Travelling alone can be fun, but the best vacations are often the ones you take with friends (and perhaps your least annoying family members). Much the same can be said about Wii Sports Resort. Going solo to the Resort is enjoyable, and while the number of activities on offer — more than double that of 2007's Wii Sports — means this game will hold your attention longer than the original, the simple nature of each activity makes it a shallow single-player jaunt. But if you throw in some friends, it becomes a much more memorable holiday. Wii Sports Resort shines as a fun, accessible and varied multiplayer experience, and while not all of its mini-games are top-notch, there's plenty here to make this a great party game for any Wii owner.
Of course, to get in on the party, you'll need the new MotionPlus accessory because none of the games in Wii Sports Resort can be played without it. One MotionPlus is bundled with the game, and to Nintendo's credit, many of the mini-games can be played by sharing one remote and one MotionPlus with a few players. But you'll need to buy more if you're hoping for some simultaneous multiplayer action, and while this may seem like an unnecessary financial imposition from Nintendo, it doesn't take long to become convinced of the new accessory's worth. This isn't some gimmicky plastic peripheral — the MotionPlus gives even the simplest games in Wii Sports Resort an intricate level of sensitivity that is apparent from the moment you first pick up a controller.
For example, take the simple Frisbee Dog mini-game. It's easy enough to pick up, you mimic the real motion of throwing a disc by making a flicking movement with the Wii Remote, but the one-to-one movement afforded by the Wii MotionPlus means there are several things to think about in every throw, such as the speed of your flick, the angle and timing of release, and any spin you may want to impart. Unless you're a serious Frisbee freak in the real world, it can be a decent challenge to throw straight consistently. These tight controls make even this basic mini-game (throw Frisbee, make dog catch Frisbee) more challenging and fun than you might expect.
That same level of control intricacy can be found in all of Wii Sports Resort's mini-games. There are 12 different individual sports, and since many of them feature several modes the total number of activities on offer is more than 20. Not only can you throw your Frisbee to a dog, for example, but you can also hit the links for a game of Frisbee golf, complete with the ability to choose from three types of discs for different distances. This makes Wii Sports Resort a much more varied package than its predecessor, and while not all of the activities on offer have lasting appeal (or even short-term buzz), the majority are good fun, particularly when played in groups.
This is actually tougher than it looks. (Credit: GameSpot)
Most of the mini-games in Resort are brand new, with only two (bowling and golf) that are enhanced versions of Wii Sports activities. Of the new activities, archery is one of the standouts. The Wii Remote acts as the front of your bow, and you mimic drawing on the bow's string by pulling the nunchuk back. The MotionPlus allows for extremely precise targeting, making archery simple to perform but hard to master. Table tennis is another top performer, with the game accurately tracking every slight tilt and turn of your virtual racket. This makes it an extremely close re-creation of the real sport and one of the best competitive games to be found in the Wii Sports Resort package. Bowling and golf's MotionPlus augmented improvements are also easy to spot. In golf, putting is a much more precise affair, while adding a draw or fade to shots is now something that can be realistically added to your arsenal. Adding spin when bowling has also been significantly improved — making a bowling ball curve left or right is now easier than ever, so much so that an entire mini-game has been devoted to it (where you have to manoeuvre the ball around obstacles placed in the lane).
Most of the other new mini-games are fairly dull when played solo, but they improve significantly when the element of competition is introduced. Swordplay, for example, is generally just a whole mess of random waggling, but if you play it in Speed Slice mode — where two players vie to see who can cut various objects in specific directions — it becomes a frantic test of who has quicker reflexes. The three-on-three Basketball mode is also quite enjoyable, if a little simplistic. But sadly, not even the draw of competition can lift Wii Sports Resort's poorest entries. Cycling has you holding the Wii Remote and nunchuk in each hand while quickly waving your arms up and down to pedal — and, yes, it is as dull and pointless as it sounds. Kayaking — where you hold the Wii Remote upright and move it on either side of your body to paddle — is similarly aerobic and just as uninvolving. But with such a variety of other good activities available, you're actually spoiled by all of the choices in Wii Sports Resort. This significantly improves the game's longevity as a multiplayer game because the choices available to you make it so that — unlike in Wii Sports — you won't ever have to play the same one or two good games ad nauseam.
Wii Sports Resort doesn't really push the Wii's graphical capabilities — it has got the original game's bright colours and cartoony looks, which make it visually appealing if a little bland. The audio is similarly simple but effective. The jaunty music is fitting to the game's holiday theme, but there's little else of note here in terms of effects or speech. But that's not to say the game's presentation is ineffective. Nintendo has kept it basic and accessible, with a straightforward menu that makes it very easy to switch among any of the activities on offer.
Speed Slice is the best swordplay mode. (Credit: GameSpot)
And it's the overall accessibility that makes Wii Sports Resort a must-have. Just as the original Wii Sports was a great showcase of what the Wii Remote could do, so too is Wii Sports Resort a great advertisement for the capabilities of the Wii MotionPlus. It may not have lasting single-player appeal, but with so many compelling and downright fun games to play with friends, Nintendo has created another winner that can be picked up and enjoyed by gamers of all levels.