Wii

Europe

Wii Play

by Lasse Pallesen - February 9, 2007, 2:28 am PST
Total comments: 53

4.5

Considering the amount of content offered, Wii Play is an apt title.

If you’re looking for a Wii Remote, you have a couple of options come February 15. You can either buy the standalone version for 40$ or get Wii Play, which comes bundled with a remote, for ten bucks more. Since Wii Play is a compilation of nine mini-games, you basically end up paying a little more than one dollar per mini-game.

Surely these mini-games are worth this low price point, right? Well actually, most of them are not. While not exactly stooping to Banana Blitz’s levels, they all fail in showing off the exciting potential of the kind of gaming experiences that the Wii Remote can offer. This feat is handled much better in a game like Wii Sports, which you probably already own.

The main culprit is the extreme level of simplicity of the mini-games. Take Table Tennis for example. Your objective is to direct a bat by pointing with the remote to keep the rally going. You can’t win per se. You can’t even control your shots, since hitting the ball is done automatically as long as your cursor is positioned at the right spot. Moving the paddle with the pointer is the only control available, and even though the duel gradually increases in intensity, thus requiring quicker reactions from the player, the gameplay never deviates from these simple actions. As a result, there’s little subtlety and almost no variety to be found in Table Tennis.

Fishing suffers from the same problem. Here you move a fishing rod in hopes of catching weird-looking fish that swim around in a small pond. Each type of fish gives you a certain number of points when caught, and you’re basically competing against time to get as many points as possible. You spend most of the time waiting for a fish to bite, after which a simple upward motion of the remote gets the job done. It’s easy and unsatisfying.

The same can be said of Find Mii. Inspired by Where’s Waldo, it’s all about pointing at similar Mii’s or odd-one-outs. Later on, the Mii’s start walking around and wear different clothes, which makes this feat somewhat more difficult, though not more fun.

Charge is equally uninspired. It is cow-riding racing game, in which you hold the remote sideways and tilt it to steer, not unlike in Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam. Jumping can be done by flinging the remote upwards, and points are gained by completing the course quickly and by ramming into various creatures in the process. Charge is actually fairly enjoyable to begin with, but with only one short course available, the appeal quickly wears thin.

Pose Mii is slightly better. You must guide a Mii to various bubbles that must have the same stance as your Mii. If they don’t, you can change your Mii’s stance with a press of a button. This extra mechanic of actually pushing a button makes Pose Mii one of the more intricate games of Wii Play.

Billiards also makes use of different control functions of the remote to offer a slightly more complex gameplay experience. Sadly, it’s marred by questionable ball physics, an extremely dull presentation, and a slow pace. Before every shot you have to first aim where to shoot the ball with the remote, then point at where to hit the ball in order to apply topspin or backspin, and finally do a thrusting motion with your remote like a real cue to hit the ball. While this final action feels rather intuitive, the entire process of determining your shot is unnecessarily cumbersome.

Shooting Range is more action-packed and should feel familiar to anyone who played the classic light-gun game Duck Hunt for the NES. Controlling an aiming cursor with your remote, you must take down ducks, cans, clay pigeons, and even UFO’s that quickly zoom by. It’s a tremendously basic premise made somewhat more enjoyable with the addition of friendly targets displaying your own Mii, which result in negative points when shot.

The remaining two mini-games, Laser Hockey and Tanks, distinguish themselves as being the most satisfying of the lot. The former is like a more sophisticated version of Pong. Trying to get the ball in your opponent’s goal, you move your paddle, not just up or down, but in every direction on your half of the playing field. By twisting the remote, you can angle your shots. There’s even a strategic element to the game, so sorely missed otherwise in the compilation. You can decide to play defensively, focusing solely on guarding you own goal, or fling the paddle aggressively towards the ball in hopes of performing a fast return shot at the risk of missing the ball entirely or making an embarrassing own goal.

Tanks is the only mini-game to also make use of the Nunchuk attachment, if you want to. You use its control stick to navigate your miniscule tank on a battlefield seen from above. Shots can be fired in the direction of your aiming cursor, controlled with the remote. Akin to Geometry Wars on Xbox Live Arcade, the game forces you to concentrate on not only avoiding hostile fire but also on taking out the enemy forces via mines and projectiles, which ricochet off walls. Once again, the defensive and offensive considerations required from the player make this mini-game one of the deepest and most involving in the compilation, though that isn’t saying much. Tanks succeeds because it doesn’t just rely on the simple pointing mechanism of the remote. The player has more freedom and is faced with more decisions compared to the other mini-games.

What all the mini-games handle nicely, though, is the controls, which are always responsive and precise. The on-screen action reacts instantly to your motions, and you always feel in control. With Wii Play, Nintendo truly has a showcase for the accuracy of the remote that third party developers could learn a lot from.

All the mini-games also support a two-player competitive mode, which, undoubtedly, is the preferred way of playing Wii Play. In a competitive environment, the otherwise glaring issues of the game tend to fade ever so slightly. That is why the lack of four-player support is particularly disappointing. Even if a couple of the mini-games would lend themselves poorly to such a mode, and even considering the budget-priced nature of the game, this omission is a disheartening sign of laziness from Nintendo’s part.

Low production values also characterise the presentation. Each mini-game has its own visual style, so, for instance, 2D paper models make up Fishing, while Pose Mii is ripe with underwater effects. You’ll never be impressed with the visuals, but then again you don’t really need to be. Wii Play isn’t about immersing you in an alternate universe. Like Wii Sports, the game wouldn’t really be more enjoyable with flashy visual effects. These would probably clash with the appearance of the Mii’s and may even compromise the functional qualities that Wii Play’s graphics do contain.

There are a few other redeeming features worth mentioning as well. The use of Mii’s is a welcome feature. You not only choose which Mii to play as, you also see many of the other Mii’s on your system wander around in some of the mini-games. This gives a nice personal touch, which will hopefully be used more in upcoming titles.

There’s also a scoring system, which hands out bronze, silver, or gold medals depending on your performance after every mini-game. Getting all gold medals does put up a challenge and provides replay value for those dedicated enough to stick with the game.

Wii Play still fails to deliver what Nintendo set out to do. It lacks depth, meaning that you’ll grow tired of it within minutes – even with a friend. This fact is a little easier to swallow given Wii Play’s budget price, though. The mini-games do show that the remote is a highly precise and responsive device but not that it is a potential doorway to new and exciting ways of interaction. We don’t even get a glimpse of the possibilities at hand.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
3.5 4.5 6 4 3.5 4.5
Graphics
3.5

Every mini-game has its own visual style, each of which is very basic, yet functional. Not unlike the Wii Channels, Wii Play’s general interface is a simple one without any bells and whistles. The game never pushes the hardware. Would the mini-games be more enjoyable if they did? Probably not. Like Wii Sports, the graphics play a minor role in your overall enjoyment of the game.

Sound
4.5

Like the graphics, the sounds work on a functional level but aren’t aesthetically remarkable. A short musical piece accompanies every mini-game, giving them a nice individual touch, whether you’re listening to electronic beats in Laser Hockey or a soothing and relaxing tune in Fishing.

Control
6

The mini-games are truly testaments to the precision of control that the remote offers. Unfortunately, you’re so constrained by the number of actions available that you quickly grow tired of the mini-games.

Gameplay
4

The quality of the gameplay in each of the nine mini-games lands somewhere slightly above Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz’s and considerably below the ones in Wii Sports and Rayman Raving Rabbids. All these games share a high level of accessibility, but Wii Play lacks the depth to keep you interested. Two-player support helps, but a lack of four-player support doesn’t.

Lastability
3.5

Wii Play won’t hold your attention for long. Its mini-games are too simple, too limited and, quite frankly, uninspired. Getting all gold medals does provide some challenge, if you have the dedication.

Final
4.5

Wii Play would have been abysmal, had it been a full-priced game. Fortunately, it’s not. However, even if you are stoked on getting a remote, Wii Play can’t really be recommended. Having to fork out an extra $10 for the game is still a bit too much.

Summary

Pros
  • Incorporates Mii’s
  • Not priced as a full game
  • Precise controls
  • Shows off the pointing functionality of the Wii Remote well
Cons
  • Extremely basic gameplay mechanics
  • Limited controls
  • Low production values
  • No four-player support
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

BlackNMild2k1February 09, 2007

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Final: 4.5
Wii Play would have been abysmal, had it been a full-priced game. Fortunately, it’s not. However, even if you are stoked on getting a remote, Wii Play can’t really be recommended. Having to fork out an extra $10 for the game is still a bit too much.
I think with the current (non)availability of controllers, an extra $10 for an extra controller, that you don't have to camp out/wait in line for and get a peice of software to let your new non-gaming gamer break up some Wii Sports action to see a little more of whats possible with the new controller that they've grown so fond of, isn't too much to ask is it?

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusFebruary 09, 2007

$10 = Mario Kart 64

thomaseiFebruary 09, 2007

You can get mini-games better than these for free everywhere on the internet. I've played the game and think it deserves an abysmal score. 3 maybe. This game is a showcase for what type of games the Wii doesn't need. You should have put more of an effort into this one, Nintendo. Shame on youface-icon-small-smile.gif

EntroperFebruary 09, 2007

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Originally posted by: BlackNMild2k1
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Final: 4.5
Wii Play would have been abysmal, had it been a full-priced game. Fortunately, it’s not. However, even if you are stoked on getting a remote, Wii Play can’t really be recommended. Having to fork out an extra $10 for the game is still a bit too much.
I think with the current (non)availability of controllers, an extra $10 for an extra controller, that you don't have to camp out/wait in line for and get a peice of software to let your new non-gaming gamer break up some Wii Sports action to see a little more of whats possible with the new controller that they've grown so fond of, isn't too much to ask is it?


If you need another controller, Wii Play is a pretty good buy. But if you already have additional controllers, is it worth it? I have two controllers, and two of my friends have Wiis with an extra controller each. So if either of them are around, we already have 4 controllers. If not, we still have 2 -- point being, I'm not looking to spend money on a 3rd controller, but I was looking forward to playing Wii Play. I might reconsider after this review.

NephilimFebruary 09, 2007

tanks single and 2 player is worth the 10bucks, quite fun

Infernal MonkeyFebruary 09, 2007

I got this bundle at the Australian launch for LESS than what a Wii mote by itself was going for. Shop around guys. :]

KDR_11kFebruary 09, 2007

I love Tankbox but the other family members don't like it...

GalfordFebruary 09, 2007

Well Nintendo's streak with mini-games couldn't last forever.

I know this title did well in Japan, but how will it fair in the US?
I get the sinking feeling this game will sell only because people are looking for a second controller.

At least I have Fire Emblem to look forward too.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusFebruary 09, 2007

Well that was extremely disappointing. I guess I will be waiting till I have some money to burn before I pick this up. Hopefully it'll hit a price drop before I buy that way I am only paying for a new controller and getting WiiPlay for free. I expected more than that from this game but, oh well, Nintendo can't get it perfect everytime.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterFebruary 09, 2007

I already stated that Wii Play is worth it ONLY if you need an additional controller because if you do the math it is quite a deal. Even Nintendo knew that the game would be weaker than Wii sports and knew they needed to bundle a controller in so they could sell some copies.

While I agree that the lack of 4 player is disappointing I think the bad score is a bit uncalled for since the game is aimed at a different audience. True, the hardcore gamers will grow bored with it, but who knows if kids and non gamers end up loving it.

Hell, my mom is interested in the game simply because of the shooting targets game (she loved Duck hunt on the NES).

trip1eXFebruary 09, 2007

Somehow I think I'll enjoy it more than the 4.5 score indicates.

Nintendo should let you load these games into flash memory.

MarioFebruary 09, 2007

This review is crap, the game is lots of fun plain and simple. There's hours of fun to be had, and heaps more in multiplayer.

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Having to fork out an extra $10 for the game is still a bit too much.

Completely ridiculous.

"Getting all gold medals" LOL, Gold isn't even the highest, Platinum is.

Complaining about dull presentation and slow pace in a BILLIARDS game? Also completely ridiculous. It's fun to sit back and relax and play by yourself. Play Shooting Range if you've had too much Red Bull.
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they all fail in showing off the exciting potential of the kind of gaming experiences that the Wii Remote can offer.

Not really. People say "hey I wonder how the remote would work for Ping Pong", they play this, the answer is "well".

"Slightly above Banana Blitz" is a HUGE insult, 90% of those had BROKEN CONTROLS. The controls in these games are absolutely flawless and do justice to every game in the collection (except maybe FISHING). If you don't enjoy air/laser hockey, or ping pong, or billiards etc. only then wont you enjoy these games. They are what they are. There's so much more wrong here I don't want to scroll up again and read it because it HURTS my brain.

Don't listen to this crap review, if you want a bunch of fun minigames with your next remote, you'll be very happy. It's certainly NOT Wii Sports calibre, and it's not an AMAZING AAA GAME. It's just fun, and easily worth a pissweak extra $10. Shit, that's like 5 games of air hockey in the arcade.

I'm very happy Nintendo finally decided to release these cool mini-games we never get to play, the DS launch would have been better with something like this.

JonLeungFebruary 09, 2007

Pluralization does not require an apostrophe.

It should be "Miis", not "Mii's".

18 DaysFebruary 09, 2007

I like how it was only $5 AUS more, that's about $3US

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterFebruary 09, 2007

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Originally posted by: Mario
This review is crap, the game is lots of fun plain and simple. There's hours of fun to be had, and heaps more in multiplayer.
Quote

Having to fork out an extra $10 for the game is still a bit too much.

Completely ridiculous.

"Getting all gold medals" LOL, Gold isn't even the highest, Platinum is.

Complaining about dull presentation and slow pace in a BILLIARDS game? Also completely ridiculous. It's fun to sit back and relax and play by yourself. Play Shooting Range if you've had too much Red Bull.
Quote

they all fail in showing off the exciting potential of the kind of gaming experiences that the Wii Remote can offer.

Not really. People say "hey I wonder how the remote would work for Ping Pong", they play this, the answer is "well".

"Slightly above Banana Blitz" is a HUGE insult, 90% of those had BROKEN CONTROLS. The controls in these games are absolutely flawless and do justice to every game in the collection (except maybe FISHING). If you don't enjoy air/laser hockey, or ping pong, or billiards etc. only then wont you enjoy these games. They are what they are. There's so much more wrong here I don't want to scroll up again and read it because it HURTS my brain.

Don't listen to this crap review, if you want a bunch of fun minigames with your next remote, you'll be very happy. It's certainly NOT Wii Sports calibre, and it's not an AMAZING AAA GAME. It's just fun, and easily worth a pissweak extra $10. Shit, that's like 5 games of air hockey in the arcade.

I'm very happy Nintendo finally decided to release these cool mini-games we never get to play, the DS launch would have been better with something like this.


I agree with this. I think this review is being extremely unfair, but sadly I see this being the norm when people review Wii Play.

For all its good intentions, Wii Play is a tech demo game, perhaps even more so than Wii Sports. Like someone said, these were basically the quick demos shown at E3 for the hell of it. Even Nintendo realized that the only way they can move copies of the game is if they include a Wiimote alongside it.

So don't be surprised if the game gets even more hate when it releases next week.

The BIG mistake would be comparing it to Wii Sports. Yes, both games present you a simple concept that uses the Wiimote greatly and are aimed towards the casual gamers, but Wii Sports does it through sports while Wii Play does it by mini games. The concepts are vastly different from each other, so saying one is better than the other would be an unfair treatment.

Ian SaneFebruary 09, 2007

"While I agree that the lack of 4 player is disappointing I think the bad score is a bit uncalled for since the game is aimed at a different audience. True, the hardcore gamers will grow bored with it, but who knows if kids and non gamers end up loving it."

But NWR's audience isn't kids and non-gamers. Ideally a NWR review should be making a recommendation to the NWR readers. If reviews are entirely for the target demo of the game then it isn't fair to write bad reviews for something like That's So Raven because any idiot who likes that show probably would like the game for it. NWR readers are going to be fairly hardcore. We're certainly not non-gamers. So if hardcore gamers will grow bored of it then it makes sense for this review to give it a poor score. That informs us that we, not being kids or non-gamers, won't like it.

BlackNMild2k1February 09, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: Ian Sane
"While I agree that the lack of 4 player is disappointing I think the bad score is a bit uncalled for since the game is aimed at a different audience. True, the hardcore gamers will grow bored with it, but who knows if kids and non gamers end up loving it."

But NWR's audience isn't kids and non-gamers. Ideally a NWR review should be making a recommendation to the NWR readers. If reviews are entirely for the target demo of the game then it isn't fair to write bad reviews for something like That's So Raven because any idiot who likes that show probably would like the game for it. NWR readers are going to be fairly hardcore. We're certainly not non-gamers. So if hardcore gamers will grow bored of it then it makes sense for this review to give it a poor score. That informs us that we, not being kids or non-gamers, won't like it.
No. No. No. I say review the game for what it is and not what I expect it to be.
Let the reader come to their own conculsion about the game from the review, but feel free to inject your HARDCORE opinion towards like-minded gamers at the end.

thatguyFebruary 09, 2007

It does seem odd that it would come with a Wii-mote, while not be released alongside the launch, and only be two player.

PaleMike Gamin, Contributing EditorFebruary 09, 2007

There are so many issues involved with reviewing games. That is why it is so important to read more than just the score. Some people will expect price vs. content to come into it. Others will expect target demographic to come into it. The point is it's impossible to please everyone from every background. I haven't played a retail version of Wii Play, but when I played some of the included demos at E3 and in September at NYC, I never really expected Nintendo to release them.

They really are just ways of showing people how the pointer works. That's how they were treated at E3.

NinGurl69 *hugglesFebruary 09, 2007

4.5 IS THE NEW 7.9

Well, for what it's worth... I don't intend to buy Wii Play. And I LOVED FarCry!

~Carmine "Cai" M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

NinGurl69 *hugglesFebruary 09, 2007

I intend to buy Wii Play.

I don't intend to touch Far Cry.

A game's score should not be raised just because it is cheap. I don't know if this is "worth playing" or not, I have not tried it, but Lasse seems to think it is not worth playing. If I gave a game a 6 and found it for $5, I'd consider it a good buy.

GoldenPhoenixFebruary 09, 2007

This review hasn't deterred me one bit, lately I haven't been too agreeable with NWR's scores so I'm placing this one in the same bucket with 90% of the others I don't care for.

thatguyFebruary 09, 2007

I think most of the time, if you read the review, you'll find what you want to know. I mean, I know if a game were five dollars and received a low score, in the review, NWR would say if it was worth the low score. I know that, because they always have put things like that. I know if I want to know the best and worst things about the game, including price, I can scroll down and see their pros and cons. I read the review, and found that, for $10, you get three entertaining games that might be worth checking out, and also a few tech demos. That's what I got out of it.
I'm probably going to pick it up, and I'll probably have fun with those three games, and maybe one of the other ones. It won't be a game I introduce to my family w/o playing first, though, unlike Wii Sports.

thomaseiFebruary 09, 2007

The overwhelming demand for Wii-motes made Reggie say: "Wow, how do we get even more money out of the Wii-motes. Didn't we have some crappy tech demos lying around? And when I say crappy I mean Superman 64 style CRAPPY! Let's just jam them in there and charge 50 dollars. Nintendo fanboys will surely buy this crap. They'll buy anything with the Nintendo logo on it. Except Elite Beat Agents. Don't you fanboys like Avril Lavigne's song Skaterboy? Man, she's is so hot. I'd like to regginate her. Man, screwing customers is great! Regginator out. I better go play some Gears of War now."

NinGurl69 *hugglesFebruary 09, 2007

Come to think of it, it should be a hardware review rather than a game review.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterFebruary 09, 2007

So apparently, Wii Play is no longer Wii Play, its called Hotel Dusk Room 215...

Don't believe me? Check the main page... :p

WindyManSteven Rodriguez, Staff AlumnusFebruary 09, 2007

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Originally posted by: pap64
So apparently, Wii Play is no longer Wii Play, its called Hotel Dusk Room 215...

Don't believe me? Check the main page... :p


Damn, you're quick. That was a two-minute goof on my part. It's been fixed for a while.

IceColdFebruary 09, 2007

I haven't played this yet (getting it on Monday) but I highly doubt I will find it as bad as the review suggests. As Mario said, there are many flaws with the review.

I guess it's like how WiiSports was reviewed with such low scores. It didn't have amazingly detailed graphics, the controls were limited, there weren't enough modes, etc etc. But somehow, it's my favourite game on the Wii, and I consider it one of the best games in a long time. That intangible or "Tilt" factor is through the roof because of the fun, and the reviews don't do it any justice.

I have to say, though, that recently I've been disagreeing with many NWR reviews. You guys are probably being harsher because they're launch games, so there's room to improve, but I feel that many scores are unnecessarily low.

I find that my opinion is most in-line with N-Sider. They don't do many reviews, but looking and nearly all the Cube reviews they did, I almost always agree with them. This isn't only for the scores; like thatguy, before even considering the score, I first read what the reviewer found good and bad about the title. Then I decide whether I can handle the flaws, and how important they are to me. Then I look at the score and the justification.

GoldenPhoenixFebruary 10, 2007

Ice Cold I definately agree, personally I am looking forward to playing this game with my family more so than by myself. Heck we love playing darts in WarioWare SM, and that can't be any more complex than most of these games.

CericFebruary 10, 2007

*shrug* I read the review and ignore the score. Always have. I tend to get what I need from the review but I rarely actually totally agree with a reviewer. Thats just the nature of the beast. It seems that all the Nintendo reviewers this generation feel like they have something to prove. So are being harder on games.

PaleMike Gamin, Contributing EditorFebruary 10, 2007

I wasn't going to say this initially, as I didn't want to sound defensive, but I urge all of you to make use of the Reader Review forum if you really disagree with an NWR review. I'll be anxious to see how you handle a lot of these games as I think reviewing them is extremely challenging. The industry (as far as Wii is concerned) has definitely taken a step back in terms of depth and production values in order to try out this new control scheme in many cases, and that's tough to score. Is it possible to forget those shortcomings because the new control features are so cool? I think the answer to that question is different for everyone.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterFebruary 10, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: Pale
I wasn't going to say this initially, as I didn't want to sound defensive, but I urge all of you to make use of the Reader Review forum if you really disagree with an NWR review. I'll be anxious to see how you handle a lot of these games as I think reviewing them is extremely challenging. The industry (as far as Wii is concerned) has definitely taken a step back in terms of depth and production values in order to try out this new control scheme in many cases, and that's tough to score. Is it possible to forget those shortcomings because the new control features are so cool? I think the answer to that question is different for everyone.


Well, its unfair to say that the WHOLE industry has taken a step back in terms of production and depth. It's true that some games need some work, but many of them have done a great job of implementing Wii controls AND bringing some depth in terms of production values. Rayman not only was creative in terms of gameplay it had an insane art style. And despite short comings, Red Steel tried its hardest to innovate. Activision did its best with its games too.

Hell, even Sega seems to be spending some time with their Wii games. And don't even get me started on Square...

It's true that the games released at and after launch are either ports or lazy attempts at Wii concepts, but this sort of things happens all the time. Remember the DS launch? All it had was concept games, N64 ports and GBA ports with hasty touch screen support thrown in. Now not only is it a phenomenon, its home to some of the best games this generation and will be the home of one of the most anticipated sequels this gen...Dragon quest IX.

Also, graphics and presentation a good game do not make. Yeah, I know its a tired phrase, but I think its unfair to judge the overall quality of the game on just the presentation.

One other thing, the Japan sales of this game proves that there IS an audience for this type of game, low production values be damned. I would blame it on the controller, yes, but its been 3 months since launch and people are STILL eating the game up. Surely there must be more to it than the controller, right?

And finally, OF COURSE you will be defensive. Usually, websites tend to have collective thinking in some matters, so when the readers disagree heavily with the review of course the staff will come out and defend its opinion. Hell, even SB and Cap take a very defensive stance when someone argue their opinion either here or on their podcast.

So to sum it all up:
1. You guys are perhaps are being too paranoid when it comes to Wii games, since it barely launched and many games are coming for it.
2. Simply because the game has low production values or low presentation skills it doesn't mean that in the long run its a bad game.
3. The defensive stance is understandable since its almost an universal law.

Frankly, I haven't played the game myself, but I see this as being a 6.0 game, an average type game that isn't fantastic but provides some fun. 4.0 and lower just reeks of bad game material, which is why I think people say its just a harsh review.

I think you just had expectations way too high for this type of game...

CericFebruary 10, 2007

I do try to do a reader review if I disagree with the review. In fact I have a peice of hardware that I want to write a review but I just haven't yet.

LassePalleLasse Pallesen, Staff AlumnusFebruary 10, 2007

Ok, I think it’s time for me to reply to some of the comments now.

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Gold isn't even the highest, Platinum is.

You’re absolutely right, Mario. Thanks for pointing that out.

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Complaining about dull presentation and slow pace in a BILLIARDS game? Also completely ridiculous.

As I noted elsewhere in the review, the graphics and sounds (and so also the presentation) play a relatively small role in your enjoyment of the game. So don’t consider the complaint about the dull presentation to be a huge one. I mention it because the presentation is particularly bad in Billiards. It shows that Nintendo put very little effort into creating a fitting mood for the mini-games. Even Monkey Billiards in Super Monkey Ball 2 had actual graphics around the table, which at least gave you some illusion of being in some cosy bar with beer-drinking monkeys and jazz music etc. In comparison, Wii Play Billiards shows nothing more than a low-res black and white texture.
As for the slow pace, I’m not after some crazy adrenaline kick. Real-life billiards is pretty slow, so it’s natural for a billiards videogame to be that as well. But, once again, Billiards in Wii Play is an extreme case. There are lots of other billiards games – both on consoles and available for free on the internet - that are far less drawn out and cumbersome to play, yet still offer the same amount of depth.

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they all fail in showing off the exciting potential of the kind of gaming experiences that the Wii Remote can offer.

Not really. People say "hey I wonder how the remote would work for Ping Pong", they play this, the answer is "well"..

Instead of showing people how you can play a 35 year-old game differently with a remote, why not try to create games specifically designed around the remote? Nintendo has always stressed the importance of creating entirely new gameplay experiences, and the Wii – with its unique controller - fits perfectly into this philosophy. But Wii Play – with its many “remakes” of existing games and existing game ideas – doesn’t.

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It's just fun, and easily worth a pissweak extra $10. That's like 5 games of air hockey in the arcade.

You can also spend $10 on one or two great VC games. I can think of at least a dozen of those that are superior to Wii Play.

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I think this review is being extremely unfair, but sadly I see this being the norm when people review Wii Play. For all its good intentions, Wii Play is a tech demo game, perhaps even more so than Wii Sports. Like someone said, these were basically the quick demos shown at E3 for the hell of it. Even Nintendo realized that the only way they can move copies of the game is if they include a Wiimote alongside it.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by this paragraph, but tech demo or no tech demo, Wii Play is still a game that should be reviewed on the same terms as any other game. Of course, the fact that it’s a budget title should be reflected in the overall recommendation/disrecommendation. But you can’t use the term tech demo as an excuse to give the game a higher score (though I’m not sure, if that’s what you really meant).

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The BIG mistake would be comparing it to Wii Sports. Yes, both games present you a simple concept that uses the Wiimote greatly and are aimed towards the casual gamers, but Wii Sports does it through sports while Wii Play does it by mini games. The concepts are vastly different from each other, so saying one is better than the other would be an unfair treatment.

By that logic, you wouldn’t even be able to compare the mini-games in Wii Play to each other, because some are based on sports (Table Tennis), some on racing (Charge), some on puzzles (Find Mii), some on shooting (Shooting Range) etc. I think it makes perfect sense to compare Wii Play to Wii Sports. They are both compilations that consist of small games that can’t stand on their own as fully-fledged titles. They’re both highly accessible. They both try to show how the remote can be used in various ways. They cater to the same audience, share the shame visual style, and a part of the same overall strategy that involves drawing non-gamers to Wii. Whether you’re throwing a bowling ball in Wii Sports or shooting clay pigeons in Wii Play, you can still compare and comment on how fun, how deep, how satisfying the game is and how well it looks, sounds, controls etc.

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But NWR's audience isn't kids and non-gamers. Ideally a NWR review should be making a recommendation to the NWR readers. If reviews are entirely for the target demo of the game then it isn't fair to write bad reviews for something like That's So Raven because any idiot who likes that show probably would like the game for it. NWR readers are going to be fairly hardcore. We're certainly not non-gamers. So if hardcore gamers will grow bored of it then it makes sense for this review to give it a poor score. That informs us that we, not being kids or non-gamers, won't like it.

The review isn’t deliberately directed towards hardcore gamers or casual gamers or any other group of gamers. However, since I see myself as a hardcore gamer, and since the review is an evaluation of the game’s artistic and gameplay qualities from my point of view, it’s reasonable to assume that other hardcore gamers would generally be more agreeable with the review compared to “casual” or “non-gamers”. It’s not my job to tell if little seven-year-old Timmy or his grandma who never played a videogame before would enjoy Wii Play. I’m not qualified to say. Instead, my job is to present and make an argumentation for my own views of the game, which can act as a guide to the reader towards a possible purchase or rental decision. Pale puts it well:

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There are so many issues involved with reviewing games. That is why it is so important to read more than just the score. Some people will expect price vs. content to come into it. Others will expect target demographic to come into it. The point is it's impossible to please everyone from every background.

Before I bore you all to death, let me just finish this post by reiterating that I don’t think Wii Play is a terrible game. A score of 4.5 means that the game is slightly below average. I think Wii Play is far from being a AAA title. It’s a fair distance from Wii Sports, but it’s not terrible. You could easily do worse than pick up Wii Play. But why do it when there are so many better alternatives?

BlackNMild2k1February 10, 2007

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Originally posted by: LassePalle
Before I bore you all to death, let me just finish this post by reiterate that I don’t think Wii Play is a terrible game. A score of 4.5 means that the game is slightly below average. I think Wii Play is far from being a AAA title. It’s a fair distance from Wii Sports, but it’s not terrible. You could easily do worse than pick up Wii Play. But why do it when there are so many better alternatives?
Maybe because I need the extra controller and I can't find one in the store? Besides all the better alternatives don't come with a remote for an extra $10 (or $40 depending on what better alternative we're talking about and how you wanna look at it)

CericFebruary 10, 2007

That is a good point the scale at NWR is a little different then other sites.

IceColdFebruary 10, 2007

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Originally posted by: Ceric
That is a good point the scale at NWR is a little different then other sites.
Not really. Jonny himself posted the stats of the average percent of the games NWR reviews and the average of the same games on GameRankings; they're pretty much the same.

Reading LassePalle's post makes me wish that staff would post more on the forums, rather thank just talk about their articles..

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Originally posted by: Ian Sane
"While I agree that the lack of 4 player is disappointing I think the bad score is a bit uncalled for since the game is aimed at a different audience. True, the hardcore gamers will grow bored with it, but who knows if kids and non gamers end up loving it."

But NWR's audience isn't kids and non-gamers. Ideally a NWR review should be making a recommendation to the NWR readers. If reviews are entirely for the target demo of the game then it isn't fair to write bad reviews for something like That's So Raven because any idiot who likes that show probably would like the game for it. NWR readers are going to be fairly hardcore. We're certainly not non-gamers. So if hardcore gamers will grow bored of it then it makes sense for this review to give it a poor score. That informs us that we, not being kids or non-gamers, won't like it.


We don't write reviews targeting any particular audience. We review the game as we see it. Lasse is a hardcore gamer, like pretty much everyone on staff, so he's writing from that perspective (not TO it!).

I think our scores at GameRankings average out to be higher than what we consider an average score (5) because many of the truly awful games are not distributed to the press for review, and/or our public relations contacts are not comprehensive. You see the same thing in movie reviews, where more and more films are not being screened for critics. That doesn't change the review score rubric, which is prominently explained on the site and linked to in every review. It's a loose scale but we do take the scores seriously.

I'm glad Lasse joined this thread to explain a few things. When he submitted this review, he expressed some doubt over how he had scored it and whether he should factor in the game's low cost with the scoring. I told him no, that the scores should reflect the actual quality of the game, but that he could consider the cost of the game when making a purchase/rental/etc. recommendation. Part of the reasoning there is that the cost of most games changes over time, and we cannot predict what will happen to a game's cost at the time of the review.

In other words, Lasse thinks Wii Play is a below average game, 4.5/10 on our scale. That does not necessarily mean you shouldn't buy it, considering the scarcity of Wii Remotes and the low risk associated with the game's cost.

ShyGuyFebruary 12, 2007

so... on the NWR scale a "1" would be something like Custer's Revenge, a "5" would be your typical movie/cartoon licensed schlock game and a "10" would be SMB 3?

I would agree with the above scores, yes.

Smash_BrotherFebruary 12, 2007

I've always pondered whether or not it would be a good thing to have review scores aimed at demographics.

For example, DBZ:BT2 on the Wii would be only mildly entertaining for your average gamer, but it's a bona fide DBZ fan's wet dream.

I've heard of at least one review which said, "9.0 for DBZ fans, 5.0 for everyone else". I know it's always difficult to determine how the demographic you're trying to review for will ACTUALLY take to the game, but the truth is, it's better to guess and communicate the notion that this game WILL be received differently by different audiences than to simply drop one score for everyone.

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Originally posted by: Smash_Brother
I've always pondered whether or not it would be a good thing to have review scores aimed at demographics.

...it's better to guess and communicate the notion that this game WILL be received differently by different audiences than to simply drop one score for everyone.


Again, our scores aren't for everyone. They're for the person who wrote the review. That's the only reasonable, consistent, practical way it can be done at all. Just ask Game Informer.

GoldenPhoenixFebruary 13, 2007

Well I picked up the game today and it is definately a game best enjoyed with other people. Not to say single player isn't fun, because it is, but it is one that must be experienced with others. My personal favorite has to be the tank one along with the shooting gallery, both are a blast and great time killers. So far I would give the game around a 5.5/6.0 since it is shallow but more than worth the 10$. I'm glad I waited on purchasing my 4th Wiimote!

nitsu niflheimFebruary 13, 2007

this game does not exist. Because I can't find it anywhere. oh well. Nintendo screws up again.

PaleMike Gamin, Contributing EditorFebruary 13, 2007

Mine just shipped from an EBGames.com preorder today. Stores should get it today.

KDR_11kFebruary 13, 2007

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Originally posted by: nitsu niflheim
this game does not exist. Because I can't find it anywhere. oh well. Nintendo screws up again.


Heh, 'round here there was a huge surplus of Wii Play ever since launch while unbundled Wiimotes were almost impossible to find.

Smash_BrotherFebruary 13, 2007

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Originally posted by: Jonnyboy117
Again, our scores aren't for everyone. They're for the person who wrote the review. That's the only reasonable, consistent, practical way it can be done at all. Just ask Game Informer.


I can't entirely agree with that, mostly because GI is run by monkeys.

Much in the same way most reviewers give 5-6 different scores for different categories (graphics, gameplay, etc.), why wouldn't it be possible to give the game 3-4 different scores for the gamer categories it encompasses?

For example, you could have the hardcore, normal, party, fan and non-gamers.

The "hardcore" score would be for those who are genetically incapable of parting ways with a game unless they've unlocked absolutely everything, the one who "caught them all". The more complex and detailed a game becomes, the more these gamers adore it. They love depth and challenge and they demand it in spades. These are the ones likely to own every next gen system no matter what the cost.

The "normal" gamer is the kind who enjoys games, but doesn't feel the need to spill their cash on every last semi-worthy release. In fact, they have varied tastes depending on the genre of the game and likely will only spend money on releases which truly warrant a purchase. This is the category which would be considered "average".

The "party" gamer wants games for one reason: to play them with other people. This is actually not an optional score because, although many games don't have multiplayer, there are some games which are drastically more enjoyable to watch than others. A game like TP, for example, would actually have a very high party score because I've had five people in the room with me while I was playing TP and they were all trying to figure out the puzzle in the room I just walked into before I did. Turn-based RPGs, on the other hand, likely don't have much party value as much time is spent fighting the same random monster attacks over and over again. The real purpose of this score, however, is to divine the entertainment value of multiplayer games.

The "fan" gamer IS an optional score, as it only applies when games are based on or around existing franchises. Even games like SSB and MGS need this score because the gamer who is a fan of these and other franchises no doubt would like to know how they hold up or have changed from previous iterations. The basic premise of this score is that people will like games connected to their favorite franchises better because of the inclusion of the franchise.

The "non" gamer is just that: the amount of enjoyability the game will offer to a person who just doesn't play games. The best example is Wii Sports, which would easily earn a 9.5 in the non-gamer category because of its ability to coerce people who don't play games into playing it.

I'm not seriously suggesting you use this system or anything like it, I'm just spitting out ideas since I see gaming as more diversified these days, especially when you factor in Nintendo's "blue ocean" efforts.

For example, a brief Twilight Princess review using this system:

Hardcore: 9.5 - Plenty of unlockables, scavenger hunts and the dungeon of ordeals (it was in WW, not a spoiler) to ensure that you can spend upwards of 50 hours working on the game.

Normal: 9.5 - Still one of the most enjoyable and satisfying franchises you can find on the market today, LoZ:TP will engross those who love story, action and puzzles all at the same time.

Party: 8.0 - If you have friends who can't help but try to solve puzzles when they're presented, it can actually make dungeon crawling quite enjoyable, especially when people pool their collective intellect to figure out a particularly tricky puzzle.

Fan: 10.0 - A beautiful work of art of a Zelda game: at times whimsical, at times haunting, at times enchanting. Link has never looked so real and never been so alive through a multitude of expressions and emotions, from shock, to joy, to horror. Fans of the series will no doubt love the game as the masterpiece that it is.

Non-Gamer: 3.0 - If you're hoping to push a non-gamer into gaming, look elsewhere. TP may be a cinematic and gameplay masterpiece, but it is not a rope-in for those who consider gaming beyond them. Your mom won't be saving Hyrule any time soon.

I'll be employing this system in my own gaming podcast, actually. I really think it's necessary to give a broader picture about what you can expect from a game these days.

Smash, I was referring to the time Game Informer reviewed Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door and scored it quite low because they thought their hardcore audience would not like it, even though the reviewers themselves did.

A much better solution to the one you suggest is to simply have multiple reviewers from different backgrounds all review the same game. Famitsu and EGM have done it for years, but they are severely limited by space. We try to do multiple reviews for the major games, but it's tough to do it even then, and our staff is mostly hardcore gamers.

My point is that if you're a casual gamer, read Maxim or Newsweek for your game reviews.

ShyGuyFebruary 15, 2007

You heard it here first folks, If you're not hardcore, don't come to NWR! face-icon-small-wink.gif

The Paper Mario review was the first thing I thought of when you mentioned Game Informer.

Smash_BrotherFebruary 19, 2007

Ah, so THAT'S what you meant...

In other news, I picked up WiiPlay and I'm quite pleased with it. True, the games aren't ultra deep, but the 9-Ball game is practically worth the $10 alone, as well as the laser hockey.

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Wii Play Box Art

Genre Party/Parlor
Developer Nintendo
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Wii Play
Release Feb 14, 2007
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone
jpn: Hajimete no Wii
Release Dec 02, 2006
PublisherNintendo
RatingAll Ages
eu: Wii Play
Release Dec 08, 2006
PublisherNintendo
Rating3+

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