While the Wii Play games will turn the Wii controller into a fishing rod that you pull up on to hook fish or a pool cue that you pull back and shove forward to smack balls on a virtual billiards table, the nine games just aren't as much fun to play as those found in Wii Sports, and they lack depth. Touted as a follow-up title to Wii Sports, Wii Play also misses the boat for group play by limiting the multi-player option to two people instead of four.
However, like Wii Sports, Wii Play it does offer easy entrée into playing video games and encourages those new to video gaming to give it a try. And for families that have not yet bought enough controllers, Wii Play comes packaged with one at reasonable price.
Wii Play offers nine games in either single- or two-player mode. By playing the games in order, you unlock them. The first is "Shooting Range," a game of point-and-shoot target practice involving balloons, clay pigeons, soda cans, and UFOs. Four of the games are adaptations of common activities: table tennis, fishing, billiards, and air hockey. Two others involve matching Miis (Miis are on-screen characters generated by the game or created by the you as your avatar). In "Find Mii," you scan other Miis faces to match pairs or triplets. With "Pose Mii," you twist the Wii controller to make your onscreen Mii match the position of the silhouette floating in a bubble. A cow-racing game and a strategy game called "Tanks!" round out the selection.
Our kid-testers, avid fans of Wii Sports, excitedly put the Wii Play game through its paces. The Wii controller turned out to be a responsive paddle to send the puck flying across the Laser Hockey table. When turned on it side, the controller was an effective way to control the cow that was racing down the road in the game called "Charge!" Tilt the controller forward and the cow goes faster, yank the controller up rapidly and the bovine jumps over obstacles. Tilt it left or right, and the cow veers in that direction. Testers had some trouble with the billiards game, because the controls were sometimes non-responsive. The "Find Mii" game reminded them of hunting for people in the "Where's Waldo" books.
Our testers enjoyed the novelty of exploring all nine games, but they would rather play Wii Sports because those games have more depth and provide endless gameplay. When playing a tennis game in Wii Sports, the game is always fresh because it depends on your finesse to add topspin or a slice to the ball. With Wii Play the similar game of table tennis is lackluster because you simply place your paddle to hit the ball back (as in the arcade game "Pong") and you can't add spins or fancy serves to keep the game interesting. The Wii Play games got old quickly.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.