November 19, 2006 (NA)
December 2, 2006 (JP)
December 7, 2006 (AU)
December 8, 2006 (EU)
Wii Sports is the appropriately-named flagship title for Nintendo’s Wii console. It is a simple collection of five sports games – tennis, bowling, baseball, golf, and boxing – that utilize the motion-sensing Wii remote to make you feel like you’re really playing the game. Wii Sports is not without its flaws, but all-in-all it is the perfect inclusion with the console to show what the controller can do, and its mass-market appeal will have even non-gamers like your Mom, Dad, and Grandma enjoying it.
The graphics are simplistic, utilizing the Wii’s Mii system. As you most likely know by now, the Wii allows you to create simple personal avatars called Miis that represent you in certain games. Wii Sports incorporates your Mii into every game, as well as the Miis of your friends and family that you have in your Mii Plaza. Sometimes they will simply observe your Mii and be in the crowd (as in bowling), while other times they will actually play the game with you (baseball). This is a nice touch, albeit fairly useless since they all control the same and have no real advantages over each other.
Otherwise, the graphics are very plain and basic; which is fine, because the game doesn’t need amazing visuals. Wii Sports is the perfect example of Nintendo’s gameplay-over-graphics philosophy that they have adopted with the Wii, and while the graphics are barely even GameCube-level technically, they are bright, cheerful, and appealing to all ages.
But of course the gameplay matters most, and Wii Sports delivers simple, fun gameplay that will appeal to everyone. It’s easy to find yourself getting wound up in swinging the Wiimote like a baseball bat or punching with the Wiimote and nunchuck. Many times your motions don’t actually register 1-to-1 with what’s happening on-screen, but it doesn’t matter – you’ll still be flailing around, whacking the tennis ball with your Wiimote racket like you’re in the middle of a heated match at Wimbledon or batting for a major-league baseball team.
Bowling is the best game in Wii Sports. It is the closest to actually playing the real game, and the motions required make you feel like you’re really in the bowling alley. If you twist your wrist while swinging the bowling ball, er…Wiimote, the ball will curve just like a real bowling ball would. You’ll also need to line up your shots before throwing the ball, using the d-pad. The motions and mechanics just correspond so amazingly well to the real game that it’s hard to tell the difference between the two (except about 10-15 pounds of difference between the bowling ball and Wiimote).
Tennis was the first Wii Sports game revealed. It has a few problems though – mainly that you can’t control the movement of your players and sometimes the Wii won’t register a swing as it should, resulting in a missed hit. Overall the game is still very addictive however, and a few limitations of the controls shouldn’t dampen your experience with it. The mechanics are still quite impressive – if you swing too early or too late, you’ll miss the ball or veer it off into another direction. Being able to control the movement of your players would be nice, but for free, we’re not complaining one bit.
Baseball is a game that sadly doesn’t live up to its full potential. The physics and mechanics are fairly spot-on, but the problem is that you only bat and pitch. Once again, player control is not an option as the computer runs the bases for you. It’s impossible to be tagged out, and every different hit will give you a set number of bases. The actual batting and pitching mechanics are pretty impressive though. You can pitch different types of pitches, such as curve balls and fast balls, and each type of ball requires you to time your swings perfectly when you’re at bat. Still great fun, but once again, it would have been nice to be able to run the bases yourself.
Boxing will easily give you the best workout of all the Wii Sports games. It’s so easy to find yourself jumping in place while throwing punches and avoiding the opponent’s punches, just like a real boxer. It’s also the only game to use the nunchuck as well as the Wiimote, each corresponding to one fist. You can do different types of moves, such as uppercuts and straight-out jabs, as well as guard against the other player’s punches. Putting your “fists” in front of your face, for example, guards against a hit to the face. The control scheme is very inventive, and while your motions don’t always correspond exactly to what’s going on on-screen, it’s still a lot of fun and very intuitive. It’s also a good way to work up a sweat.
Golf is pure, unadulterated garbage; pure and simple. It’s nowhere near the caliber of the other games in Wii Sports. It’s hard to get your swings to register, and when they do it usually causes you to overshoot. This is especially noticeable when you’re on the green and close to the hole. Out of all the games, this is the one that really could have used a lot more work.
The multiplayer aspect of Wii Sports revolves around family and friends gathering around the TV, passing the Wiimote around or having their own Wiimotes, and trying to outdo one another, or just have fun. It’s the perfect party game, and perhaps the most fun comes out of laughing at your college roommate Jimmy, Mom, Grandpa, or your next-door neighbor Bob jumping up and down, swinging a remote, and acting like a total mental case. But it’s all in fun, and you’ll be doing your share of looking like a mental case as well.
There are also training modes, which involve you completing such objectives as hitting so many home runs, or scoring so many times against a tennis opponent. The game also has a fitness mode, which has you performing these training exercises, after which the game calculates your Wii fitness age – similar to Brain Age for the DS. Nice for those who want to get fitter or lose a few pounds.
Nintendo hit a home run with Wii Sports with the Wii’s launch back in 2006. The controls are simple and for the most part intuitive, it served as a great way to show the capabilities of the Wii remote, and it has such a wide appeal that almost anyone will be interested in at least trying it out – nongamer, casual gamer, or hardcore gamer alike. This is the game that propelled the Wii to the front of the console race and brought Nintendo back to the head of the gaming industry, and even now, years after Wii’s launch, it’s still a fun game to get your non-gamer friends playing; and it’s a great game to pull out at parties.
Fun party game.
Great demo of Wii tech.
Golf sucks horribly.