Friendly sports competition out in the sun!
Welcome to Wuhu Island – the ever sunny vacation resort. It is the paradise island where the Mii’s collectively elect to spend their vacation – and what could possibly be better than to spend your free time with some casual and relaxed sports together with friends and family?
Wii Sports Resort is the sequel to Wii Sports – the game that came to be the best-selling game ever released. As such, Wii Sports Resort sure has a lot to live up to and anyone who gives this game a try can readily acknowledge its player friendly design, super intuitive controls and instant fun factor.
This is a sports game where you can play twelve different sports in numerous game modes for up to four players. The game requires the Wii Motion Plus to be attached to the Wii Remote and the game is sold bundled with it. The Wii Motion Plus allows the game to utilize more accurate motion controls and some of the sports events also require the Nunchuk peripheral.
The game is mainly a local multiplayer pick-up-and-play experience but it can also be enjoyed alone – at least to some extent. This is definitely a game that plays best in a social context.
Thanks to the many different and varied sports and game modes you’ll be able to spend numerous hours here and have fun every second of it. You can unlock new game modes within each sport as you achieve good enough results in them. There is also a set of stamps that are like special achievements that can be collected in each of the sports. These typically require you to do outstanding performances, perfect scores and practices of comical relief.
Typical for all Wii Sports events is that the better you perform, the harder it will get. This makes sure that the difficulty level stays challenging and it also encourages you to keep becoming better and better – to see how far you can go! After each game you’ll see your current skill level either rise or lower, depending on your recent performance. You’ll always be faced with AI opponents (when playing alone, that is) that match your own skill level. This skill level is directly tied to your Mii, so if you don’t have a Mii saved on the console you won’t be able to make that kind of progress in the game.
We’ll go through the basic different sports and game modes found in Wii Sports Resort below.
Swordplay makes your Wii Mote the wooden (plastic?) sword in various sword related activities. The virtual sword does follow the motions of your Wii Remote precisely, but in order to assume the parrying stance you must hold down the B button.
- The Duel mode pits you against an opponent on a platform of limited dimensions. Your goal is to push your opponent off of the platform by striking successful swings at him. You need to block incoming attacks and find ways around your opponents defense. This is great fun and very competitive when playing against a human opponent.
- The Speed Slice is also played on a one-on-one basis. Various objects are thrown at you and your opponent and you must then slice the object, using the prompted attack – vertical, horizontal or diagonal slices from either left or right, up or down. The first one to strike the prompted attack wins the round and gains one point. This is basically a game that puts your reflexes to the test, and in order to avoid accidental slices you must stay calm and explore the fine line between acting and thinking.
- Showdown mode takes you to a course with numerous opponents coming at you at the same time. Your goal is to battle your way though them all and the faster you can clear the better. You can rake in massive hit combos and there are boss characters on every stage too.
In the Wakeboarding event you hold the Wii Remote sideways, as if you were holding on to a handlebar. You can steer yourself left and right as the boat drags you through the water and jumping is done by quick upward motions. You are given a set amount of time in which you’re supposed to surf the waves left behind by the boat and perform stunts and tricks in the air. The tricks seem to happen automatically depending how high and far you jump – the biggest challenge is to land straight after every jump.
Wakeboarding can be played on three different difficulty levels – Beginner, Intermediate and Expert.
The Frisbee event will have you hold the Wii Remote horizontally and throwing the frisbee is simply done by a making swinging motion with your arm – backhand and forehand throws are both acting like their real world counterparts, so you can throw any way you like. Frisbee can be played on either manual or automatic throwing style – manual throwing will require you to hold the B button while swinging and releasing the button will release your hold of the frisbee. It can be argued that the this will give you better control of what you’re doing, so it’s nice to have the option there.
Before each throw you must select which frisbee you want to use. There are three different frisbees and because of their varying sizes they”ll perform accordingly.
- Frisbee Dog is a frisbee throwing sport where you are supposed to throw a frisbee into the air – sometimes hitting balloons for extra points – and hit a designated spot. A dog will run after your frisbee and if you come close enough to the spot the dog will catch your frisbee before it lands – the closer you come to the spot the more points you are given.
- Frisbee Golf is a variant of Golf where you use frisbees instead of clubs and balls. Instead of a hole, there is a marked area that you need to hit in order to score. This is one of the most enjoyable events in Wii Sports Resort and can be played on either three, nine or an eighteen hole setup. You can play on all new “resort” courses or “classic” courses previously seen in Wii Sports.
Archery is played using the Nunchuk as the bowstring and the Wii Remote as the bow. The goal of this event is to hit targets and there are twelve courses across three different difficulty levels. The intermediate course will have moving targets and the expert course will have obstacles obscuring the target. You need to take winds and range into consideration when aiming your shots.
When Archery is played in multiplayer you get to choose if you want to play in teams or track individual scores. Team play will have one person from each team shoot two regular arrows and the second team member will be given a golden arrow that’s worth double the score.
Basketball with the Wii Motion Plus works better than expected but is also heavily assisted by automation. Throwing the ball is simply done by making an upward motion. The game instructs you to do a motion “as if striking a bell above your head”. Scoring points is generally not hard as long as you apply the correct amount of force, which is a matter of trial and error. The margins are pretty generous.
- The 3-Point Contest game gives you 60 seconds to throw 25 balls. The tight time limit does not allow you take your time to aim the throws, but with practice you’ll be able to hit those hoops.
- The 3-on-3 Game is a strategical basket game where timing is everything. It’s a basic three on three variant of basket that takes place on one half of the court. When attacking, you’re allowed to pass the ball from one team member to another, but you’re not allowed to move. Instead, you must dribble the ball and search for openings where you can shoot the ball at the basket unhindered. When defending you must try to predict when the attacker is going to pass or shoot and snatch the ball from them by swinging the Wii Remote.
Perhaps the best part of the entire Wii Sports Resort; Table Tennis is as intuitive as it gets. The A button is used to throw up the ball when serving but other than that the entire event is controlled with the motions of your wrist. Slice shots, backhands and forehands are no problem to perform and you don’t have to worry about doing any legwork because your Mii positions itself automatically for you to make the shots.
- The Match mode is a basic Table Tennis game. In two player mode, the screen is split so that you can still view the action from behind.
- The Return Challenge mode is a special mode where you return serves and try to hit cans that are placed on the table for bonus points. This event is incredibly addicting and once you start to play it you’ll want to play it again and again to increase your record score.
Golf makes a return from Wii Sports but this time it’s beefed up with new courses and Wii Motion Plus powered controls. Thus you’ll be able to aim shots with wrist movement, do precise putting and enjoy better control of the power behind the swing. The courses you play here are the same as in Frisbee Golf, so there is Resort- and Classic courses and you can play three, nine or eighteen hole games. The courses vary in difficulty as you’ll have to watch out for water hazards, sand bunkers and other obstacles.
Bowling is also a returning sports from Wii Sports and it has also been greatly improved with the Wii Motion Plus support. Spinning the bowling ball is now done with great precision making it very easy to learn and fun to play around with.
- The 10-Pin Game is the most basic form of bowling you all know and love.
- The 100-Pin Game let’s you play bowling with 100 pins instead of the regular ten. This is very much over the top, and can make for some comic relief in between the more serious games.
- Spin Control mode will require you to perform difficult spins and other extreme ball handling practices. It acts as a perfect opportunity to learn how to manage difficult situations in the 10-Pin Game but it can also be an extra bowling challenge for newcomers and veterans alike.
Power Cruising consists of high-speed racing on jet-skis. The waves of the water have a major impact on the vehicle and must be taken into consideration when navigating through the course.
- The Slalom Course takes you through numerous gates which you must pass in order to progress through the course. Each gate has a center area and if you manage to pass through these you’re given extra points.
- VS mode allows you to race the slalom courses against a friend on a split screen setup.
In Canoeing you use the Wii Remote as a paddle which in turn is used to navigate through the obstacle course. This is a very tiring and realistic event! Also the practice course is a mini game in itself where you’re guiding lost ducks to find their mama duck.
- Speed Challenge can be played with up to four players cooperatively as everyone is seated in one canoe. The goal is to race through the course as fast as possible. The challenge lies in avoiding obstacles and coordinating the paddle movement. The game will also rank each player’s efforts with funny titles and you’ll be able to test how far you can get in 60 seconds.
- VS mode lets you play with up to four people on three different courses. All players are sharing the same screen, but the camera does an adequate effort in following the action. The first player that reaches the set amount of check-points first wins.
Cycling is done by paddling with your hands using the Wii Remote and a Nunchuk. Steering is done by tilting the controllers left or right and the challenge is to keep an eye on your stress level and momentum of your speed. If you paddle too fast and fail to catch your breath, you must pause and drink some water in order to regain energy.
- Road Race mode features six different courses that can be played in either one stage at a time or a three stage marathon. You’re competing against 29 other contenders and your goal is to place first in the race. Time records are saved and the stages are long – if you’re out of shape you’re sure to break a sweat here every time.
- VS mode allows you to play with two players head-to-head on a split screen set up.
Air Sports come in three different types. It’s debatable whether these can be called sports at all but they’re all heavily utilizing the Wii Moton Plus functions.
- Skydiving is simply done by tilting the Wii Remote. Catch other skydivers and create formations and pose for the camera to score extra points.
- Island Flyover takes you on a plane flight over Wuhu Island. Locate various sight-seeing spots and collect floating info-bubbles to score points. Try to find all hidden locations in the set time limit.
- Dogfight is a one-on-one air plane shoot out. Your plane has balloons attached to it and you can shoot your opponents balloons. You can also collect new balloons by flying through “balloon-rings” that can be found here and there around the island. When the three-minute time limit is over, the one with the most balloons attached to his plane is declared the winner.
Other than the mentioned sports events above, there are numerous unlockable bonus stages, hidden mini games and other secrets and settings that can be applied. With that said, the replay value of this entire package is very good and with a few players it’s the ultimate kick-off/party/team building/after work game that can be played again and again.
Wii Sports Resort does have a high number of screens that you need to dismiss between the sports events – there are practice sessions, friendly reminders, skill level screens and other text screens that may be helpful the first few times you play but later becomes redundant. You’ll also need to calibrate the Wii Remote each time the game finds a Wii Remote and this is done simply by putting the Wii Remote face down on a flat surface.
Other than this, there are virtually no loading times in your way, so you’re pretty much spending your time actually playing the game rather than staring at loading screens.
By far, the biggest strength of Wii Sports Resort is its player friendly design and controls. Anyone can play and compete. With some training anyone can be a champ. It does not alienate any category of people, because the theme is very casual and relaxed and the controls are so intuitive. But this can also be considered a double-edged sword – the easy to play and approachable design has had to sacrifice depth of some of the events. But Wii Sports Resort is all about variety and as such it does deliver lots.
There are some minor hiccups in the controls that can cause some confusion and sometimes (very rarely) erratic behavior. But for the most part, as long as you follow the on-screen instructions you won’t have any problems what so ever – it’s when you start free styling when things can go haywire which, to be fair isn’t very surprising. But even so the problem is very minor. The control scheme is very accepting and you can adapt your personal style without problems.
The graphics in Wii Sports Resort are nice. The colors are rich and the shader effects aren’t over used. The game has the same lean clean design that Wii Sports has but takes it one step further. It’s easy on the eyes, easy to follow and the on-screen text is easy to read. Overall the visuals are crisp and sharp.
The game also utilizes a physics engine that gives both frisbees, golf balls and so on realistic behavior which, of course greatly adds to the experience.
As the main characters of the game is your own Mii’s, it again makes for some cheap laughs as you see your own character either fall flat on his face or fall down a cliff while riding a bicycle.
The only frame rate drops we’ve seen occurs during the Road Race cycling event, and even there it’s very minor and won’t hurt your overall experience.
The music has now become characteristic to Wii Sports but it’s still pretty generic at the same time. There’s typically no music playing during the sports events, but the few songs that you can hear are typically easy listening cheesy lounge music. Each sport event does have its own theme music, which adds a nice and unique touch to each event.
The sound effects are simple but well done. Other than the sounds related to each sport event, you’ll hear cute sounds indicating events in the game such as check points, records and penalties. You can also hear an audience cheering you on, which is strangely satisfying and naturally goes with the game.
Wii Sports Resort is by all means a game for everyone. It has a wealth of amazing gaming experiences, much thanks to the Wii Motion Plus technology. There are lots of fun activities to engage in here, and together with friends and family the game really shines.
The game will most likely leave you wanting more – a few more stages, more sports events and more game modes are welcomed, so let’s hope for a sequel! In the meantime, good luck setting and beating records in your favorite Wii Sports Resort events.