Well, I recently discovered that the Vancouver Public Library actually carries video games and the Wii selection isn’t all that shabby. Fumbling through my stuff to find my library card again, I have since
rented borrowed a few titles that I’ve been meaning to try but never convinced myself to buy or rent. Here are my impressions of Rabbids Go Home, Samba De Amigo, Punch-Out!! and Grand Slam Tennis.
Rabbids Go Home (Ubisoft)
When the Nintendo Wii first launched in 2006, one of my favorite games featured the new raving rabbids characters from Ubisoft. They were an offshoot of the Rayman series and bundled in a series of hilarious mini-games. This spawned a couple of sequels before Ubisoft took a totally different direction with Rabbids Go Home.
The minigames are gone. In their place, the screaming white bunnies now participate in a “comedic adventure” where they collect junk, literally. You go from stage to stage in a shopping cart, picking up random items while avoiding obstacles and bad guys. It’s different and still pretty funny initially, but it gets really repetitive really quickly. I can’t recommend the purchase but a free few days via a library loan is good.
Samba De Amigo (Sega)
I first played this game on the Sega Dreamcast, the same system where you could enjoy all sorts of great games like Virtua Fighter and Rival Schools. It falls into the rhythm genre, except you’re shaking maracas to the beat. The Wii version of Samba De Amigo is pretty much the same, except you use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk.
This sounds like it’d be a perfect port, but I found the reliability of the sensors to be lacking. High and low notes are fine, but the middle notes got missed far too often that I would have liked. Compared to more robust rhythm games today, like Rock Band and Guitar Hero, this dated title deserves to be at the back of the shelf.
I was actually pretty excited when I heard that this beloved classic would be remade on the Nintendo Wii. Punch-Out!! doesn’t play like a boxing simulation. It’s not like Fight Night. Instead, the game plays the same way as the original.
The key is picking up on the patterns and gimmicks of your opponents, timing your dodges, and punching accordingly. The challenge is further increased by using the Wii Balance Board control scheme, but the patterns for retro characters is still pretty much the same. Punch King Hippo in the face when he opens his mouth, followed by wailing on his belly. The new characters add some novelty, but this is much more about nostalgia for the NES geeks than anything else. And yes, it’s still fun.
Grand Slam Tennis (EA Sports)
Originally unveiled at E3 2009, this Wii title goes quite a bit further than the tennis game in Wii Sports. For starters, you can actually control your player’s movement with the nunchuk’s analog stick. The inclusion of the Wii MotionPlus adds to the immersive experience in Grand Slam Tennis, since you can add top spin with the best of them.
Yes, the graphics are decidedly cheesier than the Xbox 360 or PS3, but you still have access to real world players and the real courts, albeit only to the four majors. If you’re looking for a deeper tennis experience on the Wii, Grand Slam Tennis is worth checking out. You can even play as legends like Boris Becker and Pete Sampras!