You’ve all heard of Wii Sports by now. A genuine phenomenon in the world of games, one that you could play with your Nan, even if the swinging of the Tennis made her teeth fly out and land in the dog’s water bowl. It’s a known entity.
The idea of releasing the more beloved sports as a Wii U package, however, is an interesting one. There was always a heavy amount of confusion over the naming of Nintendo’s latest superb platform, and re-releasing a game that made the Wii so succesful might be asking for trouble. Despite that, Nintendo have made some tweaks to the content that make it worth considering.
Starting with Baseball, the clear winner on the disc, the GamePad comes into play as it should. Player one swings at the ball with the MotionPlus enabled Wiimote, sure, but the catching player uses the GamePad to line up a circle and catch the ball. Throwing a pitch is with the GamePad, too. You simply have to aim using the screen and press one of the corresponding face-buttons to choose which type of pitch you want to throw. It’s excellent and genuinely breathes new life into something I hadn’t played in years.
Bowling is identical, and so is Tennis. Both ask you to use the Wiimote as a substitute, and while bowling still feels excellent, time hasn’t been kind to the Tennis. Frustrating and awkward, I just couldn’t get on with it at all. Boxing is also pretty much the same as before, and still requires a couple of Wiimotes in order to get the most out of it.
And that’s where the biggest problem lies. To get the most out of Wii Sports Club, you need a couple of MotionPlus-enabled Wiimotes. It’s fair to assume most Wii U owners will own some Wii peripherals, but I’m not sure everyone will own two MotionPlus-enabled Wiimotes, which is required to play competitive offline Tennis.
Golf, however, remains excellent. In fact, it makes use of something Nintendo showed when they unveiled the Wii U. Place the GamePad on the floor and you will see your golf ball, allowing you to use the Wiimote to tee off. It’s the delivery of a promise, but it works well and adds immersion to a sport that was already represented incredibly well. It’s here that motion plus proves itself. Whereas in the other sports it feels a little tacked on, the accuracy added to the golfing feels great.
The biggest addition, of course, is the online multiplayer, which works well. This enlivens the Tennis, and while each sport remains fairly shallow, it adds legs to the overall package. Elsewhere there are training modes that let you practice your favourite sports, which is a nice touch. Rounding off the package is Miiverse integration, and the ability to join regional sports clubs to see who is the best at virtual sport. It’s another clever idea that proves this isn’t a lazy “HD” port, but it’s worth noting that it looks exactly as nice as you’d hope.
VERDICT: It’s a bit of a shame Nintendo didn’t see fit to mix Wii Sports and Resort together for this package, as some of the Resort activities are superior to the likes of Boxing and Tennis. Furthermore, the smart gamer would do well to buy the sports they are interested in separately, as the digital downloadable version of Wii Sports Club lets you do just that.
But this is still a game that revels in a party environment. Alone, there’s little to keep you coming back for too long, but after a few drinks, or with the family, Wii Sports continues to provide a good time. But please wear the straps when swinging the Wiimote; trust me, I’ve seen the damage first-hand.
GOOD. A game that scores 7/10 is worthy of note, but unworthy of fanfare. It does many things well, but only a few of them incredibly well and, despite a handful of good qualities, fresh ideas and solid mechanics, it fails to overwhelm.
Review code provided by publisher.