North America

Wii Play

by Aaron Kaluszka - March 5, 2007, 11:08 pm PST
Total comments: 12


A great set of tech demos, but not much more than that.

The origins of Wii Play are a set of tech demos first shown to the press and displayed at E3 2006 titled “Remote Pointer Demo." While I was hoping that E3 wouldn’t be the last time we saw the demos, it would have been more appropriate to include the Wii Play games either directly with the console or as free or cheap Wii Ware titles. Coming out months after launch, the release of Wii Play is a strange one since other games have surpassed almost everything it tries to do. Of course, its late release was partially due to the emergency strap replacement program.

Wii Play is a collection of nine simple games and is designed as a tutorial for using the Wii remote. Each game is intended to demonstrate ways in which the Wii remote can be used. The first time through the collection, each of the nine games must be played in sequence in order to unlock the following game. Though it won’t take long to complete the set, such an unnecessary limitation can impede those players wanting to take the game to a friend’s machine and play a specific game. Wii Play definitely does a decent job of introducing the controls, but its hand-holding approach is almost insulting when intuitive controls should be enough to get the player going.

Although marketed as a $50 game with a free Wii remote, since the Wii remote costs $40 by itself, buying Wii Play is essentially, and more appropriately, viewed as buying a $10 game. For $10, the compilation of nine games is certainly worth it. This brings up an interesting question of quality versus value, since the collection isn’t worth the price of a normal game. Also in question is the target demographic for the collection. The games are extremely basic, intended to expand the gaming market to those who wouldn’t normally play games.

Lasse has already described the nine games in his review, so I won’t recount them all again here. Though everyone will have their favorites, I personally found the “simpler" games more fun than the later games. Sadly, one of the more enjoyable tech demos, a Kuru Kuru Kururin-like game, is absent from the collection. Pose Mii is similar in operation, though significantly simplified and not a worthy substitute.

The game makes extensive use of Miis, beginning with random characters parading around the background of the title screen. And unlike their counterparts in Wii Sports, these Miis actually have arms. While normally carrying a certain charm, the inclusion of Miis may actually be detrimental to players’ experiences in Find Mii. Since the mini-game uses Miis stored on the player’s system, difficulty can vary depending on how similar the Miis found in the system are.

Wii Play could have done so much more, but Nintendo chose to essentially tack on a menu in front of their tech demos. More variation or customization would have gone a long way in some of the games, but each run-through is essentially the same, which quickens the onset of boredom. For instance, players must complete the same twenty Tanks! stages in the same order every time.

Wii Play is best played like its title suggests, “we play." The two-player modes are generally competitive, though Tanks! is more cooperative. In multiplayer, Laser Hockey, Shooting Range, and Pose Mii are perhaps the most fun due to their slightly more frantic nature. A bit of light competition (without the crazy arm swinging of Wii Sports) makes these games more fun than single player mode, and their brevity means that more than two people can switch off watching and playing. Unfortunately, the game is limited to only two players, even though some of the games would have worked just as well with four.

Since Wii Play is meant to introduce people to Wii and get non-gamers into gaming, I had several people who don’t play games try out the compilation. These newbies, some of whom had not actually seen the Wii remote before, had a pretty easy time navigating the controls (once past the character select screen). They found the games and control in general fun and enjoyable. In the end, however, Wii Sports is a more engaging experience for gamers and non-gamers alike. Nintendo made a good decision in including Wii Sports rather than Wii Play with their system. It also became evident that while the Wii remote allows non-gamers to easily play new games, it doesn’t magically give them the ability to play on par with experienced gamers.

Playing Wii Play is almost like taking a trip back to the very early 80s, when games weren’t expected to have much depth. The compilation serves to show us our increased expectations from games over the past 20-plus years. Each of these games could have been sold separately as a full game back in the early days of video gaming. Now, however, we expect more, and even bundling nine such games together isn’t worthy of a standard release and should be relegated to something like Xbox Live Arcade. Just like with the games of yesteryear, players will continue replaying the games in order to maximize their score.

Wii Play is probably a better title for non-gamers than it is for gamers. It has the ability to introduce people to gaming in a similar, but more inviting way than the very first video games did. Wii Play’s assets are surpassed in pretty much every way by other games, but there are a few mini-games on the disc are worth having even if they won’t be played much. Furthermore, Wii remotes are in limited supply, and ten extra bucks isn’t a bad deal for the set.


Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
5.5 5 8.5 6.5 4.5 6

Graphics are even simpler than Wii Sports in some cases, with the game focusing more on control than presentation. The game uses Miis as Wii Sports does, but if you’ve really wanted to have Miis with arms, Wii Play is your answer.


The soundtrack is mostly ambient and appropriate for each mini-game, but never notable.


The entire intent of Wii Play is to introduce people to Wii Remote controls. Thankfully, control is simple and precise. The only game that might present some initial trouble is Billiards, since it goes so far to try to mimic the feel of real pool shots. In this case, the complicated controls may frustrate inexperienced players.


Gameplay in the games generally have about as much depth as games released over twenty years ago. The shallowness is offset by the fact that simple is sometimes a key factor in fun. In any case, most of the games are fun for a time, and will probably be appreciated more by non-gamers than the hardcore.


While the collection is able to serve its purpose in introducing players to Wii control, more serious gamers will blast through the modes quickly and find little replay value due to lack of variation within the game modes. Players can replay games to earn high scores and medals.


The games found in Wii Play are a decent introduction to Wii that allow a certain amount of fun, though they can quickly get old. The games began as amusing tech demos, but unfortunately have not matured beyond that stage. Other games such as Wii Sports and WarioWare: Smooth Moves are better candidates for depth and lasting appeal.


  • Easy to understand and play
  • Good introduction to controls
  • Games are as shallow as the tech demos they are
  • Games can’t be customized
Review Page 2: Conclusion


MarioMarch 05, 2007

Much fairer Wii Play review.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusMarch 05, 2007

I thought Wii Play was a ton of fun. Every review I read gave me the impression that the game was a pile of dogsh*t, however when I picked it up I found the complete opposite. I think Wii Play has the incredible ability to be picked up and played anytime and still be fun. I haven't grown bored of it yet and overall I enjoyed every game in the collection (some more than others). I thought this review was alot better than the other, mentioning that at $10, after factoring out the price of the controller, this game is well worth it.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterMarch 05, 2007


Originally posted by: Mario
Much fairer Wii Play review.

My thoughts exactly.

I haven't played the game, but a 6 is the perfect score for the game since:
- It IS a compilation of tech demos from E3
- It only allows 2 player

CericMarch 05, 2007

My Wife loves the Crochetted cow game and she'll actually play the Wii because of that game. (Not my insistence she tries some different games.) Thats worth the 10 dollars right their.

I do have to say though, that yes I wish the shooting game had more levels and a few different modes. Though I find Find Mii to have a good amount of depth. The fishing game could of had a few extra ponds. The Cow game I would have loved to have more tracks for.

Now what actually surprised me after reading the reviews was how much relative depth the Nine-ball game had. Beside the push mechanic being a little glitchy for me. Everything tends to factor in just like in the real game. So I think that is done well. Laser hockey as well with a fast and slow side to the thing.

So in the end yes I wish there where more modes for most of the games. But I'm glad I spent the money.

darknight06March 06, 2007

It's $19.99 used. If you're curious and see a used one grab it up.

NinGurl69 *hugglesMarch 06, 2007

I say this review is incomplete without reviewing the controller. It's part of the package, afterall, so multiplayer should be an even bigger consideration. If it's terrible multiplayer, it has to be thoroughly tested and reviewed.

trip1eXMarch 06, 2007

Well worth $10 bucks. Sure it's 9 'tech demos,' but hey back in the day tech demos were full blown games and $50 a piece.

These games are the equivalent of going to an arcade and playing skeeball or mini-basketball. Fun stuff that you won't play day and night for 2 weeks, but something you'll break out every now and then and have fun with. With other people the fun is increased 10x because trying to get more goals, hook more fish, kill more thanks, shoot more targets, etc will always be fun.

AFter playing Sonic you really appreciate the nice controls here and the nice clean presentation.

Smoke39March 06, 2007


Originally posted by: pap64
I haven't played the game, but a 6 is the perfect score for the game.

How can you score the game if you've never played it?

GoldenPhoenixMarch 06, 2007


Originally posted by: Smoke39

Originally posted by: pap64
I haven't played the game, but a 6 is the perfect score for the game.

How can you score the game if you've never played it?

Just like he can defend Sonic SR without playing it. face-icon-small-smile.gif

IceColdMarch 06, 2007

715 on the shooting gallery!

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterMarch 06, 2007


Originally posted by: Smoke39

Originally posted by: pap64
I haven't played the game, but a 6 is the perfect score for the game.

How can you score the game if you've never played it?

Because that's the average score the game has been getting. A 6 is the universal middle score for sub par games that are fun, but not the best.

In Wii Play's case, half of the games work, the other half doesn't. It doesn't work as a full fledged but works perfectly as an intro to the Wii.

DAaaMan64October 09, 2007

So guess what... I rented this. I love it. :p I am gonna pick it up someday. The only two mini games I don't like is the brain age type match the people crap and the air hockey/pong game. I love the shooting/duck hunt one and tanks is really cool to face-icon-small-smile.gif
I am gonna say 9/10 if ya can get it for $10 bucks, snap a point off for every 10 dollars you spend past that. Except maybe at 30, take two points away face-icon-small-smile.gif

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Wii Play Box Art

Genre Party/Parlor
Developer Nintendo
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

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

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