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Water Sports Wii is a lightweight alternative to the successful Wii Sports Resort that offers just four events for our family to enjoy. Although the selection was limited the game proved an unexpected hit with our kids and thanks to the Balance Board integration, it became a great workout game for the adults.
After the success of Wii Sports Resort in our household the arrival of Water Sports for the Wii seemed to be an exciting addtion to our usual videogame roster. My kids loved the water sports parts of Wii Sports Resort and having an entire game devoted to the waves seemed to be an awesome idea. Offering four different games - wakeboarding, windsurfing, kite-surfing and jet ski racing initially seemed a little light. Wii sports back in 2006 offered six very distinct sports and Wii Resort blew the doors off with 12.
This small amount of choice isn't helped by the similar nature of most of the events and if it wasn't for my kids being rabidly interested in water sports I doubt if this would've lasted long in our Wii. In some ways this works in Water Sports Wii's favour by having similar control systems for all four events and making it easier for everyone to get into the game without having to learn a unique control set.
If it wasn't for my kids being rabidly interested in water sports I doubt if this would've lasted long in our Wii.
Controlling the direction of your guy or girl on the screen is done by using the Wii-remote in a horizontal position and the tricks are performed by using the D-pad. It feels a little like playing Mario Kart without the plastic wheel and on several occasions I saw my eldest actually using the wheel because he thought it gave him more control. This basic control system is reflected in the game with little variation from event to event and I must admit to finding the game utterly boring after only a short while.
My kids on the other enjoyed it for much longer and part of this appeal was the sense of speed you got when playing the jet ski event. This was the mode I saw my kids playing the most and the one they had the most challenge in beating. Here the jumps are quite difficult to get right but the sense of satisfaction and speed when you hit them correctly more than made up for it.
Comparing this to Wii Sports Resort seems a little unfair but Water Sports Wii does, in some areas, actually exceed Nintendo's flagship title. Wakeboarding and the multiplayer mode that goes with it is much more fun than the equivalent version on Wii Sports Resort. This version dispenses with the need to time and land your tricks perfectly and instead letting you concentrate on performing them in the first place. It does admittedly put skill second and fun first but in a game like this we all appreciated the different approach it took.
My kids enjoyed this game with the Jet Ski event being a particular favourite and providing a lot of raucous fun.
The multiplayer aspect of this mode is actually co-op and enables one player to perform the tricks whilst the other drives the boat. Its great fun even if the camera controls are a little awkward and there's no prizes for guessing who got saddled with driving the boat while the others had fun performing their tricks.
Another surprising aspect to the game was its visuals. I never expected Water Sports Wii to look particularly good, especially next to the likes of Wii Sports Resort but the game punches above its weight with its stunning depiction of water and its effects. There's a gentle aspect to the graphics that makes Water Sports Wii a relaxing game to enjoy with the family and I was impressed with how everything looked when in motion.
The biggest aspect that made the repetitiveness of the events and boring nature of the game much more enjoyable was the use of the Balance Board. Instead of using the Wii-remote to control your movement you can use your balance instead. This wasn't suitable for my kids who found the job of steering a jet ski by shifting their weight around incredibly tiring. I and my other half found it a much better system of getting exercise than using Wii Fit and the game really knows how to put you through the grinder. It's no lie to say that we've both lost weight since trying this game out.
Water Sports for Nintendo Wii was something of a surprise in the end. Although its repetitive nature and lack of depth quickly bored me, my kids enjoyed this game with the Jet Ski event being a particular favourite and providing a lot of raucous fun. Changing the control system over to the Balance Board gave the game the kind of depth I found much more to my liking and the strenuous effort required to pilot the events turned this a much more enjoyable Wii Fit alternative.
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