Wii U Round-Up 7

Wii Sports Club

I put a lot of time into Wii Sports, but once Wii Sports Resort came out I stopped playing it and got rid of it. Although Resort included Bowling and Tennis varients, I have missed the Boxing and Baseball so it was a pleasant surprise when Wii Sports Club was announced last year.

It marks the first time Nintendo is experimenting with a timed-play experience as we’ve seen in the Joysound Karaoke game on the Wii U, wherein you can “rent” one or more events on a limited-time basis for a small fee. If you’re really keen though, you can buy unlimited time via a typical in-app purchase as we’ve seen with the eShop release of Tank Tank Tank.

Events are being released gradually and in addition to being upgraded to require Wii Motion Plus controllers, include online play (although you can only communicate via a few canned expressions rather than text or voice chat). I can understand leaving out chat with anyone for fear of abusive talk, but the ability to use voice chat with people in your friends list would have been nice.

I’m hoping we’ll see all the Sports Resort events as well as the Wii Sports ones in time (in a nod to Resort there’s 100-pin bowling matches in the bowling game), but for now I’m digging the improved controls for Tennis and Bowling and looking forward to Baseball and Boxing this year.

Wii Fit U

Like many I had thought this was going to be a launch title so I unloaded my copy of Wii Fit Plus prior to getting my Wii U. Needless to say it was a looooong year waiting for the new release, but it was well worth it. It’s just chock-full of entertaining mini-games and expanded aerobic exercises in addition to the events from previous entries. Most improved is the ability to use any events when building your routine (you can save three different ones), more charts and graphs and an online community. You’re also able to do all but a handful of events using only the Gamepad rather than a TV and there’s a new accessory in the form of a wearable meter to track calorie burn when you’re out and about.

People new to Wii Fit should note that you’ll need a Balance Board, two motion plus remotes and a Nunchuk to get the most out every exercise in this collection. If you’re unable to get to a gym or prefer not to, I think it’s a great way to get some exercise at home. I’ve made it a part of my regular morning exercise regime and I find it helps keep me aware of my weight so I can address the consequences of seasonal excess in a targeted fashion. It’s nice to see video games providing a benefit you can see!

Wii Party U

I can’t say I’ve ever been interested in party games before – I certainly didn’t get any for the Wii, but having a daughter who’s started to play games and a partner and her kids who play games has changed that.

One of the great things about the Wii and Wii U is the focus on gaming in the living room with games that anyone can enjoy regardless of skill level. Game & Wario and Spin the Bottle are both great party game collections which make use of the Wii U’s Gamepad and Wii Remote’s features to great effect and I’m happy to say that Wii Party U completes the trifecta.

There’s a few game modes available which naturally assume at least two players are present, however there’s also a fun single-player “last man standing” mini-game gauntlet and the ability to just fire up any mini-game you like for play against computer-controlled opponents (the CPU also fills extra seats by default in games with less than four players, but that’s an option that can be switched off). The best games are the virtual board games. There are a few of these which all feature the core mini-games as well as an over-arching goal like reaching a finish line or getting a high score in a fashion show. Lastly there’s some table-top games that only use the Gamepad for play between two players in games that harken back to a bygone era of simple mechanical diversions you could carry about with you.

There’s no online play, however interestingly you can rate individual games which suggests that improvements or additions may be possible in the future. You can also display the average rating for the different games based upon what others have voted in Miiverse.

It’s a nice collection and the “game shows” involving drawing on the Gamepad as well as the dice-driven board games are the most-played in my house. Fans of social gaming should definitely give it a go!