TECH
12/11/2013 10:11 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Wii U Sports Club: Return Of The King (Of Motion Arcade Gaming)

Wii U Sports Club takes the original motion-gaming classic, and adds HD graphics and new online multiplayer for either £8.99 per sport (Tennis and Bowling) or £1.70 for a daily pass.

Key Features:

  • Upgraded HD Graphics
  • Online multiplayer with friends and random opponents
  • Location-based 'clubs' to compete with other regions
  • Daily pass option can lower the cost
  • Wii Remote Plus adds new precision

The Pitch:

"Wii Sports Club is a new way of experiencing all your favourite Wii Sports events, enhanced with new modes and features only available on Wii U. Enjoy deeper gameplay, online multiplayer and the chance to join clubs, all while getting active with your favourite sporting events!"

nintendo

Verdict:

When Nintendo launched the Wii U console last year, many lamented that for all the Zombi-killing and Nintendo Land adventuring on offer, the console lacked one game able to explain the new second-screen Gamepad controller and HD features as succinctly and compellingly as Wii Sports did for the previous generation.

And while it's slightly odd to realise it, looking back, that classic collection of simple motion gaming titles really was a landmark achievement.

Not because the graphics were great - they weren't, even at the time. But just because they were so damn playable. These childlike versions of Tennis, Bowling, Golf et al managed to appeal to both kids and old folks, and hardcore gamers in between, and re-introduce gaming to an audience who had ignored it for years. For many people they were the Wii. Infamously, and possibly apocryphally, some Wii users barely bothered to buy any other games for the console.

So when Nintendo announced that Wii Sports was coming back in a new wrapper for the Wii U - complete with HD graphics and new features, as well as a low-cost pricing structure - it was hard not to be both excited, and a bit depressed, at once. Excited because any chance to play these games again is very welcome - but depressed because no motion game, on Wii, Wii U or any other platform, has ever matched the original.

That aside, it's clear that in most fundamental ways the new game is just as fun and appealing as the old version. The visual upgrades are welcome - though to be honest, save for the addition of legs on your tennis players and bowlers not that obvious, given the simple art style. And the new ability to play online against your friends and random, global opponents is also straightforwardly implemented, and a natural extension of the original.

But the core of the game is still the swing-your-Wiimote, no tutorial required gameplay. And it's still really, really fun. Yes, it takes more to excel at Tennis and Bowling now - you can't just swing and hope, you have to aim your racquet - but there are some included mini-games to help you on your way, and it's still founded in the same broad strokes style as the original.

Helpfully the new title is available both as individual sports (£8.99 each) and as a day pass - meaning you can pay just £1.70 and play it with the whole family for 24 hours. It's a neat idea since the game is still way more fun with your friends and loved ones in the room with you - avoiding your enthusiastic swings, or not - and we can see a lot of people taking up the offer this Christmas.

In essence this isn't a particularly remarkable release, and it could use more sports (which are coming) - but it's a sensible one for Nintendo, and buried within are the cores of two great sports games which might be shallow, but which linger in the warm glow of gamers more concretely than a dozen FIFA sequels and hardcore sims could ever hope to do.

4starstechdarkblue