Quick Game Review: WiiPlay for the Wii

WiiPlay would not be my first choice for a game purchase; but I needed a second controller and this came with it, so… Along with WiiSports, I can really see why Nintendo bills this system as a revolutionary “generation bridging” game system. I saw it accomplish the impossible first-hand–my wife and my mom both playing a video game together. With that being the case, WiiPlay has gone from what I predicted would be a sad, short life at the back of the entertainment center cabinet to one of our most oft played games, and consequently I’ve picked up some tips that some people might be interested in.

First, what’s worth playing on WiiPlay? The majority of the little games are not worth it. The Mii-matching/finding games, ping pong, fishing, etc. are either boring, not-well-executed, or both. Cow racing is kind of fun. But aside from these, there were a few exceptionally good games.

Shooting: The shooting game is like a glorified Duck Hunt. It would have been more fun if it had a lot more levels and if it limited your ammunition. As it is, players tend to just pull the trigger as fast as they can and hope to hit something. I try to play it “one shot, one kill” and it ends up, in the end, being more fun and challenging that way. Of course, people still can’t beat me unless I really ease up on them. ;)

Move your cross hairs quickly and smoothly, and take the shot as soon as it moves over the target then keep the controller’s momentum going to the next target. When you hear a dog barking, get ready to take shots at ducks that will fly across the screen. They’ll be worth more than whatever else you’re shooting at. They are especially helpful at the end of the last round if you are down by a few points, and your opponent has already started the celebration dance.

Laser Hockey: This is my favorite mini-game in WiiPlay.  It’s basically Pong, but Wii-style.  The more hits in a round, the faster the puck moves.  So you can get it going pretty fast on your opening shot if you knock it against the top or bottom of your area with your paddle.  Then send it sailing straight into your opponent’s goal!  Another cool trick is to lightly hit the puck, so it goes slow, then right before the puck crosses the center line, give it a good whack with a slightly different angle.  The opponent will still be expecting the puck on the original vector.  Here’s a worthless party trick–when the timer for the game is counting down, hold down the A and B buttons together to switch to an alternate paddle.

Billiards:  This is probably the game that gets played most often in this household.  It is very fun and playable in its simplicity.  I actually rented Pool Party for the Wii figuring it would be a way better pool game, and found the opposite to be true.  There’s just an elegance to the way WiiPlay handles the process of shooting the ball with the speed and distance traveled determining how hard it is hit.  Try to line up the silhouette with the target ball in such a way that all three elements (the silhouette, the target ball, and the pocket) all form a straight line.  Use the overhead view primarily, and try to check yourself with the primary view.  Here’s a tip it took us a long time to figure out–angle the view down on the ball and hit it hard and you can actually jump the cue ball over balls that are obstructing your next shot!

Tanks: Ahh… How fun this might have been if only it were a remake of the classic Atari game Combat!  Instead, it is only mildly amusing, as you cooperatively progress through levels with a friend taking shots at AI driven enemies on the playing field.  Tips: save a couple shots to fire at incoming projectiles, watch the bounce, and don’t forget to use mines.

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