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Wii-Play is the game that comes free with a Wii-mote controller. Like Wii-Sports it was available at launch and helped to communicate the versatility of (and unusual approach to) games on the Nintendo Wii.
Party games provide short bursts of fun themed around novel leisure activities. In contrast to sports games that try and recreate whole experiences, party games take one element and create a game around that.
As their name suggests party games are designed to be played with multiple players and work well in a party situation - either as an after dinner event or novelty in the corner of the room throughout the evening.
Wii-Play is themed around a variety of leisure activities, the sort of games you may have found on a 1950's pier or amusement arcade. In contrast to Wii-Sport's focus on swinging the Wii-mote and Nun-chuck to play the game, Wii-Play mainly uses the pointing ability of the Wii's controller. This can be likened to using a mouse on a home computer, although here you are controlling a pointer by pointing a controller in the air at your TV.
Wii-Play only accommodates two players at one time. This is unusual for a party game that usually allow at least four players to compete against each other simultaneously.
Spot the Mii's is one of the game's high points - an experience that improves as you create more Mii's (the little bobble headed cartoon characters) on your Wii. Trying to spot your own Mii amongst the friends, film stars and famous people is a memory that will stick with you for days. Competing against your other half in a race that pits two knitted cows against each other is also great fun. Surprising how competitive collecting scarecrows can get!
You can sit down and play most of the games in Wii-Play as long as you aren't too far from the TV. The games last around five minutes each and can easily slot into the odd spare half hour. Some games, Tanks for instance, have more levels and provide a reason for repeat plays.
The design of the game, the controls, and the visuals make this an extremely easy game to pick up my pretty much any ability or age group. The pointing mechanic can be harder for younger or novice players to use. This makes it less accessible than the similarly pitched Wii-Sports. Barring this, Wii-Play is great fun when played with a friends and family of a wide range of abilities.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: