Wii Play: Motion Review – Can Wii Get the Party Going Again?

Wii Play: Motion is the latest in Nintendo’s long series of multi-player party games. It is the sequel to Wii Play and packs in a whopping 12 games. It does also include a Wii Motion Plus-enabled controller, but is all of that enough for gamers to want to get out there and plunk down $50?

Now, if only you could let it all drop into your Mii's mouth as a victory pose...

In Cone Zone players will be living out their dreams of stacking ice cream scoops as high as they possibly can — oh, what, am I the only one? You simply hold an ice cream cone and the scoops are plopped on automatically. All you have to do is balance the horrendously high tower of ice cream, watching in awe as it sways from left to right. In two-player mode your towers can even bump into each other, causing a bit of panic as you attempt to re-balance your scoops. There is a Swirl Mode, though it seems to be more for the reaction people will get after they see the ridiculously terrible cone of ice cream you’ve made.

Violence is not the answer...well, unless there are some moles trying to steal your vegetables; then it's the only answer.

In Veggie Guardin’ (hah), players will be smacking moles with mallets, as they usually tend to. I thought the controls were done really well, and it made me think that Nintendo successfully brought home an arcade staple — though you won’t be getting any tickets for playing to win overpriced trinkets (maybe that’s a good thing?). You simply move the Wii remote from left to right, and swing downwards to hit the moles. There are also some Miis who you’re not supposed to hit, so they kind of keep you on your toes. The game even gets intense in some sections in which the moles are leaping at a fast, constant, almost desperate rate; and if you get far enough, there’s even a boss mole. It turned out to be a pretty fun game, surprisingly. A second mode will have you learning a pattern in which you must whack the moles, ala the game, “Simon”.

Go outside and skip some real rocks. This is just frustrating.

Skip Skimmer is a rock skipping game that, really, I just could not get the hang of. I was able to skip the rocks, sure, but when it came time to actually aim them for the purpose of going through hoops and whatnot, I simply could not do it. I tried several times, becoming frustrated as similar throws would result in very different trajectories. I mean, I’ve been able to do well at Wii Sports Resort’s frisbee and bowling, and I can skip rocks in real life, so why is this so hard? Part of it is that the game just tells you to get to it, without hardly any explanation. The other part may be that you don’t actually release a button to throw, but it’s when the Wii remote comes to enough of a stop that the rock zips out of your hand. I wasn’t thrilled with this one.

Get ready to flip your remote in every direction possible. Pose Mii Plus becomes quite hectic.

Pose Mii Plus is a game in which you’ll be flipping your Wii remote in different directions to properly position your Mii to go through pre-made holes. If you’ve played Wii Sports Resort, it’s kind of similar to the skydiving event, except that it requires a bit more finesse. It’s pretty fun, and works well, but it probably won’t last for many play-throughs.

There's a ninja to your left off-screen! Now there's one on your right! Check the rooftops! Oh, wait, I couldn't find a picture of the ninja level. Nevermind.

Trigger Twist turned out to be one of my favorite mini-games. Your Mii stays in place and you can aim at things on screen, but the twist here is that you can actually move the Wii remote to the left and right, all the way around while moving the screen, to see what’s around you. The controls seem to want to drag back towards the front, but once you get used to that, it’s pretty cool aiming at ninjas who are circling you and hiding in the grass. The things you shoot at are varied in what they do, and in their patterns, so it doesn’t get too repetitive. My only gripe here is that there are only three differently themed levels. I would have really liked to see more levels based on the ninjas.

Jump Park is a game in which you control a constantly jumping Mii by tilting the Wii remote in the direction you’d like your Mii to go as he/she lands. Players are given a bit more control in that they can tap the “A” button to launch their Mii in the direction their feet are pointing. While there isn’t a time limit, you will be timed, and so the challenge comes in getting to the finish line faster than other people you play with. It was one of the more enjoyable games for me, though again, it would have been nice if it were a bit more fleshed out with more levels and/or gameplay features.

It's so simple, yet the excellent controls will have you gripping tightly until the end.

Teeter Targets was possibly my favorite solo game of the whole bunch (perhaps tying with Trigger Twist). With just some controllable paddles strewn about the thirty levels, some blocks, and a blue ball that must be guided to destroy targets, Teeter Targets somehow managed to be an intense, engaging experience. The levels start off simple, with everything taking place on one screen, but by the end you will be precariously bouncing that blue ball around a whole level, just hoping that this time you won’t drop it (which causes you to restart at the beginning). The controls are really good on this one. As I played, I learned to give different amounts of tilt to the ball to vary its speed, and flip the paddles at different times, sometimes while the ball was more towards the base, and sometimes flicking it just as it reached the lip. It requires a great amount of skill, and despite its simplicity, it is definitely worth playing.

The multiplayer mode, on the other hand, well, I didn’t like it quite as much. After I had mastered all thirty single-player levels, I challenged my girlfriend on the multi-player mode. She had never played this game, and yet with only some rapid flipping of the Wii remote, lacking both finesse and skill, she managed to trounce me. The multi-player mode has simpler levels than the single-player one, and apparently they’re easy enough that you can just randomly whack the ball around and win (grumble, grumble).

Become a real life Ghost Buster, right in your own living room.

Spooky Search has one of the more unique gameplay mechanics of the group. In it, players will be physically turning around and aiming the Wii remote in all directions, listening to some beeps that increase their rate as players get closer to aiming at ghosts. Once the buzz sound occurs, players must press a button and pull the ghost towards the television. Some ghosts are harder to capture, requiring that the Wii remote be pulled in the opposite direction that the ghost is flying, similar to Luigi’s Mansion. There are some on-screen Miis who will try to help you discover the ghost’s location too. If you’re playing in a room with other people, they can tell you what the Miis are saying to give you additional help while you’re turned around and aiming away from the television. Spooky Search has a cool game-play hook, though I think it will mostly appeal to younger children.

Fancy a go as merry poppins? You know you want to.

Wind Runner will have you taking hold of an umbrella, letting the strong gusts of wind carry you as you traverse obstacle courses filled with gems to collect, tricky hoops to fly through, and gaps and oil spills to leap over. This is another game that I would expect to find in an arcade, and I had a lot of fun with it. Holding the “A” button will pop out your umbrella, allowing you to catch some wind, and holding the controller level will give you an extra boost of speed. Flicking your controller upwards a bit will make your roller skate-wearing Mii jump so you can avoid obstacles and collect gems. Players are awarded based on how little time it took them to get to the finish line, and gems will add to their points, so they’re very much worth collecting. The frame rate doesn’t seem as smooth as it should be, but it doesn’t detract too much from the experience, and it’s one of the better games in the collection.

Steal treasure from the creatures of the sea, because they can't buy things anyway.

Treasure Twirl has you holding the Wii remote sideways, rolling it forwards and backwards to move your diver up and down in the water. Surprisingly, the game tells you to play it without the wrist strap, and if you’ve been playing any Nintendo-made games, you know that’s borderline heathenism. Well, anyway, you can tilt to the left and right while rolling the Wii remote forwards and backwards to descend, avoiding enemies, and gathering treasure. Getting hit will force you to drop one of your treasure chests and decrease the amount of remaining air you have, forcing you to race back to the surface earlier than you planned to. The two-player mode is pretty interesting, because it has both players chained to two opposite sides of a metal basket that’s carrying treasure. You will both have to head to the surface at the same rate or risk some of your treasure flying out of the basket. You’ll each also be collecting treasure that’s within reach, and avoiding whatever creatures that are nearby.

Your forearms. They will be huge.

Flutter Fly will have players tilting their Wii remote around and flapping it to blow some balloons around a course. It seems like it is a pseudo-sequel to the mini-game found in Super Mario Galaxy that had players blowing a bubble around, except that this time the controls aren’t nearly as good; because the Wii remote is used to both change the angle from which you “flap”, and is used in a flapping motion to create wind, the controls simply aren’t as responsive as I would have liked. It was also quite physically tiring at times, so considering that, if you happen to have some overly energetic kids, have them play this. That may be its best use.

I wanted to go to infinite and beyond, and all I got was this space station.

Star Shuttle is a game that I thought I was going to thoroughly enjoy. The controls are a little complex at first, because you have thrusters that go in six different directions. The game also has a spacey feeling, so if you move in one direction and want to completely stop, you’ll have to give just as much force in the opposite direction to do so. The point of the game is for you to place a part onto a space station. That part will be connected to your ship, so if it’s on your right side, you will have to turn your Wii remote to the left so the part will be facing forward. While you have your Wii remote sideways, you will have to shift your thinking as well, remembering which button will now propel you forward. That’s essentially what makes the game so challenging. I thought that the game would evolve into some interesting and much expanded levels, but as I trudged on, the levels seemed much the same; so I ended up a little disappointed with Star Shuttle.

Wii Play: Motion is an interesting mix of games that seems like it could appeal to a broad audience. Just about everyone will have their favorites, but will also be able to enjoy several other games in the collection. A few of them (Spooky Search, in particular) are probably only going to appeal to kids, and there are more challenging games like Teeter Targets that perhaps only older gamers will enjoy. While Wii Play: Motion could be played alone for a few hours, it is best played with others. It is unfortunate that players will undoubtedly find a favorite amongst the bunch, but end up a little disappointed that there isn’t more content for that particular mini-game. Wii Play: Motion comes packed with a Wii Motion Plus controller, and whether or not the game is worth it may depend on how many controllers you already own. If you have need of another controller though, the package is easily worth the extra ten dollars. If you’re looking for a mini-game collection to play with friends or family, definitely give Wii Play: Motion some consideration.

Wii Play: Motion was published on June 13th, 2011 and has an MSRP of $49.99.

Grade: B

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