Wii Sports Resort • Page 2

It takes all sports.

Archery is another treat, turning the Wii remote and nunchuk into a bow and tautened string, and sucking up dozens of hours in the process. Make no mistake: multiplayer archery will lead to name-calling, fights, and ultimately lawyers, but after you've alienated all your friends, there's still a solid single-player scoreboard rush to enjoy as well. Basketball, at least the three-on-three variety, is also surprisingly good, a clever range of motion controls and simple button inputs allowing for dribbling, passing, blocking and shooting, all with no real confusion.

Following the outright winners are the growers, like canoeing. Its alternate strokes initially seem rather fiddly, but then the whole thing clicks and the experience becomes quietly rewarding. Power-cruising is another slow-burner, the handlebar controls and throaty audio enhancing a gamut of simple races between floating archways.

But for every hit, another game struggles to make much of an impact, and there's no escaping the sense that, as the variety increases, Resort tips closer and closer to pure novelty. Wakeboarding is a trick-chaining challenge without much acrobatic panache, chucking a Frisbee about is pleasant but inane - much like in real life, then - and the air sports, with the exception of Skydiving, feel like a hurried proof-of-concept for a much-requested PilotWings sequel, giving you the option to tour WuHu Island and collect markers, or engage in a little light dogfighting. Neither possibility offers much incentive to replay.

All of these games are charming enough for 10 minutes, and likely to gain a few fans willing to play them longer than that, but I'm not sure who exactly is meant to enjoy the cycling challenge, an annoying trundle around the pathways of the resort, lacking the strange charm of a jog over the hills and dales of the suspiciously similar Wiifity Island. This is padding, and not even pinching the slipstreaming system from Mario Kart can change that: Wii titles are often said to appeal to people who haven't played games before - perhaps this bit is for people who haven't seen a television yet.

3

Lots of games make you want to throw yourself out of a plane - only Wii Sports can make you want to do it repeatedly.

There's a decent amount to unlock, though, and a lot of the roughness of the original game is gone, in presentation as well as the controls. Getting from one event to the next in the original Wii Sports was as exciting and dynamic as plodding your way through the automatic check-in system for a transatlantic flight; in Resort, proceedings have been couched in a friendly bit of staging, with the breezy island setting bringing the various challenges in closely, the sense of a single place helping to bind the whole thing together in a way that the first title, with its five solid games (well, four and boxing), maybe didn't need.

With two or more players, the sequel is, once again, a compulsive riot. Played alone, however, some of its pieces seem sweet, but a little empty. It's important to remember that, like the first game, Resort has a lot to accomplish, and for the most part does it effortlessly, but while its scattershot approach means you'll always have something to show off when the neighbours come around - apologies, I appear to be channelling The Good Life - Resort struggles to offer something you'll want to then sit down and play for any real length of time, except golf and bowling which, chances are, you already have done. Despite a lot more polish, a little of original game's sketchiness has returned too: you're left with the feeling that a gratuitously talented company has thrown together some casual brilliance, but stopped shy of expending too much real effort.

You could argue that Nintendo has always had two kinds of greatness: the big ideas - things like bottom-bouncing, and trigger targeting - which redefine genres, and then the sharp, unexpected treats that don't change games fundamentally, so much as transform them into something more lovable. It's definitely the second category into which the best parts of Resort fall, and so my updated list of favourite light-touch Nintendo moments is rejigged thus: that palm-reading in Animal Crossing leading to an unexpected bout of clumsiness, playing jump rope with Koopas in Superstar Saga, and skydiving towards WuHu island, connecting hands with falling strangers, before turning, just in time to face the camera. Count down. Big grin. 10 points. Press A to play again.

7 / 10

Read the Eurogamer.net scoring policy Wii Sports Resort Christian Donlan It takes all sports. 2009-07-14T13:30:00+01:00 7 10

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