Basketball threw me off at first. I thought that my movements would not matter that much, but the game definitely rewards you for proper hand and wrist movement, and for maximizing the height and arc of your shot. You will put your entire body into basketball as if you were actually taking a perimeter shot, and once you get the hang of it, you realize just how fun this mode is. The 3-on-3 pickup mode you unlock after finishing the 3-point competition is also great fun. My team of Miis, including myself, Mrs. Garrison and Shigeru Miyamoto (thank you Check Mii Out channel, thank you) is capable of taking deep shots, swiping the ball from helpless opponents on offense, and even dunking. I wish I could have recorded the Mii version of Shiggy dunking, I really do. It seems a little weird at first, but a few plays will reveal that you can actually master it and play some great matches with buddies.
Table Tennis can get intense, especially with all the fine movements MotionPlus allows for. You can put some serious spin on the ball, and since the speed of your swing is also recognized, you can do some damage with hard serves and returns. There’s a standard 1-on-1 mode, as well as a return challenge where you see how many serves you can return before you miss one or hit one out. I like this quite a bit more than standard tennis from the original Wii Sports title, especially with the refined movements and fast pace.
Golf and Bowling make their return from the original; golf now has 18-hole play and Bowling has a full-game mode with 100 pins per frame, meaning you can score a 3000 for a perfect game. Both have improved thanks to Wii MotionPlus, though bowling has seen the most from it. Golf still feels a little off, especially when compared to what EA did with Tiger Woods recently.
Air Sports are a great time. While sky diving isn’t too much fun after the first time you do it, checking out the island on a flyover is great. You control the plane while holding the Wii Remote like you would a paper airplane, and you push forward for a speed boost and pull back to decrease speed. You can just fly around and goof off in the sky, or you can search for any of the 80 important points on the island, marked with an “i”. This, in addition to the dogfighting mode that has you popping balloons that your opponent is dragging behind them, makes me want a proper Pilotwings sequel on the Wii. These modes are great fun on their own, but the potential they exhibit is the real winner here.
Now, for the more questionable games. Wakeboarding has its moments, and can be exciting at first, but once you realize you don’t have as much control over the moves as you wish, it loses its appeal. You simply need to make sure the Wii Remote is level when you land, which is the extent of the influence you have over the tricks. I want to love Power Cruising, but the controls are much too iffy; you hold the Wii Remote and Nunchuk sideways like you’re controlling the craft you are riding, but it makes turning and accurate cruising difficult. It’s also a bit basic, even for a game like this. Cycling has you essentially pedaling with your arms, but at least it controls well and comes in a race form. This is probably the one of these four questionable ones that I could pop up into solid experiences, but I can’t shake the feeling it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the title in either execution or style. The worst offender is canoeing though, as it is completely worthless with just one player, and about as fun as the Mario Party canoeing games when you have another person to help you out. It feels like work, and not in a satisfying way; it doesn’t help that it’s much too touchy, so you just end up piloting in circles if you don’t get everything perfect or try to move too quickly.
Blast Factor: Even with the few mini-games, Wii Sports Resort packs enough quality into the title to make it a must-own Wii title. It makes great use of the new Wii MotionPlus accessory, and shows us what is possible now that Nintendo has the motion controls we initially believed would be included with the system in place. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is just a simple cash-in using the well-known Wii Sports name though, as Resort is a more than worthy successor, the far superior title, and one that should stay in your collection for both its single and multiplayer qualities.
Wii Sports Resort is available exclusively for the Nintendo Wii, and retails for $49.99. It comes with one Wii MotionPlus accessory.