of your progress and allowed a level select; it's disappointing to have a proper, comparatively-meaty game on the disc, and then have to slog through it all in one sitting.

You can't really compare Wii Play to Wii Sports. The latter, although little more than an introduction to the Wii, still did a decent job of establishing the motion controls with simple but enjoyable games. This game, meanwhile, is little more than a glorified tutorial to using the Wii Remote, and retailed for 35. There's a couple of semi-decent games, but the package as a whole just feels like a compilation of tech demos (because that's what it is, hurf) with minimal attempt to try and plump them up. It would've been nice to see some of the concepts used to greater depths, but the selection just feels hollow. Tanks! is good, but I wouldn't want to throw 35 on it without a lot more decent content (and no, an extra Wii Remote doesn't count).

| return to top |


Completion: No ending.

Wii Sports

RATING: 2/4

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Jul 2008

NOTES: First game.

More a tech demo than a game, but it's a relatively decent one.


A collection of five games to highlight the console's motion controls. You might have heard of it!

TENNIS: As a single-player game, not bad, if a bit hampered by the limited enemy AI. Playing with friends is where it's at. The simplified game design is quite admirable; movement is automated and it's more down to knowing when to strike. The ball can always be hit, you just need to know which of the two doubles partners can hit it and when, which is not only a great mechanic for a casual game, but also a recipe for hilarity in 4-player. Motion controls streamline the game in a very fresh and entertaining manner - I was never too keen on using multiple buttons, and the "charged attacks" from Mario Tennis were responsible for more fumbles than victories. One of the main draws when there's multi-player to be had.

BASEBALL: As a batter, it's a lot of fun. As a pitcher, not so much. Streamlining the game into simply hitting and throwing the ball makes it a lot more playable, as my brief forays with baseball, both real and virtual, were rather confounding and not at all fun, so just having the running-around part totally automated is fine by me. However, this game suffers badly from a lack of good instructions.
The first-time-playing tutorial is not only unskippable, but not at all helpful; I've never quite figured out what's the best way to hold the Wii Remote for batting, and my personal technique for pitching is, as I call it, a bit of foreplay with the remote (read: waving it around like a lunatic. No, I'll never be the century's greatest lover). Pitching against the AI is a turbulent experience and you never quite know what you're actually going to do. Playing against friends is an uncomfortable experience because the tutorial is totally useless and I end up the only one who actually knows what to do (and even that's just me bullshitting). If there was a mode that was just batting all the time, that'd make me happy.

BOWLING: It's bowling! Wave the remote forward and you knock down some virtual pins! It's not high art, but it's probably the most balanced of the selection - perfect for playing alone and with friends. My only real beef is that no matter which Wii or TV I play the game on, there's always a quirk with rolling the ball. On my TV, it always veers gradually to the left. Maybe I'm just not doing it right or it's an oddity with the motion sensing. Still, it's good casual fun.

GOLF: Misery on fucking wheels. A very barebones, no-frills golf game with horrifically borked motion controls. Video game golf with motion controls is one of those things that should, in theory, be done efficiently, as your normal VG golf is a rather robotic affair full of icons, timing and power gauges. Not that that's a bad thing, as Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour is a frighteningly fun game of robo-golf. This, however, is just a totally unenjoyable mess.
The controls are really cumbersome, and somehow they're simultaneously amazingly sensitive and unbelievably unresponsive that it boggles the mind. You can train yourself to move your muscles in the exact same motion, speed and strength on command, and the game will find some way to wildly misinterpret them each time. Playing with a friends is a joke. You may as well just let a random number generator play the game for you.

BOXING: And finally, the one no one plays because they can't be bothered finding the nunchuks. Wave the remote around to hit people in the face. Hold it upright to block. 'Nuff said, I guess. It's not bad, but outside of being the most physically exerting of the games (yes, that's as daft as it sounds), it's nothing special. Playing alone is nothing exciting due to the lacklustre AI.
Playing with friends can be... interesting. Although it's entirely possible to have a proper boxing match with all kinds of mindgames going on, it's also entirely possible to just waggle like hell and hope for the best. I personally never quite got used to the controls; trying to precise aim your punches while not trying to get clobbered yourself, all with admittedly loose motion controls, does not make for very accurate control.

Ultimately, it's no masterpiece by any means, but to show to the world how dinky this whole motion sensing gimmick is, it did a good job. It does feel a bit dated now (review written May 2011!) and, let's face it, not all the games are winners. But for a free tech demo included with every console, you can't beat it up too much.

| return to top |


Completion: No ending.

Wii Sports Resort

RATING: 2/4

TYPE: Disc

WHEN: Aug 2009

Half of it is shit, but there's sword fighting!


[NEW!] A game packaged with the Motion Plus, an accessory that upgrades the motion sensing of the Wii Remote into something more sensitive and sophisticated... and what other games used it? Oh, Nintendo. You and your widely-hyped but ultimately-unused expensive accessories.

SWORDPLAY: This is what you buy the game for. Yeah, there's a bunch of other games on here, but the game should really have been called Wii Whacking A Dude In The Face With A Sword.
The Duel mode is a simple brawl, knocking the other player in the face until they fall off the platform (it's just now, believe it or not, that I've realised the American Gladiators parallel. When will they make a Wii game of that?); it's very simple to play and is a heap of fun, especially when you see other player's tactics - do they just waggle the control ferociously, or do they know about the block command? It's baby's first metagame we're talking here, but it's stupid, dumb fun. The single-player mode takes quite a while before it gets interesting, sadly. Speed Slice pits two players to cut up giant props in not only the quickest time, but also in the right direction - you have to cut it horizontally, diagonally and so on. It's amusing, but little more than a minigame.
The Showdown is the real meat and bones. Your Mii automatically treks across the island while beating the shit out of an army of enemy Miis; your job is just to knock 'em down and block appropriately. It's still simple and shallow as all hell, but swinging a remote around to knock down waves of goons does satisfy the old power fantasy. Just makes me wish the idea could be expanded into something with a little more depth.

WAKEBOARDING: Never quite saw the appeal of this one. Weave back and forth, jiggling the remote up and down like a buffoon to miraculously pull mad air and earn mega points. Didn't seem to be much strategy or actual input.

FRISBEE(!): This one really benefits from the Motion Plus, and learning how to arc and curve your throws really gives this one some great replay value. It took me a long time to work up the courage to try the Frisbee Golf mode, but I'm glad I tried it - it's really good! Frisbee Dog is a nice simple challenge with friends, but Frisbee Golf really tests your curvy throwing skills to the max. This one's a keeper.

ARCHERY: An intriguing one - the Wii Remote serves as the bow and the Nunchuk is pulled back like the bowstring. Um, if they were aiming for a realistic arching experience by doing this, it left the ballpark by a mile - it feels like some unfortunate ritual you have to do just to access the aiming rather than an immersive arching simulation. Awkwardness of holding a Nunchuk to your face aside, it's a fun one.

BASKETBALL: I think I tried the 3-Point Challenge once, and then never again. Playing the 3-on-3 Game for this "review" was the first time I'd even tried it. The 3-Point Challenge is one of those mini-games that's passable, but pretty forgettable. The 3-On-3 Game is actually pretty nifty: passing the ball, stealing it from the opponents, shooting hoops, it's done pretty well. It does limit your movement ability though; never quite understood how one is meant to move into the three-point range, but I'm hardly knowledgeable with basketball. Ain't bad, ain't great.

TABLE TENNIS: Tennis, except on a smaller playing field! This one helps show the slightly more fine-tuned motion sensing in comparison to the original Wii Sports, though losing the Doubles matches and having a smaller field to work with makes it lose some of the challenge, I feel. The Return Challenge is a pleasant little distraction, though.

GOLF: Well, it's still golf. The controls are a bit easier to handle thanks to the more responsive and/or sensitive Motion Plus, but it's still way too awkward to play comfortably.

BOWLING: Same as last time, except the controls are a bit better. Also, everyone wears Hawaiian shirts. There's a new 100-Pin Bowling mode where, you guessed it, there's a shit-ton of pins to knock over. It's pretty fun. No real surprises.

POWER CRUISING: What could have been an amusing checkpoint race challenge is fouled by the dumb control system. You hold the Nunchuk and Remote horizontally with the tops facing each other, like some kind of bracket-shaped handlebar (bracket the symbol, not bracket the right-angle shaped piece of architecture) and then tilt them to turn. It seems the only reason this ridiculous method is used is so you can twist the Remote like a motorcycle handle to use the boost. It ends up feeling hideously unnatural and isn't at all comfortable to control. Which is a shame, because the game is otherwise okay.

CANOEING: Use the Wii Remote as a paddle. It's unique, I'll give it that, but it's also not a lot of fun.

CYCLING: Welcome the wonders of motion-sensitive gaming, folks - you control your feet with your hands! It's as inane as it sounds. You flap the Nunchuk and Remote up and down to simulate pedalling, and tilt them to turn. This is dumb enough, but there's also an energy metre that makes your Mii collapse in exhaustion if you pedal too hard. Since flapping a remote up and down takes no energy whatsoever (unless your arms are prone to falling off), this just seems to serve as a handicap to prevent you from actually doing anything. Wii Fit would later have a cycling mode that's a lot more sensible, because you're actually using your freaking feet. That version loses the race mode, but that's no big loss.

AIR SPORTS: Aw yeah, aeroplanes! As a single-player venture, this is a calm, relaxing five minute fly around the island, and is actually a lot of fun. The plane controls very smoothly, and there's lots of intriguing sights to see - collecting the information balloons will unlock things along the way, like balloons to pop for score. 2-Player is a dogfight where you have to shoot the crap out of each other, and whoever has the most balloons wins. It's a great competitve game, but there are no options to configure - you can't disable the extra balloons from spawning, as all too often it descends from a shooting match into collecting the balloons before the other player. Still, one of the best in the game.

There's more games, more options, and more content for single-player ventures, but the game still remains on par with the original one. The Air Sports and Swordplay are great fun to pick up and play, but the rest are either merely "okay" or total forgettable stinkers. The good ones you wish they'd plumped out the content a bit more, and for some of them you wonder why they even developed them in the first place. Still, the game sold like hotcakes, so you can't fault its popularity.

| return to top |


Completion: Probably need all Air Sports bonuses or whatever.


Further reading: Blog entry.