Every video game accessory needs a killer app- a game so fun or impressive that it makes gamers rush out and purchase the peripheral for it. While Sony and Microsoft tend to struggle with this concept, Nintendo comes to the table packing heat with every peripheral release. Is there any doubt?
With the Wii Wheel, they gave us Mario Kart Wii. With the Wii Zapper, they gave us Link’s Crossbow Training. The Wii Balance Board brought with it, Wii Fit. Wii Speak had Animal Crossing: City Folk at its side. The Wii remote had Wii Play to back it up. Heck, the Nintendo Wii itself came bundled with Wii Sports. This time around, Wii Sports Resort is leading the charge. Put simply, Nintendo knows how to market a peripheral. In comparison, just look at the underwhelming, unimpressive launches of Playstation Move and Xbox 360 Kinect. Sad…
Wii Motion Plus is a difficult peripheral to explain compared to other Wii accessories. Unlike the Wii Wheel or Wii Zapper, WMP doesn’t have a set standard of use. It isn’t just meant to be used for racing or shooting games. Wii Motion + is capable of revolutionizing any genre. How? Wii Motion Plus improves the accuracy and capabilities of the Wiimote. Compatible games are able to completely and accurately track movements and then apply them to gameplay more tangibly. Whereas the Wiimote on its own registers standalone and most real-time motions, WMP can detect a fuller range of sophisticated actions.
Composed of the same crisp, white material as other Wii accessories- WMP fits right in with the rest. It’s lightweight and appealingly designed for those potentially daunted by altering their Wiimotes. It clips into place at the bottom of the Wii remote and allows the nunchuk to connect at the bottom of it. The Wii Motion Plus is packaged with an extended Wiimote jacket. Is Wii Motion Plus a miracle device or does it not fulfill its promises?
Wii Sports Resort
Nintendo deserves a great deal of praise for Wii Sports Resort. The successor to the original Wii Sports had some big shoes to fill. The original, bundled with the Nintendo Wii itself, introduced gamers to five motion-controlled games- Baseball, Boxing, Tennis, Bowling, and Golf. Wii Sports Resort managed to prove just how impressive the WMP tech is while simultaneously giving a more varied, entertaining experience than its predecessor.
Wii Sports Resort contains Swordplay, Archery, Basketball, Frisbee, Wakeboarding, Air Sports, Cycling, Canoeing, Golf, Bowling, Power-cruising, and Table Tennis. Wii Motion Plus is especially impressive when used with Swordplay, Archery, the Air Sports, and Frisbee. Table Tennis, Golf, and Bowling were all given fresh, more accurate controls and are great improvements- though regular Tennis is missed. Canoeing and Cycling are decent, but come across as the weakest members of the package. Basketball and Wakeboarding are both a lot of fun, but WMP doesn’t revolutionize the sports. For more on Wii Sports Resort, check out my review:
Red Steel 2
As I’ve said in other reviews, every accessory needs a second killer app to really make it successful. The original Red Steel was a curious, albeit ultimately disappointing, early exclusive for the Nintendo Wii. It introduced many shooter fans to the accuracy and intuitive capabilities of the Wiimote’s IR pointer. Now we have a sequel… and the second killer app for Wii Motion Plus.
The swordplay, put simply, is amazing. While I’d say that Wii Sports Resort was more impressive control-wise, Red Steel 2 does a fantastic job with it. You’ll swap seamlessly between bladed combat and gunplay. It’s a great experience and a cool second game to pick up for your Wii Motion Plus unit. My only complaint is the lack of a multiplayer mode. A full-packaged, multiplayer sword-fighting game is exactly what the Wii needs.
All Star Karate
There isn’t much to say here compared to Wii Sports Resort and Red Steel 2. All Star Karate is a fun, though bland experience. The combat isn’t particularly deep and the characters are generic. Regardless, it has its moments as a budget fighting game. Wii Motion Plus does improve the accuracy of the gameplay, but it doesn’t really make or break the overall package. For more on All Star Karate, check out my review:
Virtua Tennis 2009
Sega wowed Wii gamers with its tennis gameplay with WMP last year. Virtua Tennis 2009 and Grand Slam Tennis to a lesser extent, gave gamers the devoted tennis game they’d been waiting for. WMP made it control fantastically and the in-game options were highly impressive. So why do I spend way more time playing my copy of Mario Power Tennis Wii, despite it not being compatible with WMP? While Virtua Tennis 2009 is impressive, it just isn’t as fun as it should be. Whereas Mario Power Tennis Wii is addictively fun, VT 2009 is just… okay.
The Garfield Show: Threat of the Space Lasagna
I’m sure this is coming out of left field, right? Have you ever even heard of this game? As a fan of Garfield, I decided to rent this WMP-compatible title for the purpose of this review. There isn’t really much to say here, but I think I have a fair analysis. While clearly made as a Garfield mini-game cash-in, I must say… WMP turns this from a budget-nothing, to an entertaining, experimental Garfield mini-game collection.
While it comes across as a Rayman Raving Rabbids clone, replacing Rayman with Garfield and the rabbids with space lasagna and mice, its fairly fun. By no means genius in design, the pizza throwing, food dodging, balloon popping gameplay isn’t something to sneeze at. Just make sure you stay away from the Wii Balance Board control scheme…
After playing this pool of Wii Motion Plus games, I’m pretty optimistic about the future of WMP development. While I think some recently released blockbuster games could have benefited from WMP-support (Monster Hunter Tri, Samurai Warriors 3, and Metroid: Other M, to name a few)), I believe anyone that buys a Wii Motion Plus unit will be impressed with it. With upcoming games like Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, The Grinder, Conduit 2, and FlingSmash, the future looks bright. Fairly highly recommended.