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Most people's first exposure to active gaming was probably Wii Sports, now we have Wii Sports Resort with the new MotionPlus add-on to enhance controller accuracy. Here I'll give a rundown of the 12 mini-games and assess how good they might be for keeping active, using a pulse monitor to get an idea of the calories burnt. For reference, while sitting on the sofa reading a book, the pulse meter thinks I burn about 1.5 calories a minute.
We will split the games into three groups. Balance and Control, Semi Active and Active. This will give you the sport trainers low down on how Wii-Sports resort stacks up.
Five of the games are sedentary, but fun, they won't burn many calories (perhaps 2 per minute) but are good for fine motor control.
Archery: The Wii's controllers have provided endless options for designers, and the archery game is a great example. You hold the WiiMote in your left hand as a surrogate bow, and the nunchuck in your right to pull the string back before releasing it to launch your arrow. With each shot you move further back making some of the shots very tricky. The MotionPlus really shines, giving you very precise control of your aim. All quite tricky, with good replay value.
Jet skiing and wakeboarding: Both use roughly the same controls: holding them like handlebars. In jet skiing you slalom through a course, earning points for completing it quickly. In wake-boarding, you are towed behind a boat on a board, sweeping across the wake and executing jumps and stunts. Again, the MotionPlus makes the controls much more subtle and responsive than the WiiMote on its own, and it makes for a couple of fun games, but not ones you'll be returning to often.
Flying games:There are actually three flying games, free flying in a plane around the island looking at points of interest (more fun than it sounds), dogfighting with a friend, and sky-diving. You hold the WiiMote flat tilting and rotating it to angle it, the plane or skydiver perfectly mimics the orientation of the controller. In skydiving you drop out of the plane and must try to link up with other Miis on the way down, the more you link up with (and get photographed with) the higher your score. Like jet skiing and wakeboarding there isn't an enormous amount of replay value but they are fun, and are very good for hand-eye coordination.
Frisbee: Virtual throwing-a-frisbee-to-a-dagÉ it sounds like a satire on Wii gaming, but it is actually one of the trickier games in Wii Sports Resort. You throw a frisbee to your dog, trying to get it within a target area, and popping a few balloons on the way. You swing the remote, just the way you would with a real disc, tilting your hand to make it curve in different directions. In real life I'm rubbish at throwing a frisbee, and it's no different on the island, so it might just be me but I do think it is the trickiest game of the lot, requiring careful timing and arm action.
The semi-active games might not class as exercises, but they are quite active, and on average I burnt about 3 to 4 calories a minute. You won't be dropping the pounds, but it's better than twiddling your thumbs.
Basket-ball shooting hoops: Use the WiiMote to throw balls at the hoop quickly in a given time. It requires good timing on the release but you'll get the hang of it after a few games. You have to throw quickly and it becomes mildly addictive once you get the hang of it.
Golf: This really shows off the MotionPlus, the motion of the player perfectly matching your actions. It is one of the best golf games I've played, you really do have to have a decent swing to hit the ball well, but it helps you by letting you take practice swings while showing if the ball will swing or be too hard. Everything from driving to putting is perfectly implemented. Lots of replay value if you like golf.
Bowling:A classic from Wii Sport, it's it is just the same, only better. The MotionPlus means your hand motions are detected more accurately, meaning you can put spin on the ball more reliably than before, which makes it even more fun, and still a great one for parties.
Canoeing: This has one of the cleverest control systems: you use the WiiMote with both hands as if it is a paddle, and canoe your way around a course. At the risk of being repetitive, the MotionPlus makes the controls uncannily realistic, if it wasn't for the fact I was standing up (and not wet) I could almost have been on the water. Very engaging, but probably not the most replay value as the game itself is pretty simple.
The last three games are genuinely active.
Table tennis: This is a step up from the Wii Sports tennis game, with much better controls. The game has been slowed down, realtime table tennis would probably been unplayably hard, so the ball looks slightly surreal moving slowly through the air. The controls are excellent, letting you put spin on the ball to outwit your opponent. Best played against another human, but the computer player is ok. Calories burnt: about 5 per minutes.
Cycling: This is rather reminiscent of some of the Mario Olympics sports games, you cycle by waggling the WiiMote and Nunchuck, and tilt them to steer. It takes a while to get the hang of the controls, especially doing both at the same time. It's good fun trying to beat your opponents in a race around the island, slipstreaming behind them and trying not to tire your virtual self out. Calories burnt: about 50 in 10 minutes again.
Swordplay: This is the most active of all the games, I burnt about 8.5 calories a minute, that's an impressive 500+ per hour. The secret is the speedy play. It's like kendo, played by gladiators (the ones from TV, not Rome) with light-sabres on a platform over water. The aim is to wallop your opponent until you manage to knock them off the platform and into the water. The controls are once again spot-on, with your sword matching your movements perfectly. The action is frenetic, trying to parry your opponent's blows while finding a way in to attack. As well as being the most active game, it also has some of the best replay value, and is great in two player.
Wii Sports Resort is a big improvement over the original, largely as a result of the MotionPlus and the improved control schemes it allows. The actions are so accurate you really feel like you are in the games, which makes them even more active. Apart from the swordplay you won't be burning serious calories, but if you want to make your playtime a bit more energetic then Wii Sports Resort is a great start, and gives a good idea of the kinds of games we can expect for the MotionPlus.
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: