Wii Remote in hand, it had been Wii Sports that inadvertently became such a killer app for the Wii. Even my parents were caught by intrigue as to what had suddenly captivated the world’s attention, marking the first time that I had successfully convinced them to play alongside me.
That accessible experience now makes its return, with Wii Sports Club promising just as much of a chance to get the entire family involved. Whilst only Bowling and Tennis are currently available (with Baseball, Boxing and Golf to later follow), Nintendo’s continued experimentation with pricing methods sees you choosing between either a 24-hour Day Pass (£1.79) or Single-Sport Pass (£8.99), your choice being largely determined by how much time you expect to spend with the game.
If you only ever see yourself playing when friends or family are over then the Day Pass, which grants temporary access to all sports, is most certainly an attractive proposition. Although the alternative, to eventually purchase all five sports outright, will set you back a rather pricey £44.95. I’m hoping that Nintendo may consider a discounted bundle once they’ve all released through the Nintendo eShop, otherwise I can’t see many forking over that amount.
Regardless of whichever monetary value you choose to send Nintendo’s way, it’s clear that Wii Sports return isn’t a mere rehash. Whilst not a graphical showcase for the Wii U its HD upgrade delivers sharper visuals, Wii Remote Plus support provides more responsive motion control input, whilst a new online component sees you join a regional Club through which you can square off against rival clubs, friends and random players in your region to improve your overall ranking and personal grade.
Completing challenges will see you rewarded with stamps, whilst you’re regularly encouraged to share your progress through Miiverse. You can also set up Custom Callouts for you to share messages mid-game with other players online, although it wasn’t something that I found particularly useful. That’s solely what the Wii U GamePad is used for here, seeing as the Wii Remote Plus is the only necessary controller to play. Controls themselves are exactly the same as in the original Wii Sport, although with added nuance.
Aside from local multiplayer, the only other area in which you invest your time is Skill Shaper, an assortment of minigames that will help hone your sporting prowess. These are an excessively fun portion of the experience too, with Tennis drumming up Ring Master, where low forehand and backhand shots are required as you aim through progressively smaller rings; Mole Commotion, where you must quickly hit the titular creatures to add more time to the clock; and Duck Cannon, in which you must make a mechanical duck rush around the court as much as possible. Bowling on the other hand serves up Shoot for the Spares that tasks you with flattening all pins with one throw whilst boosting your score by hitting multipliers; Skittle Skills, which is essentially a collection of trick shots; and Triple Whammy, where you have three throws to knock as many of the 100 placed pins as possible.
Wii Sports Club feels suitably refreshed, and just as accessible as it ever was. Whilst a limited amount of content may not sway your attention for lengthy periods, the notable introduction of the Clubs system, and Nintendo Network utilisation, provide enough reason to invest your time in your favourite sports.