/ 14 July 2009

Nintendo scores with Wii Sports Resort

The original Wii Sports is technically the biggest selling game of all time, so the sequel is a big deal.

The original Wii Sports is technically the biggest selling game of all time.

OK, it was bundled with the console and so shouldn’t really count but for many, Wii Sports was the reason they bought a Wii. So the arrival of the sequel — Wii Sports Resort — is a big deal.

It’s also expensive, though that is partly explained by the inclusion of the MotionPlus. This nifty bit of kit attaches to the end of your Wii and adds increased sensitivity and accuracy to the Wiimote. It is essential to play Wii Sports Resort and by and large it works too, especially in events like Archery. In fact, after a few goes you won’t want to go back to the original Wii Sports.

There are 12 sports included, two of which you may be familiar with from the original. Yes, Golf and Bowling are back but both are noticeably improved. Golf is no Tiger Woods 10, but there is a lot more too it this time, with wrist flicks crucial and more skill required. While Bowling — the family favorite of the original game — is now much more dependent on spin and subtlety.

Like the game as whole there is a lot more depth and long-term replay potential. Of the new events, Archery and Swordplay are obvious hits. The former uses the nunchuck and MotionPlus to great effect and offers a real long-term challenge. No chance your mum will fluke a win over you on this one. Swordplay too demands some skill even if the MotionPlus enhanced action is not quite as accurate as you hope for. Wakeboarding is fun too, as you turn the Wiimote sideways to mimic the rope handle and crash through the waves. In fact this might be the first event you show to new players.

Other highlights include Table Tennis — simplistic yes, but it feels right — and the Pilotwings style serenity of the Skydiving and Island Flyover events. Frisbee is fun in short doses too, with deft flicks of the wrist having a noticeable effect on direction. Some of the events feel undercooked though. Basketball is a little too random and the cycling is actually rather tedious. The game is full of neat touches throughout, which remind you that Nintendo does “casual” console gaming like no other.

The start of the game, for example, sees you skydiving down to the island, complete with all your Miis joining you on the jump.

Wii Sports Resort includes many standard videogame features such as unlockable games and does actually reward skill. There is even a rudimentary Xbox Live style Achievement system — called Stamps — which encourages you to get better. Wii Sports Resort is bigger, better and deeper than the original Wii Sports. Don’t bet against it being the biggest selling game this year. — Guardian.co.uk