Wii Sports
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2006-11-22 Wii Sports E (Everyone) Nintendo

My first experience with the Wii - after recovering from the shock of actually receiving one directly from Nintendo - was to try to get used to what I thought was a clunky control system. To my surprise, Wii Sports proved me otherwise in a matter of minutes.

Wii Sports is a collection of five simple sports games especially designed to get everyone acquainted with the Wii controllers. Included are baseball, boxing, tennis, golf and bowling.

Your playing character (as well as your adversary) can be any of the little Mii you create. The more you play the games, the higher your Mii's skill becomes, and you get to track your progress via a graph.

The first thing I played was a baseball game against my husband. I had a blast while we switched between pitching and batting, and seeing how the Miis acted according to our movements. I lost count as to how many times I heard "foul ball", but it was a unique experience. We use the Wii remote to swing the bat at the right time and to throw the ball as hard as possible, and then we watch as the little Miis scatter all over the field in between rounds. A cool added touch: the game registers the speed we manage to throw the ball at and even spots curve or screw balls.

We moved on to golf, where we had to stand and use the remote as a club, swinging it and adjusting our Mii position to where we wanted the ball to go on the green. I found out that putts really aren't my thing, but I'm pretty good at making that ball fly. You get the chance to practice your swing before you actually hit the ball, adjusting strength and watching the meter which represents the four zones on the map. After playing the other games, I found that the use of the Wii remote in golf wasn't as accurate as bowling or tennis.

I must say I really don't like boxing one bit, but actually boxing with the remote on one hand and the nunchuck on the other (they represent your gloves) is a blast. You actually swing at your opponent with both hands, and depending on the angle, you can deliver a number of different punches. Raising both controllers to your face or placing them in front of your chest will protect your Mii's face or chest from incoming blows. Tilting both remotes to either side makes your Mii lean to the sides and circle around the opponent. Boxing is my favorite Wii Sport, and one I keep on playing until my arms are tired.

My second favorite is bowling. I love bowling, but I have very weak wrists and every time I happen to go out to a bowling alley, I can't seem to find a ball light enough to let me play more than just one game. Wii bowling solves my problem! Using the remote as if it were the bowling ball, you swing back holding the B button, swing forward and release the button to let go of the ball. You can also adjust your position left or right to knock down the remaining pins. Watch out for the angle of the remote while throwing though. I kept throwing my virtual bowling ball curving to the left, so I made up by moving my Mii to the right, but it's interesting to see how the motion sensor registers small changes like that and reflects them in the ball's trajectory. Bowling matches can be played with up to four players.

Last but not least, there is tennis, which can also accommodate up to four players. I went for a single player match, where I had my Mii cloned to play pairs. Using the remote like a racket, you swing to hit the ball and return it to your opponent. You don't need to worry about moving your Mii around to whatever side of the court, it's all done automatically for you. The game doesn't care if you swing on the left or on the right, since it does that change automatically. But it does register your speed and angle, so basically, all you have to do is swing at the right time. It's that simple!

Actually, all games are that simple. More complicated are the training and fitness exercises. Each sport has a few training stages - mini games, if you will - designed to give you a bit more of a challenge and reward you with medals. For example in tennis, there is one where you have to return as many balls as possible. In bowling, you have to hit single pins that were left behind (picking up spares). Golf lets you do some target practice and in boxing you get to work out a sweat to make the punching bag fall.

Fitness can only be explained as Brain Age. There's a fitness test you can do once a day that evaluates your "Fitness Age". It picks out the exercises from the ones available in the training stages. The lower your "age", the better.

I was really happy to see that I could function right away in all games with something I had so many doubts about. Using either both or just one controller is an intuitive process, and it comes across as very natural, since you are using the same movements you would use on such sports.

Wii Sports is a great way to start changing the way you play games. It's bundled with the console, so you won't be missing out on it, unless you decide not to play it. It's hard not to enjoy yourself with these sports. They are a great fun interactive experience, especially if you're playing it with friends.

Special thanks to Allison Guillen and Nintendo for providing a copy of this title, and of course, a Wii to play it on!