by: Michael Spears
Wii Sports Resort video game begins high in the sky, with you hurtling through the clouds after leaping from the belly of a biplane.
You control your Mii character with a twist of your remote, linking hands with other earthward-bound Miis, grinning for the camera.
Below, an expanse of land appears; a glorious formation of lush green hills, trimmed with gorgeous golden beaches.
With the wind roaring in your ears, your parachute opens with the name of the game emblazoned on the canvas.
As you float towards Wuhu Island, a smile spreads as wide as the glistening blue ocean on the screen.
It's a look that, unless you are a rather stony-hearted individual, will stay plastered on your face for the majority of your time with Wii Sports Resort.
There are 12 different events, each with their own variations and difficulties.
Golf and bowling return from the original game and, while not ostensibly different, benefit from enhanced Motion Plus control.
Otherwise, there are ten brand new events to get your teeth into.
First on the menu is Swordplay, which undoubtedly acts as one of the game's more outward advertisements for Motion Plus.
The sword movement on screen tracks your gestures rather beautifully as you swing, thrust and twist your wooden blade.
Holding B braces your sword in a defensive position to block your opponent's strikes and a successful parry will give you your chance to counter attack.
There's nothing overly complicated about swordplay, but it's an instantly gratifying mode that shows off Motion Plus rather well.
It comes in three flavours too; Duel is a straight up one-on-one battle on a platform suspended over the sea, with the goal naturally being to bash your opponent over the edge.
Speed Slice requires you to swing your sword in a specified direction quickly to cut a selection of wacky objects -from giant pencils to boiled eggs- in two.
Showdown, meanwhile, pits you against a stream of enemies somewhere on Wuhu Island, with you only allowed to receive three hits.
While some mad waggling may get you past the first few levels, later on you have to start taking careful notice of your opponents and picking your blows.
Wakeboarding has you holding you remote horizontally as you take to the water, sweeping from side to side and flicking the remote up as your board hits the wave.
All you have to do is then deftly position yourself to land safely on the surf.
From there, it's a case of timing and momentum, your craft pulling you faster and the jumps becoming fancier as your Mii twirls high above the waves.
The other water sports are more mixed.
Power Cruising is one of few disappointments, with rather clumsy steering controls.
While canoeing is fairly hopeless in single player, but a hilarious free-for-all with friends.
It often leads to a room full of people frantically swinging their arms/paddle from side to side, desperately trying to keep their spiralling canoe under control.
The Frisbee events are another neat demo for Motion Plus, allowing you to throw to an impossibly cute dog on the golden beaches of the island, or play the ever popular Frisbee golf.
The former mode will eat up far more of your time than you'd reasonably expect.
Throwing a Frisbee in that perfect curve, slicing through a bonus balloon before your dog leaps to grab the disc in its teeth is incredibly satisfying and has that 'one more go' factor in abundance.
It's a similar story for the timed three-point basketball throws.
Another incredibly simple mode, it's the sensitivity of Motion Plus that brings it to life.
You think you're throwing in the same motion to drain that basket from different areas on the court, but it's that slight twist or turn of your wrist that means it cannons back off the rim.
You remain convinced you can throw a perfect game, so you come back again and again and again.
Archery is slightly more sedate.
Pulling back the nunchuk to tauten your bow is pleasantly tactile, and the challenge ramps up as you progress through the difficulties.
The targets increase in range and there are even some obstacles that start blocking the way.
Archery is fun enough, but only has the one mode variant.
Perhaps a rapid-fire mode would have been welcome here.
Cycling is possibly Resort's only out and out failure.
While barrelling around Wuhu Island on a mountain bike has its charms, the control mish-mash of shaking the remote and nunchuk to pedal while simultaneously titling them to steer is ungainly to say the least.
The Air Sports section, on the other hand, could have been expanded into a game of its own right.
Parachuting makes a welcome return from the game's opening, while dogfight is a fun, but ultimately throwaway, blast for two players.
Free flight, however, allows Nintendo to show you the beauty of Wuhu Island itself.
You take to the air, circling the island from above and searching out 'points of interest' to dive down and collect.
It's a wonderfully relaxing mode, allowing you to wind down after some serious time with the game's more exerting activities.
Chief of which is Resort's undoubted star of the show, table tennis.
Just as tennis and bowling in the original Wii Sports captured the imagination of so many, it's likely to be table tennis that will do the same for Resort and possibly even Motion Plus itself.
It's nothing more complex than one-on-one ping pong competition, but its implementation is nigh-on perfect.
It captures the movement of your bat beautifully, allowing you to slice and spin your shots with an unerring representation of real life.
Need more power? Swing your arm up and over the ball, adding vital topspin.
Curve your shot into the corner with a quick twist of the wrist on impact.
Slow down a rally by slicing a shot into the shallow of the table.
This is all done with nothing more than the deft movement of your arm.
Table tennis would be worth the trip to Resort on its own, it's fantastically fun and a terrific display of Motion Plus potential.
Being a Nintendo game, Resort is also cute as a button.
Wuhu Island is a glorious creation, drenched in gorgeous, bright primary colours.
And the implementation of the Mii Channel adds weird and wonderful creations to your game.
Have Miss Piggy and Batman pilot your wakeboarding craft, or play table tennis with Mr.
Burns from the Simpsons, it all adds an untouchable charm that keeps that grin spread wide.
There are complaints of course.
The lack of even the most bare bones online play will disappoint many, while some of the events are in desperate need of fleshing out.
Customisation, too, is non-existent.
Why, for example, can you not up the point limit in a game of table tennis?
These are genuine complaints, but criticising Resort can feel like scolding a playful puppy for having too much fun.
It's just an outrageously joyous game, beautifully crafted for nothing but simple pleasures.
But more than that, many of the events can feel like microcosms of potential for Motion Plus.
Imagine, for instance, transferring the swordplay and archery into a Zelda game? A mouth-watering prospect indeed.
Resort is perhaps not as industry shaking as its predecessor, but it comes at a time where many gamers have taken their camp.
You either like the Wii, or you don't, and there's very little middle ground.
Wii Sports Resort is an unashamed definition of its host console; simple, colourful, accessible to all, but with a hidden depth for those who wish to explore it.
It's unlikely to convert many that are lost to the Wii cause, but for those who have already embraced it, a trip to Wuhu Island will be some of the most fun you'll have all year
About The Author
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