At the [email protected]+ expo we had a chance to get some hands on time with Wii Sports. Instead of playing the single player modes, we played Baseball, Boxing and Tennis with a group of people. After trying three of the games out it looks like Wii Sports is going to be a great party game and showcase for Nintendo’s new system.
During multiplayer matches Wii Sports Boxing splits the screen vertically where the first player is on the left side and the second player is on the right. While holding the nunchuck and the remote you can punch at the screen and your Mii avatar will reenact your moves. You can throw jabs by punching straight, hooks and uppercuts, sort of like virtual Super Punch Out. A well timed uppercut can briefly stun your opponent where the screen moves in slow motion. To block attacks players need to hold their hands close to their face. This prevents jabs and uppercuts, but hook punches can still connect. Instead of blocking you can dodge by holding your hands up and swaying your hands to the side. When you do this you can hear a “swoosh” sound from the remote’s speaker and see your Mii sidestep. The only problem is sometimes the control set up is slow to respond. If you do a flurry of punches only some register while other times it is over sensitive to dodging. I’ll forgive the accuracy issues since Wii Sports Boxing is a lot of fun when playing with a friend. You’re moving around and have the feeling of a boxing match, not pressing buttons.
Multiplayer Wii Sports Baseball atomizes the game down to pitching and hitting. One person throws the ball by making a pitching motion with the Wii remote and the other player uses the Wii remote as a bat. The harder you swing the bat the harder you hit the ball. After the ball is launched in the sky other Mii shaped characters on the team run bases and catch fly balls automatically. Once you reach three outs the players switch sides and the pitcher becomes the new batter. It is more simplistic than a baseball simulator, but Wii Sports Baseball’s intuitive control scheme is a new experience.
Like Wii Sports Baseball, Wii Sports Tennis is essentially a timing game. Players use the remotes as virtual tennis rackets to hit the ball as it bounces from side to side. The only thing that takes time to get used to in Wii Sports is that your character automatically runs towards to hit the ball. During four player matches the interface is simplified with a cursor pointing to which person the ball is moving towards. In a match I played with three other people the two non gamers picked up the game’s control scheme in a matter of minutes. It was a fun match, but I wonder how this is going to work in a small college dorm room or a living room with fragile objects. Playing with four players takes up a lot of space, unless everyone is going to sit down, which I don’t think will be as much fun.