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Wii Sports Resort

The sequel to arguably the best freebie pack-in game in 20 years arrives bearing a $50 price tag, 12 tropical-themed mini-games, and one Wii MotionPlus, an inch-long attachment for the Wii remote that purports to vanquish the pesky lag between player movement and onscreen movement. Cynics will say that the game features only 10 mini-games, since two of the games—Golf and Bowling—are do-overs from the original. Cynics will also say that this game is a Trojan horse designed to sell Wii MotionPlus attachments.

Those cynics wouldn’t be wrong on either front.

Yes, the production values on Wii Sports Resort are infinitely higher than they were in the bare-bones original Wii Sports. The elaborate opening alone—your Mii parachutes from an airplane to the titular resort—probably cost more to produce than the original game did in its entirety.

A few of the new games are genuinely innovative. Swordplay, Basketball, and Wakeboarding are all simple, addictive fun. But about a third of the games are total duds. Two of the more ill-advised entries: Canoeing (yes, Canoeing) and Cycling (yes, Cycling). Power Cruising—a jet-ski sim—was one of the most anticipated games on the disc. Gamers expected a spiritual successor to Wave Race 64, but what they get is a ponderously slow racer with a control scheme designed to make players feel as if they’ve been driving railroad stakes all the live-long day. The red-headed stepchild of the disc—Air Sports—is a simple dog-fighting game that will make you run screaming into the ever-loving arms of Crimson Skies.

The real treat here is the sight of your personal Mii collection randomly embedded into the game’s milieu. It’s inexplicably hilarious to see your Miis riding around in the towboat in Wakeboarding.

As a solo experience, Wii Sports Resort doesn’t offer much to the lonely and the damned; online play is utterly M.I.A. And the jury is still out on the Wii MotionPlus attachment. It makes a difference, yes, but that difference often seems marginal at best. Regardless, if you’re a Wii owner, unless you board up the windows and lock the doors, $50 will vanish from your wallet and a copy of this game will probably magically appear in your home in the near future.