Saturday, February 17, 2007

Mini game review : Wii Play

So I picked up a new game the other day. I was waiting on getting my fourth controller because the game has one packed in. The game is Wii Play. It has 9 mini games on it, most of which started out as tech demos at E3. Alot of people are saying that its not a very good stand-alone game and if it ddnt come with a controller it wouldnt be worth picking up. I agree that the compilation may not be worth a full $50 but some of the mini games are extremely fun and well polished. The one for which I am blogging is called Tanks.

Tanks is the kind of game that new gamers and hardcore alike can get into. It is very similar in game mechanics to a game that many of you have played on the 360 called geometry wars. Basically you drive your tank around with the analog stick and you point at the screen to aim your gun. You can shoot with the B trigger and drop proximity mines with the A button.

The enemy tanks vary in ability from stationary to mine-laying, to tanks that shoot rocket propelled rounds. Each is designated by a unique color. The graphical feel of the game is that of toys shooting at each other. The tanks look like little toy tanks and levels have obstacles in the form of wooden blocks. The only thing that detracts from the 'toy' theme is the giant explosions and round contrails that quickly fill the screen.

Bullets ricochet geometrically once before detonating on the second surface so there is quite a bit of strategy involved in trying the bounce your rounds around obstacles. Mines will destroy certain blocks opening new paths and even though you can block of certain routes with a mine they detonate on a timer as well as with proximity meaning they will not be permanent obstacles.

The levels quickly rise in difficulty from a couple 'dumb' tanks to many 'smart' tanks with varying degrees of aggressiveness. The last level is devoid of cover and has two white tanks which turn invisible as soon as the level starts. You can only locate them by where the bullets are coming from and the tread tracks each tank lays down. You start out with three lives and gain a new life for every 5 levels you clear.

On top of it all there is a two-player mode in which each player has their own tank and they try to #1 clear the levels and #2 get a higher kill count than their buddy. Friendly fire is definitely turned ON and matches can become intense as players turn on each other in order to eliminate a rival for kill count. If one player is eliminated but all enemy tanks are cleared both players are still on the next map. If both players are destroyed the game is over meaning that while you may try and stop each other from getting kills in the earlier levels, you will find yourself forced to get over the butt hurt of getting stabbed in the back by your buddy in order to clear later levels.

I discovered a great new way to play this game the other day. One player holds the nunchuk and the other holds the controller so you have a driver and a gunner, each putting the other in a position of complete trust. It is incredibly fun and a completely different way of playing the game.

This game can only be described as extreme fun due to it's simplicity paired with a high level of tactical awareness. If you are looking to get an extra controller for the Wii this is definitely a great opportunity to pick one up.

Some of the other games on the compilation that deserve a mention are laser hockey, target practice and the billiards game. All of which would benefit from options to spice things up a bit. For example the billiards game is 9 ball only, and the laser hockey is set at an 8 point game. As far as target practice goes, the game is extremely fun but over too quickly and it would have been nice to see more ducks, and the dog. How can you have a Nintendo made throwback to Duck Hunt without that dang dog laughing at you when you miss?

If you need another controller, I highly recommend Wii Play as an addition to your game library.

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